The high prices of set-top boxes is holding back most TV owners in Kenya from being ready for the country’s impending digital migration process, says research by Ipsos Synovate, the website IT Web Africa reported.

According to the market research firm’s findings, 99 per cent of residents in Nairobi know that the country’s digital switchover is inevitable, but only 32 per cent  in the city have purchased a set-top box or have digital television services.

Across the country, 71 per cent of Kenyans say they do not own a set-top box, although 79 per cent are aware of the impending switch.

Costly set-top boxes are cited as a key reason for the low adoption rates, as court cases by broadcasters have stalled Kenya’s digital migration process.

The Ipsos Synovate research was conducted face-to-face with 2031 in Kenya, with 517 in Nairobi.  “According to the 2009 census, there are 2.4 million households with TV sets nationally with 610,709 in Nairobi,” wrote Ipsos Synovate.

But a sizeable number of Kenyans have access to digital television services through satellite, although importantly, this is not free-to-air. The survey said that pay TV provider DStv’s digital terrestrial television service has the largest subscriber base in the country, 36 per cent, followed by China’s StarTimes with 28 per cent.

According to the Communications Commission of Kenya, the country is planned to undergo an overhaul of analogue broadcasting by June this year.

The ITU global deadline for digital migration is June 2015.