Safaricom’s ‘Big Box’ is now official. The company’s long awaited media streaming box will offer over 30 local free-to-air TV channels and access the internet via Wi-Fi, 3G/LTE or a wired connection. It also serves as a Wi-Fi hotspot like we had anticipated. Users can share the Big Box’s cellular data with up to 10 other devices.
With the Big Box, Safaricom is going after the home entertainment industry targeting at least 2.4 million Kenyan households out of the 3.2 million that have access to digital TV but are not using any of the set boxes available on the market.
The Big Box runs on Android even though you’ll be limited on the number of applications you can install on it. It has just 1 GB RAM and 4 GB internal storage. That is however expandable to 32 GB using a microSD card or a USB flash drive. Users can play content stored on external storage media using the iMedia Player application. Navigation of applications on the home drawer and inside apps like the browser can be done via the remote controller. For applicable channels, it will stream in High Definition. There’s a HDMI port at the back of the Box and it comes with a HDMI cable right out of the box. There’s also an ethernet port at the back of the decoder just in case you want to connect it to your wired network setup.
Safaricom will be giving buyers of the Big Box free 6 GB data per month for 6 months and 3 months free YouTube.
The Safaricom Big Box will cost Ksh 9,999. That’s a one-off fee and buyers of the Big Box won’t pay anything else after that unless it is data bundles they are buying which is something different. You can also get it at Ksh 4,999 through the Easy Pay Plan after which you’ll be required to pay Ksh 999 installments monthly for six months.
The following are the data bundles on offer for the Big Box monthly:
- 6 GB – Ksh 999
- 10 GB – Ksh 1,500
- 20 GB – Ksh 2,000
- 50 GB – Ksh 4,000
Users can buy the bundles for the decoder in various ways:
- Dialing *422# from their mobile phones and entering the decoder number after which they’ll be prompted to select their preferred bundle.
- Using M-PESA . This uses the *422# USSD. Dial it from the mobile phone number used to register the decoder upon purchase, enter the decoder number, select the preferred data bundle, enter the PIN and you’ll get the relevant notifications
- Online purchase. Through your computer, smartphone or tablet, safaricom.com/bundles will still work
- Sambaza. We are not so sure how this one is supposed to work since Safaricom has capped data bundle sambaza to just 20 MB and surely 20 MB can never be enough on a media streaming box. Anyway, you can sambaza data bundles to your Box decoder using your primary line i.e. line used to register it. However, it is not possible to sambaza the Big Box’s data to your other devices.
- Directly from the Box decoder itself. From the decoder’s internet home page, select the ‘My Account’ icon on the applications menu, go to TV option and choose preferred data bundle.
The Big Box decoder is available throughout the country in all Safaricom shops.