By Rogers Atukunda
On November 17, we were interested in the fact that Airtel TV is now offering dedicated Airtel TV bundles and exciting content for viewers on the go. We were then asked to do an Airtel TV review.
I downloaded the app and have been able to study it myself. I have also interacted with a few friends who have used the app to listen to their experiences.
I personally attended the unveiling of this great innovation back in February at Ndere Cultural Centre along Kira, Ntinda-Kisaasi Road.
While it was a new mind-bending tech venture, some people might have remained sceptical considering power network and slow data issues characteristic of local telecoms but thanks to Airtel’s introduction of 100% countrywide 3G and 4G technologies, most can now attest to the practicability of the app and its offers.
The beauty about this app is that it offers the viewer unlimited content from around the world. It is the dotcom era where we the young people and even kids (the next generation following us) are addicted to our gadgets. Personally, I have been addicted to movies since my secondary school days.
With this app, I’m able to stream my favourite new movies, watch music videos of new songs at my convenience. But worth noting, I would love to be able to re-watch the first set of now classics [old movies] that we watched while growing up and which were then only on video tapes [a technology that has since expired]. Also, we need more Hollywood and European films.
Before this app, we had to rely on video libraries to announce to us the latest releases in both songs and movies but thanks to the Airtel app, I can be notified of the new releases.
I can create a watchlist from the various genres [I love Action Adventure and Historical Fiction/Dramas the most] for later when I have the time. This is totally different from having to book a movie on TV [I love M-Net Action and Series] but having to be on TV at that particular moment it will show.
The series had become a problem where video libraries sell us one episode at the same amount of buying a normal film DVD and break down one season of a series into so many episodes just to make a quick buck off our backs. Now I can subscribe and watch the entire season (s) without worrying about piling home DVDs and spending so much on movies and series.
Sometimes, I find it cheaper to watch with my data than having to subscribe for DStv channels that show movies. TV also requires one to be in one place to watch their favourite show or series.
Back at Makerere University, a friend of mine had to spend his supper upkeep on a boda just to rush from town at around 7pm (owing to the tight traffic jam) to beat the 8pm deadline and watch “Second Chance”, the then most popular series on NTV. Now, I would simply switch on my app; watch my episode while sitting in the jam with no pressure at all.
While some may complain of high data bundle consumption to watch movies, the app has a data saver option that allows the viewer to determine the video quality they want to use (low, medium or high) depending on their data plan. This is a breather from most movie websites and streaming networks like Netflix that only show their movies in HD hence requiring you to have enough data before you can watch anything.
The app also allows one a chance for a variety of content from different powerhouses like Nollywood and Bollywood. I have a sister who is addicted to Nigerian movies and this is her perfect source. She will watch them on tv to the point of fighting for the remote with family members but the app now allows her to watch her movies without interruptions or family strains. Bollywood is another source for her favourite feminine Indian love dramas. I can also just share with her some I come across and think she will like.
As a journalist, I’m excited to note that the app has popular TV channels such as Al Jazeera, Bloomberg Television which offer live up-to-date new sources for whatever is happening in the world—since we have been now termed as a “global village”.
NTV, NBS and a few other local channels have been reporting presidential campaigns live. It’s easy now to follow the campaign trail on your app in your office, at a hangout or restaurant than having to be home to watch TV.
Even when you are home and on TV, it is understandable that electricity in Uganda has never been stable. Incase of rampant power outages (whether for technical issues or political reasons), the app is the solution as long as you have your battery or power bank.
You can just continue watching TV and following the news. Away from the news, I’m able to chillax (chilling and relaxing) by simply tuning to music TVs like Trace (Urban, Africa, Mziki, Tropical) which has actually been an old habit of mine since school.
While there may be issues of clients failing to register, I had no issues with that since it gave me clear guidelines of what to do. The fact that there is no subscription is required and the great content for kids, this app tightens family bonds.
My nephew is “a cartoon freak” in this case and has to fight with his half-sisters for the TV remote everyday turning the sitting room into a warzone. He would then come crying to me “uncle, they are putting things I don’t like. They do have refused to give me the remote”.
Solution: use my phone to allow him watch whatever cartoon he wants and peace is restored.
Rogers Atukunda is the editor at edge.ug.