Cuba will begin tests in Havana to progressively introduce digital television on the island using methodology and equipment donated by China, the Communications Ministry announced Monday.

Starting next month, a "demonstration zone" will be established for digital TV service in the Cuban capital so that testing may be done on signal transmission and reception in homes under real-world conditions, according to the official announcement published in the Communist Party daily Granma.

In carrying out these tests, the Chinese Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast format and equipment donated by Beijing will be used.

Cuba will undertake to transfer analog TV broadcasts to a digital system as part of the agreements signed with China to foster technological cooperation.

The demonstration zone will enable Cuban authorities to adapt "technical, economic and organizational measures" to later continue bringing digital TV in a phased manner by regions to the entire country, Granma said.

Decoder boxes to unscramble the digital transmission signal will be distributed in selected neighborhoods where the testing will be performed.

Because they are being used in a test, these devices will be distributed at a price of 7.35 pesos (around 27 cents), which does not cover the cost of the equipment. EFE