by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Carlos Cruz, a 59-year-old electrician living on the edge of Havana, likes watching soccer games and music concerts at home on local digital TV channels at his leisure.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic sanctions imposed by the United States against the island, the Cuban government has announced the expansion of digital TV across the country in the coming months.
Some years ago, Cruz told Xinhua, he would spend time repositioning an outdoor antenna on the roof of his house to get the analog TV signal, but "with the digital television, I can get better TV sound and picture."
"TV signal reception is much better now," said the electrician. "It has revolutionized our TV viewing experience."
Like the father, his 12-year-old daughter, Maraya Cruz, enjoys cartoons on Cuban TV channels, especially over the weekends. "I like to watch films as well as teen and cooking shows via digital TV. It feels real," she said.
Digital television rollout in the Caribbean country kicked off in 2013, with converter boxes donated by the Chinese government as part of the first test in the capital city of Havana.
In Cuba, there are more than 40 municipal, provincial and national TV channels broadcast via analog and digital signals. New digital television transmitters, according to local media, will be spotted at various corners of the country throughout the year.
The island's Innovation and Development Center plans to manufacture 32-inch hybrid TV sets to support its tele-education services, as well as to sell more than 300,000 television converter boxes in 2021.
"As of the second quarter of the year, converter boxes are expected to be available at the country's stores, particularly in those located in the areas where the partial transition from analog to digital TV will be conducted," said Cuban Minister of Communications Jose Luis Perdomo during a televised address.
The minister said the digital TV transition is a "necessary process to save electric energy and modernize the outdated technology."
Currently, digital and high-definition digital TV signals respectively cover 76 and 45 percent of the island's total.
"Like in other contexts, the Chinese digital television standard has demonstrated huge adaptability in Cuba," said Eduardo Gonzalez, who has earned a Ph.D. degree and took postdoctoral studies at top universities in China.
"Communication technologies have gained room in Cuba over the past decade," he added. "We are moving on the right track by expanding the digital TV across the island."