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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTechnology News | November 2006 

Satellite TV in Puerto Vallarta
email this pageprint this pageemail usLen Schell - PVNN

What I am going to try to accomplish here is to have a look at English speaking satellite TV, and what a consumer in Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding areas might need to know in order to determine whether English satellite TV is what they want, and what the different services are able to offer them.

There are three major suppliers of English speaking services. They are StarChoice, DishNet and DirecTV. There are many similarities in the three, but there are also differences.

The first thing to remember when making a decision about satellite TV is that this is Mexico. All three of the major supplier's goals are to supply a market other than Mexico. Which means that the place that their satellite signal is aimed is a place other than Mexico, and their customer base is a geographical location other than Mexico.

This causes somewhat of a problem for those of us living in Mexico while trying to receive some of the satellite signals. With today's technology, the companies supplying the programming often use more than one satellite.

They have designed dishes that can receive signals from more than one satellite, and therefore offer the consumer a larger number of channels. These dishes, however, cannot be used in Mexico, because here in Mexico we are on the fringes of the satellite's footprint, and need a larger dish than what is used in Canada or the United States.

This is a problem that is encountered by those who subscribe to Dishnet or Directv. Because of the strength of their signal here in Mexico, a larger dish is necessary and can only be aimed at one of their satellites.

Starchoice, on the other hand, is able to use the same dish that they use in Canada and therefore Starchoice customers have access to all of the programming. This has several implications, but one of the most important ones is that Dishnet and Directv cannot offer hi-definition TV to the viewers in Mexico, while Starchoice can.

There is a misconception about Starchoice since it is a Canadian company. That misconception is their available programming, and this is important. Starchoice offers almost the identical programming as Dishnet and Directv. So all of the networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS are all on Starchoice.

They also carry all of the super stations, all of the U.S. news stations, and all of the U.S. specialty channels. But there is one significant difference. Starchoice gives their customers as many as five different opportunities to watch the same programming, since there are 5 time zones in Canada.

So for example, if your favorite show is on tonight at 7 o'clock eastern time, with a Starchoice system, you can watch it at 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 o'clock. Canadian legislation, unlike American legislation, does not dictate where channels can be received from, so Starchoice offers service from Detroit, Seattle, and all five times zones from Canada.

So this explains a little about the programming, and who offers what. Now comes the big question: "Where should I buy a system?" There have been some not so scrupulous satellite companies in Puerto Vallarta. So one word of advice. Ask whoever you are buying your system from for a list of references, and phone the references.

Can you trust the provider to do what they say they are going to do, when they say they are going to do it, at the price quoted? To be sure, call the references on your list and ask them if their suppliers signal ever goes off. Ask if their supplier offers courteous after-sales service and if so, do they charge for it, or provide it as part of their service.

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful place to live. As a guest in this country, I get to enjoy all of its beauty and splendor, and still have all the amenities of "home." Along with the internet, Satellite TV is one of those amenities. So weigh your options, find someone who you can trust to serve you in your needs, and enjoy your viewing.
Len Schell has over 25 years of experience in the satellite industry. He has worked extensively with StarChoice, DishNet and DirecTV, and is now doing business as Aim-It-Right Satellite in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Over the years, Len has installed approximately 5000 small satellite dishes, always employing his business philosophy of providing the very best service at the very best price. For more information, call Len at 044-322-205-2535 or send an email to

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