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Satellite TV Coverage in the Caribbean

DirecTV USA

The footprint of the DirecTV USA satellites (101W etc.) does not reach the Caribbean. When travelling south from the U.S., TV coverage will end somewhere between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, depending on your antenna size.

DirecTV Latin America (DLA)

DirecTV LA is the most popular English- and Spanish-language service in the Caribbean. The service is carried on the Galaxy3C (95W) satellite. Yachts can purchase receivers and programming packages from DirecTV Puerto Rico (www.directvpr.com) or DirecTV Trinidad (www.directvcaribbean.com). Programming is similar but NOT identical. The Puerto Rico service is more popular with yachts as it carries more U.S. channels and is more cost effective when multiple receivers are activated. They also have dedicated marine representatives that respond to email (marinepuertorico@directvpr.com), which makes the provisioning and activation service a bit less painful. The Trinidad service appears to offer more Spanish-speaking programming. Check the channel lineup carefully if this is a consideration.

The LNB needed for DirecTV LA service is different than the one used for DirecTV U.S. Seatel antennas support an “Americas” LNB that can be switched between the two frequencies. Otherwise, a “DLA” LNB needs to be installed. Also, different receivers are needed, even if you are a DirecTV U.S. subscriber. The different DirecTV systems are run separately and will not activate each other’s boxes.

A larger antenna (Seatel 4004 and above, KVH M7 and above) is generally required for clear reception. A few channels may fade out as you travel south and east (or if you have a smaller or older antenna) as they are transmitted on a lower-powered transponder (25). Yachts with KVH Tracvision G8 antennas can upgrade to the newer but same-sized 24” M7 to provide better reception. 18” KVH antennas (G4/M5) will not be able to receive DirecTV LA at all.

Dish Network

Dish Network (110W) service from the U.S. reaches down to the Northern and NE Caribbean but requires a LARGE antenna (e.g. Seatel 6004) for reception.

Canalsat Caraibes

The French-language service operates from the Intelsat 903 (34.5W) with good coverage throughout the Caribbean. A European (linear) LNB is required. In St. Martin, receivers and subscriptions can be purchased at their Sandy Ground location (phone:  +590-590-875470)

Sky Mexico

This Spanish-language service has coverage in the Western and parts of the Northern Caribbean, but does not reach the Eastern Caribbean. A linear LNB is required.

Free-to-Air (FTA)

Unlike Europe, very few Free-to-Air services operate in the Americas, and none that we are aware of offers Caribbean coverage.

Coverage Maps

KVH: http://www.kvh.com/footprint/footprint_tv.asp

Seatel: http://www.seatel.com/?page=footprints

Navisystem: http://www.navisystem.it/eng/copertura.html

Note that Seatel tends to be conservative in their coverage maps, actual coverage is often better than they show