DirecTV Latin America/Caribbean Marine Services
Updated: September 2019
DirecTV provides satellite TV services in parts of South America, as well as the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, through its DirecTV Latin America brand. It is a separate service from DirecTV USA, using different satellites (DLA-1 and DLA-2 at 95W) and requiring different LNBs and receivers.
In early 2018 DirecTV Latin America has completed its transition from its older Galaxy 3C satellite, which provided a very limited set of channels over a wide area of coverage to a constellation of two new satellites: DLA-1 and DLA-2. The new satellites are positioned in the same orbital slot (95W) as the old Galaxy 3C and broadcast in the Ku band, so existing antennas can be used. However, a new LNB with expanded frequency range (DLA-W) will eventually be required to be able to receive all the channels, particularly in the South America region.
Service to vessels in the Caribbean basin is provided through DirecTV Caribbean, based in Trinidad. DirecTV Puerto Rico, long popular with yachts, has stopped offering services to marine customers.
Our services are designed to bring DirecTV Caribbean to your yacht in the shortest amount of time and the minimum of hassle. We stock receivers and LNBs at our St. Maarten facility. We process all the paperwork for you, test and activate the receivers on our bench, and deliver them to your boat ready to go. We can convert your antenna to track the DirecTV LA satellites, install the receivers and interface to your AV control system.
For yachts that will not use St. Maarten as their first Caribbean destination, we can arrange for shipping of the receivers to a convenient location.
Regretfully we do not provide residential/terrestrial installations or service.
DirecTV Caribbean Coverage
The West Beam of the old Galaxy3C satellite provided expansive coverage, extending into the Western Caribbean, parts of the West Coast of the USA, parts of the Southern Bahamas as well as South Florida. The new DLA-1/DLA-2 beams are much more focused and cover mostly the areas serviced by DirecTV Latin America. This means that vessels cruising in the Western Caribbean and Central America that were previously able to utilize DirecTV LA now need to switch to a provider that covers the area, such as Dish Network or Sky Mexico..
DirecTV Caribbean Programming and Plans
DirecTV Caribbean provides programming in English and Spanish. Many channels will appear familiar to US viewers, but the actual programming may be somewhat different, as they are the Caribbean/Latin America feeds of those channels.
US networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) are currently NOT carried by DirecTV Caribbean, and the previously-available NFL Sunday Ticket and NBA pass packages have also been dropped. Some sports programming (e.g. post-season NFL) that is broadcast in the US by one of the networks may be available on a different channel on DirecTV Caribbean.
All DirecTV Caribbean marine plans are prepaid. Full-year and 6-month “Season Pass” plans are offered. A few premium packages are available, with movies, sports and international programming. A DVR option is available as well.
A second and third receiver can be added to an account as “mirrors” for a reduced fee. A fourth receiver incurs a full charge again; the fifth and sixth are “mirrors”, and so on.
The end result is quite a complex pricing structure. A yacht with 6 HD non-DVR receivers that will be cruising the Caribbean for 6 months, and signs up for HBO Max/Fox+ and Max Pack Sports on all the receivers will pay a little less than $1,800. We will work with you during the signup process to select the most cost-effective combination for your needs.
Residents of Latin-America countries like Venezuela or Columbia can bring receivers from their own countries, which will enable them to watch local channels. The receivers will work throughout the coverage area, but local South-American channels that are carried on the south beam will not be received while in the Northern part of the Caribbean
All receivers support North-American TV video standards (1080i/720p/480p 60Hz digital, NTSC analog) and will run on both 110V and 220V power.
Two types of receivers are available:
The LH01 receiver is a small unit (6-1/4″w x 4″d x 1.5″h) with both HDMI and composite/RCA outputs. It does not have a DVR. Unfortunately the power supply (12VDC, 1.25A) is a “wall-wart” type which makes swapping receivers a little more difficult than it has been before. It is however compatible with recent DirecTV USA models.
We generally keep a stock of these receivers at our St. Maarten location for immediate activation.
The LHR26 receiver includes a DVR, provides digital video and audio outputs and Ethernet connectivity. It has RCA, S-Video, Component Video, HDMI and digital audio outputs. Two coax cable runs from the multiswitch are required to view one channel while recording another. Installation of a UPS is highly recommended as the receiver has a built-in hard drive and takes several minutes to initialize after a power failure.
Both standard and DVR receivers come with the standard DirecTV infrared remote controls, identical to that of DirecTV USA. Control Systems and Universal Remotes programmed with DirecTV USA codes will work unchanged with the Caribbean receivers.
Although not officially announced, we have previously tested and verified that the DirecTV IP control protocol is functional on the HD-DVR receivers. USB control also appears to be working.
DirecTV Caribbean receivers do NOT support the USA-only RF remotes
Antennas and LNBs
A 24” (60cm) marine stabilized antenna (such as the KVH TV6 or Intellian i6) has traditionally been the smallest size to enable reception of DirecTV LA signal in the Eastern Caribbean, which is at the edge of the satellite footprint. With the more-focused beam of the new DLA-1/2 satellites, 18″ antennas may now work adequately as well. At present, the KVH HD7 antennas cannot receive the full complement of DirecTV Caribbean channels, while the HD11 needs to be re-wired in order to receive the full package.
A specialized DLA circular LNB is required. We can supply LNBs for most antenna brands.
In St. Maarten, the DirecTV LA 95W satellites are at about 244 degrees true of azimuth, 47 degrees of elevation. When planning your dockage, make sure that there are no obstructions between your antenna and the satellite.
A DirecTV USA SWM (single-wire multiswitch) installation is NOT compatible with DirecTV LA receivers. While some LA receivers have a “SWM” label on their coax port, it is a different SWM specification than the one in the US. If you try to wire DirecTV LA receivers to a DirecTV US SWM, you will get unpredictable results – some of the receivers may work while other will not. It is our understanding that no DirecTV LA SWMs are produced, so if installing multiple receivers, you need to wire your antenna to a “legacy” multiswitch.