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Can I Watch English Television in Ecuador?

Posted in: Living in Ecuador

Ah, the joys of TV! After a long day at work, whats better than kicking back with a little supper and a good show?

Kickin' back with the tubeA common question about moving abroad is:

“Can I Watch English Television in a Spanish Country?”

Just for plugging in your television you’ll pick up about 20 or 30 channels for free. Everything is in Spanish, and while its a good way to learn the language, many people don’t find it all that relaxing.

You can purchase TVCable, which will have some programming in English, but the majority will be Spanish – this is a Spanish country after all.

Until last week, I didn’t know of a better option. Introducing: DirecTV. DirecTV has a little booth in the mall and Fredi Torres (copy of his business card below) explained how it works. When I asked him if there were many English channels, he explained that almost all of them are. The channels need to be switched to Spanish. Because its digital, you can alternate between languages just like on a DVD.

I’ve included a copy of their recent flyer below. Here’s a summary:

The Family Pack (the entry level package) costs $26 and includes:

  • 6 National Channels
  • 63 International Channels
  • 30 Audio Channels
  • 6 Radio Stations

The Preferential Pack costs $34 and includes:

  • The same as above, plus 31 additional International channels.

Add 9 HBO channels for $10 and/or 8 MovieCity channels for $8.

You are required to purchase a decoder. There are three options:

1) Digital Decoder. Costs $15 with credit card, or $30 with bank debit.

  • Programming Guide
  • Programming Synopsis
  • Programming blocking, based on rating, time, age or cost
  • Change language or subtitles.

2) Decoder Plus. Costs $50 with credit card, or $75 with bank debit.

  • Same as above, plus
  • Pause live tv and rewind
  • Record up to 100 hours of your favorite programming and watch when you want.
  • Rewind/Fast forward live tv in 4 different speeds.

3) Decoder Plus, with HD. Costs $75 with credit card, or $100 with bank debit.

  • Save as option 2, but in HD.
  • Also, record up to 400 hours of your favorite programming.

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

27 comments… add one
  • MovieBox Oct 9, 2019, 5:09 am

    nice post, thanks for sharing!

  • Jorn Winther Jul 10, 2014, 7:40 pm

    Forget about cost. If my wife and I decide to live in Eucador can I watch the LA sports shows such as the Stanley Cup Champ LA Kings…the Lakers, The Angels, the Galazy (soccer) CNN, NBC, CBS in order words most of the American shows in English with good quality if money is not a problem

  • Mike Leonard Jan 21, 2014, 9:43 am

    We use sling box by western digital. It streams tv from my daughters house in tn to us in punta carnero. Since she has direct tv it is like a mini recievers. Requires 2megs works great only cost is about $100.00 dollars for box and someone with tv in states or canada. I do not have to watch same channel as daughter I control that at my slingbox.

  • Walt Nov 16, 2013, 11:54 am

    Would like to subscribe to newsletter, please.

  • Gabrielle Jun 19, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Hi Bryan,
    We are in San Clemente Ecuador for the summer – through August 13. We have directv and are wondering if internet is offered through them like it is in the US? Let me know, I google translated their website and did not see an option for this but am hoping that I am wrong and/or that you may have heard that they are planning to offer it soon!!

  • John Schmit Aug 28, 2012, 2:48 pm

    Do you know if 3D channels are available with Direct TV in Ecuador?

  • Diego Jul 11, 2011, 10:51 am

    Hi You should get the satellital antena, you can find in Mercado Libre, and is true you can watch over 200 channels for free no monthly payments just sometimes you have to download free software form internet and upload to your decoder, it’s connected to the amazonas satelite.
    Just Google “Antena Satelital Ecuador” and it will display many options, i am using that for already 1 year with no problems.

    • Bryan Haines Jul 11, 2011, 5:05 pm

      Thanks Diego – sounds like an interesting option. Thanks for sharing!


  • sgyuris Apr 4, 2011, 2:30 am

    Hi! Great I found this site. question: I need to know if DirecTV in Ecuador offers the prime USA channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) and CNN in ENGLISH! We'll be moving to Quito during the summer. Thanks a lot.

  • Geoff Nolan Dec 24, 2010, 6:09 am

    Gosh I don't even remember how I happened upon this blog but i'm glad I did. What peaked my interest from the get go is the fact that Bryan prominently displays the date of posting! So many of the sites cleverly omit this crucial fact.

    I arrive in Quito tomorrow, Christmas day and will stay a month with a view to retiring in either Quito or Cuenca so I'll most def hop down there from Quito. So excited!

    Terrific blog. Kudos.

    Geoff in Miami

    • Bryan Haines Dec 24, 2010, 6:57 am

      Welcome to Ecuador! – Its a beautiful time of year to be here. Let me know if there is anything we can help you with – ie, questions, directions, etc.

      Enjoy your time here!

  • Jeff Dec 11, 2010, 9:46 am

    Unfortunately, I think your DirecTV contact misunderstood your question.

    I had DTV in Cotacachi before I got married and we moved here to Cuenca. The channels that are in English have Spanish subtitles, but the Spanish ones don’t have English subtitles. And you can’t switch to having everything in English.

    If the original was in English, it may be in English with subtitles, or they have dubbed over it (yes, even TV shows are often dubbed).

    I think your contact was referring to the menu, which is all in Spanish, but which can be switched to English (if, of course, you understand enough Spanish to know what to look for).

    Also, you receive pretty much exactly the same stations on DirecTV as you do on TVCable, including the same packages.

    I’ll be publishing a page about DirecTV (as well as another on TVCable) on our site in the next few days.

    And to answer the sports question, Fox Sports (in Spanish, just about all soccer), ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN2, NFL (but not the playoffs — they’re extra), MLB and NBA are all available (NBA in HD if you pay for HD).

    I hope that helps.


    • Pete Sep 24, 2016, 3:29 pm

      Hi Jeff.
      I recently cancelled my direct tv subscription as I wanted to watch the US version of espn but could only get the latin version. Is there a way to access the US version?

  • Judy Nov 28, 2010, 8:39 am

    Brian, I am a Canuck (Victoria,BC) planning on retiring in 2-3 yrs in ecuador. I love reading your blog and all the usefull info you provide. I've been keeping a journal of tips and places to see in Ecuador. I can't wait!! Than you so much for your great BLOG!!

  • ibokay Nov 23, 2010, 11:58 am

    In addition: US network television is available free on the internet at ABC – CBS – NBC – FOX – PBS – CW are included. Not the best quality, but is watchable depending on download speed.

  • ibokay Nov 23, 2010, 10:06 am

    Just Google "Directv Ecuador" and if you have trouble with Spanish, select "Translate this page" and an English version will open up in a few seconds.

  • ibokay Nov 23, 2010, 5:21 am

    The decoders are a one time purchase – right?

    • Bryan Haines Nov 23, 2010, 5:25 am

      Yes, they are part of the contract (I believe) and you pay just once.

      • ibokay Nov 23, 2010, 5:36 am

        That was quick – thanks!

  • glen Nov 23, 2010, 6:58 am

    can you order pay for view sports packages?NBA NFL MLB NHL etc


  • Bryan Haines Nov 23, 2010, 7:17 am

    Hi Glen. Good question. I'm not sure – but I think so. The decoders come with a feature to filter out programming based on costs.

    You can see details of the HD sports channels here. Under the HD channel section, it notes the cost of $3 monthly per package and a number of sports channels are included.

    Sorry I can't be of more help.

  • glen Nov 24, 2010, 10:09 am

    Thanks Bryan-Great site!

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