Home Expat Blogs How Television Works in Mexico for Expats and Visitors

How Television Works in Mexico for Expats and Visitors

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Maria O'Connor blogs for Expats In Mexico from Puerto Vallarta
Maria O’Connor

One of the first questions I’m asked by aspiring expats who are just making the move to Mexico or simply visiting is how can they watch their favorite TV programs or follow their sports teams. Since the March Madness college basketball tournament begins this week, I thought I’d give you a rundown on how television works in Mexico.

When I first moved here I didn’t have a TV. I wasn’t home much anyway and there wasn’t anything I really missed that much. When I wanted to watch my team play, I would go to a local sports bar where I could see most any sporting event with play-by-play in English. That’s still pretty much the case today but TV in Mexico has evolved quite a bit since the early 90s. Now there are more options than ever for those who can’t miss an episode of their favorite series or a big game.

So here’s how television works in Mexico today. Cable television is widely available throughout Mexico, especially in the cities. In Puerto Vallarta, the decades-old Telecable service was recently replaced by IZZI, a cable service owned by media giant Televisa. It offers a wide range of channels in both Spanish and in English. The basic service will run you around US$18.00 a month and you can add premium channels such as HBO and FOX for a little bit more.

Some people opt for dish services such as DISH or SKY, which can be a little pricier than cable but generally offer more channels. There are also people who provide dish services through Canadian providers such as Shaw, which would be programming almost exclusively in English and French. The service is generally available in tourist areas. The one disadvantage with any of the satellite television services is rain. When it rains, the signal often goes out or is weakened.

The latest technology has also hit Mexico through Internet streaming television. Devices like AppleTV, ROKU and Slingbox make watching your favorite programs as easy as having a fast internet connection. Once you purchase the device (they go for around US$100 or less), you only pay for the channels you want and if you have a cable television service in the U.S., you can use your account in Mexico to access most premium channels like HBO, Amazon, CBS Access, Showtime and of course, Netflix. One channel, USTVNOW, is a channel that was created primarily for overseas service personnel and their families and it provides the basic U.S.-based channels of ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CW and FOX free of charge and offers additional channels such as CNN, Lifetime, TBS, etc… with paid packages.

Finally, there are still free over-the-air channels available in Mexico. Televisa and TVAzteca own the big ones from Mexico City. They provide some entertaining programming, and don’t forget, watching Mexican television can be a great way to improve your Spanish!

37 COMMENTS

  1. In Puerta Vallarta there is another option … you can buy an Andriod TV Box.
    Including set up, written instruction also, it will cost you Pesos $2,000 only … and that is a onetime charge …no monthly fees and you can hundreds of channels and thousands of movies that are available as livestreaming (wifi should be over 7mbps) or you can view any ones you missed by putting them in your ‘favorites’ and they come through about one hour after they have been seen on regular channels.

      • An Android box basically turns your TV into a computer allowing you to visit certain sites and stream programs or movies, i.e. you can visit the nbc.com website and stream your favorite shows. Some of these services/channels/websites are free to use and others may require a subscription.

  2. I miss Telecable. They had few disruption in service but they did provide the main US networks. IZZI does not provide networks. There are many channels but some are duplicates or even triplicate.

  3. Well !! We tried Dish Sat/TV here in ZLO. Sales rep told us most ch are in English. Opted for the most expensive package with option to record etc. What a joke. The tech shows up, took 4 hrs to install. Had all cables in place as had a Sat/dish B4. He takes down the existing dish. Places a new one 20′ away. Receiver hooked up, then he hands us a remote that appeared went through a war. Didn’t work. He leaves with no further instructions, Including NO owners manual.

    I start using the receiver manually. Find out we have 20 English ch with over 100 Spanish ch. NO US CNN or Fox. If your looking for an all English programing I don’t think there are any. We returned this entire set up back to Dish. Terrible experience. Do not recommend. Best, Todd

    • Hi Todd, we are also in ZLO. What are you using now? And what would you recommend?
      We have problems getting ESPN USA channels. We subscribed to SHAW, but they do not have ESPN channels. Then we tried VPN network, Chromcast, Apple TV with no luck. They blocked the ESPN from viewing. We can use VPN, but it really slows down the speed, and we can’t cast it to the TV. It said we are outside the area.
      I just looked into IPTV, but I am afraid it would end up the same thing that some USA channels, like ESPN, are blocked.
      Now, some people recommended us to subscribe Hesgoal and Sky TV. I have no idea what we should do. We would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

      • i have an android box with a subsciption to EPIC IPTV works great a few streaming problems, but no PVR function , just watching the WPG Jets game now. Looking for another box for a friend anyone have any leads?

  4. Doris, if you contact the USTVNow people, they will guide you through the new set up process. You can access USTVNow through a channel on ROKU called PLEX – I am watching it now!

    • As it is right now, the biggest issue in San Pancho with internet streaming television is the speed – it can be very slow. According to my friends that live in San Pancho, they are working on improving this so I do not think it will be long. There are many people who live there and rely on the internet for their work and the numbers are increasing all the time. You certainly have picked a wonderful spot – San Pancho is magical!

      • Update: On San Pancho: Allegedly, Fiber optic is soon coming to San Pancho ( Nov.2021) from both Telemex ( Infinitum) and some independents. I have heard estimates of 2 to 3 weeks and 3 to 4 months respectively. Mexico has it’s own distinctive pace and promises so, we’ll see. San Pancho can have simply terrible internet speed but yes it is magical.

  5. We use Apple TV in Sayulita, it works great for Netflix and renting movies through itunes.
    Hulu, HBO, Showtime and many of the other channels are inaccessible. They are not authorized to play in Mexico through our U.S. subscription. You can access some Amazon Prime shows, but again many are blocked from viewing. The streaming speed is generally pretty good. itunes is the slowest, sometimes not able to download a movie for hours.

  6. I subscribed to Dish 2 months ago and the options that are available in English are generally sufficient for my needs. However, I have spent at least 5 or 6 hours on the phone, in chat rooms, or at the Telmex office trying to get a DVR. I was told that Dish here simply does not have them, and I would need to use an external hard drive.
    At this point I am down to one basic question which I do not seem to be able to find an answer to…HELP! I find listings on Amazon and Ebay for Dish DVR’s, but will they be compatible with the technology here?

  7. Hi Garry:

    I cannot comment on the compatibility but you might try buying a DISH DVR on the Mercado Libre site here in Mexico. It is kind of like a Mexican e-bay and you can see the ratings of the sellers and look at the merchandise. I have had good luck buying things from Mercado Libre. Here is a link: https://listado.mercadolibre.com.mx/receptor-dish-m510-dvr-graba. It also has a way that you can talk to the seller to see if this is what you really need. I hope this helps.

  8. To Rose in ZLO
    From Todd ZLO Manzanillo

    Heading back down for the winter….Still no idea on how to receive mostly US channels. Had Shaw at one time. Seemed to meet our needs. What we want…US Football…US Fox & CNN among many other US programs. Is there anything equivalent ?

  9. I have found down here in Baja California that many American TV channels will not stream via cable. Also, most Sat Services will not service outside the US.

  10. Hi Maria. I live in PV 6 months/year in Conchas Chinas. I have Telmex internet service, I pay for the 20Gb service but rarely get above 10Mbs. I have heard Izzi is a good option. Do you know if they are faster and reliable? When I’m there I am telecommuting, so fast and reliable internet is a must.
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Piers! I have had horrible experiences with Izzi so I do not recommend it. I still think Telmex is the best, most reliable option. Have you asked Telmex about the availability of Fiber Optic service? I know not all areas have it but they are installing the Fiber Optics throughout Puerto Vallarta so it may be on its way.

  11. We live in Merida, Yucatan and twoyears ago purchased an Amazon Fire Stick from a local supplier named Ricardo. He installed and set it all up and we get great USA programming for $250 Pesos per month.
    I highly recommend Amazon Fire Stick and post a message if you would like the contact information for Ricardo. He could do the set up on the telephone and get your Fire Stick working. I used Roku during my first six years living in Mexico, but Fire Stick is far superior to Roku, Shaw, Tekecable, etc.
    Regards, Lester
    Merida, Yucatan.

  12. Lester, are you using the international firestick, the 4k firestick, etc? I have been told the same: to get firestick, but not sure which one to buy. Did you buy on mercadolibre?

    Thanks,
    Gary

  13. Hello i install and program Tvboxes, Smart tv and Firestick for all the expats In México. i live in Puerto Vallarta. Everything related to Watching content from Home in your TV please send me a message and i can Help you. My númber is 3221416239 my mame is Alain Patiño from PVR. Thanks.

  14. Please be sure to check out all references and do your homework before hiring any service providers in Mexico. Expats In Mexico does not endorse any vendors who post in any of our Comments sections.

  15. We have a home in Nopolo it’s approximately 8 kilometers south of Loreto Mexico in the baja. Trying to figure out how to get Dish TV with a big package that includes nba, nfl, mlb, packages with nbc, cbs, abc, fox networks in English.

  16. If you want to watch US or Canadian TV in the Puerto Vallarta area, I recommend Alain Patino in the January 10 message. Fast, responsive and effective. Bill in NV

  17. I just moved into an apartment in Cancun. What I am getting here is Netflix, Claro-video, Opera tv and You tube. What would be the best way to get American channels. I believe the will install sky tv today. Will that give me the wanted American channels like ABC, NBC, CBS etc.? I would be thankful for any help.

  18. I live in La Cruz and want to warn anyone considering Dish Tv to stay away from Arturo Navarro. Guy will tell you anything and after you buy his box you get no service and don’t even get the package you pay for. I’ve been waiting 6 weeks for him to provide the service and Dish package I am currently paying for and he won’t even return my calls . WARNING ! DO NOT DEAL WITH ARTURO NAVARRO FOR ANY DISH TV SERVICE!

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