Visitors and prospective residents and retirees looking to Belize as a new home usually ask about access to television and the variety of channels available.
Belize enjoys widespread on air, cable and satellite television access. Belizeans love TV so much that even villages in out-of-the-way areas are connected to the several cable stations in Belize.
Most companies offer over one hundred channels as a standard package. About two-thirds of the programming originates in North America – all major networks such as NBC, CBS. ABC, CNN, and Fox are standard fare. Movie channels such as HBO, Starz and even major sporting events on pay view are available. The channel lineup includes programming in Spanish, Mandarin and Hindu to serve the various immigrant communities.
In 2010 Belize cable TV providers began to interlink their head ends via fiber optic cable to modernize their networks. This new strategy has resulted in the provision of High Definition channels. Cable television companies now offer a minimum of 4 High Definition channels, along with a mix of digital and analog channels. HD is currently limited to 780p resolution.
The costs for cable television vary but on average are about US $22.50 per month. For those who are a a little too far from the population centers to get cable, satellite television from Hughes and Direct TV is available from local dealers. Satellite TV delivers the higher 1080p resolution. Cable television in Belize is marketed as High Definition but really the companies get away by offering the lower 720p service. The packages include satellite Internet if needed. Internet access via cable in Belize is more expensive and slower than that offered by the monopoly government owned telephone company.
Satellite coverage has increased in recent years over Belize and six foot dishes are the largest that are required. Previously Belize was in the fringe satellite footprint area and large 12 foot dishes were necessary. Today large dishes are only used by the cable companies who mount multiple feed horns to capture as much channels on one dish for onward transmission to their customers. Picture: Satellite TV dish discretly mounted on countryside cabin in Belize.
Satellite TV costs in Belize vary depending on the package lineup the customer selects and are very closely in line with current charges in North America.
Most dishes used are more compact (see picture above) but this will depend on the satellite TV provider you are using and the channel line up required. If you can afford it, a six foot dish is more dependable as it can capture a stronger signal and minimize fade outs during heavy rain.
Satellite TV Dealers in Belize
Computer Ranch – Spanish Lookout: Tel: 823 0373
Tenchtronic Communications – Belize City: Tel 227 2175
There are several free-lance satellite TV installers in Belize who do not advertise as they do this work on a part time basis. But if you are in need of satellite TV in a remote area of Belize it may be more economical to locate an installer in the area as the costs would be lower, than for e.g. hiring a company in Belize where travel expenses will be higher. Simply ask your nearest neighbor for a recommendation.
The average price for installation of a satellite TV dish is about US $2,200. This may sound expensive compared to what you would pay in your home country. But consider that dealers have to import the dish, feed horns and receivers and this is not a high volume market in Belize. If you decide to live in an area away from it all, the cost is not really as high as it looks, as you would also be able to obtain satellite Internet service at a cost approximately half of what you would pay the local telephone company.