If you like to watch TV, but have no cable access where you live, then DirecTV television service may be your best option.
You'll receive basically the same channels as you would with cable, only more of them, and more in English.
DirecTV has several options, including monthly plans (Pospago) and a new pay as you go plan (Prepago).
If you're only going to be here in Cuenca for a short while, or only live here for a few months of the year, the Prepago plan is ideal for you.
One thing to remember is that the DirecTV satellite is in the western sky. If where you live has no line of sight to the west (e.g., you live on the east side of a condo building), and there's no communal dish on the roof, then DirecTV isn't available to you.
The basic package is the Familiar (Family) plan for $26.00 a month (plus tax). This package includes:
For an extra $5 a month, you can have Familiar Plus, which gives you a digital video recorder (DVR) to record programs.
For an extra $8 per month (plus tax), the Preferencial plan gives you an additional 31 international channels, including another 9 variety channels, one more kids channel, two more movie channels, 6 more sports channels, and 13 more culture channels.
Preferencial Plus gives you the DVR for an extra $5 per month.
You can also add high definition channels to your package for $3 a month, including:
Or you can purchase one of several HD plans, including the following:
If you don't want all the TV channels, you can have just a movie package from DirecTV. Choose from:
There are several sports packages available:
Playboy, Venus, Hustler and XTSY are available in packages or as individual channels.
If you or your kids like playing games, the Game Lounge channel is available for $5 a month.
DirecTV Cinema shows recently released movies in HD over 7 channels for $3.57 per movie, which is added to your monthly bill.
NFL PPV is also available for $8.50 for the weekend.
If you don't want service for a few months each year, or for a week or more each month, the Prepago plan may be what you want to use. You receive 77 channels, including 6 national channels and 35 international ones, plus 30 audio channels and 6 radio stations.
The cost is just $.70 (70 cents) per day, which you can pay for by cell phone, or at a payment location. Locations in Cuenca include Fybeca pharmacies (buying and recharging the plan), SanaSana pharmacies (recharging only), and Comandato (buying and recharging). Comandato is located at Gran Colombia -44 and Borrero. The minimum amount you can purchase is $5.
DirecTV scrambles its satellite signal, so you need a device to decode it. In Spanish, that's a decodificador. Until now, you had to buy it, but there's a new option to include it in your monthly plan fee.
You'll have to do the numbers to determine whether buying the box is cheaper in the long run than adding a monthly cost to your fee. DirecTV must want people to take this option, because they're offering a 50% discount on the HBO Max movie package, plus a 25%, 15% or 10% discount on the Preferencial package, depending on which decoder box you rent.
This is the bottom-of-the-line box, with no digital video recorder built in. So if you want to record programs and have live rewind and fast forward, this box isn't for you.
The cost is $15 with a credit card. It's $33.60 with an Ecuadorian bank debit card.
The rental price (the price when it's included in your monthly plan) is $43 plus tax, which includes the Preferencial package and HBO Max. However, there's a one-time subscription and installation fee of $10 plus tax with your credit card, $25 plus tax with your debit card.
By our calculation, you'll save $35 plus tax (roughly $39.20 total) for the first year if you pay the installation fee with the credit card. After that, it will save you $30 plus tax per year.
Plus is the bottom-level box with a DVR (which lets you record up to 100 hours of shows). The cost is $56 with your credit card, or $84 with your debit card.
The monthly plan costs $46.40 plus tax, plus $56 (credit card) or $84 (debit card) for the subscription and installation (which is the exact same price as buying the box).
Our calculations indicate that you the monthly plan will cost you an extra $10.80 plus tax over the first year (plus you don't get to keep the box). The second and continuing years will cost you the same $10.80 plus tax more with the monthly plan.
The HD box allows you to watch shows in HD, and provides a DVR for recording shows (up to 400 hours of them), and having live rewind and fast forward.
This box costs $84 plus tax with a credit card. It costs $112 with a debit card.
The monthly plan costs $47.78 plus tax, plus $84 (credit card) or $112 (debit card) for the subscription and installation (again, the exact price of purchasing the box).
We calculate that the monthly plan will cost you $27 and change (plus tax) during the first year, and about the same amount each year after that (plus no box when you're done).
As with any rental system in North America, DirecTV wants to make extra money off you (we're surprised it took them this long). If you plan to only live here for one year, the rental might be a deal for you, unless you know you can sell the box when you leave and recoup that investment. The lowest end box is definitely a deal on the monthly plan.
But if you plan on being here for two or more years and want a higher end box, buy it and save some money.
The DirecTV flyer we received says we'll save $200.92 per year with the HD plan, $142.20 with the Plus plan, and $120.56 with the Digital (bottom end) plan. If you can find the difference between our numbers and DirecTV's numbers, let us know and we'll gladly change them here.
There are several ways to contact DirecTV, including by email, web form and telephone. Many of their staff speak English, so if the one contacting you doesn't, ask for someone who does.
Payment is by direct debit from an Ecuadorian financial institution. You can also pay by credit card. You must set up either payment form in a DirecTV office or the office of an authorized distributor, or in your home if a salesperson visits you.
The contract period is for at least one year.
The DirecTV television service offers almost too many options. But that also means that there's an option that's right for you, whether it's a Pospago monthly plan or a Prepago pay as you go plan.
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!