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Sun Outages and the affects on TV Service

Feb 11, 2021, 10:41 AM by Lexy Hagler

What are Sun Outages?

Twice a year (spring and fall), TV providers experience a technical phenomenon called "sun outages." For a period of about 2 weeks, the sun causes "solar interference" to all geostationary satellite signals. As the sun's path across the sky gets lower each day, there are times when it is in a direct line behind a communication satellite that is sending signals to a receiving satellite dish here on Earth. When the dish antenna is looking into the sun, the interference from the sun overrides the signals from the satellite. This is when a sun outage occurs.

How long do sun outages last?

Sun outages typically occur during the months of February/March and September/October and can last as long as 15 minutes a day and take place over a period of 15 days.

What kind of service impact can I expect?

The effects of a sun outage vary in degree from minimal to total outage throughout the 15 day period. Once it reaches its peak, the interference will gradually decrease becoming less noticeable each day after. Sun outages can also cause a pixelated picture, freezing picture, or audio distortions.  It is important to note that sun outages do NOT affect over the air broadcasts.

How can I tell if an outage is caused by a sun outage or if something is wrong with my TV service?

The sun outage is predictable, and usually only occurs between 10:30am and 5:30pm, and will last anywhere between a few and 15 minutes.

What should I do during the sun outage?

Be patient and everything will get back to normal on its own.  Solar satellite interference is out of our control however, we do apologize for the inconvenience they cause.  If you have any questions about sun outages, please contact Madison at 800-422-4848, we would be happy to address any concerns.