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TV customers: sun outages coming

The potential for sun outages is coming.  Twice a year, all television customers all across the U.S.  may experience some degree of TV interference due to sun outages. This spring, the solar interference is expected between Feb. 26-March 8, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

During the spring and fall for about two weeks, the angle of the sun falls directly behind communication satellites that send TV signals to antennas here on earth. This means that the antennas, while looking for the signals, get blasted with sun at the same time. The sun interference overrides the signals causing outages.

“Macro-blocking” or “tiling” of channels occurs during sun outages.

The effects of a sun outage vary in degree from minimal disruption to total outage throughout the 15 days. At first, the effects of a sun outage are minimal. But they can gradually worsen to the point of total outage where your TV picture is heavily tiled or macro-blocked before and after peak times.

Sun outages typically last up to 15 minutes a day as the sun hits that “sweet spot” in the sky to cause the interference. Once the trouble reaches its peak, it will gradually decrease, becoming less noticeable each day after.

Unfortunately, there is technically nothing TDS can do to prevent sun outages from occurring. Each satellite service that we receive signals from will experience this interference in the time frame mentioned above. Just another part of being a modern-day Earthling!

 

About Cheryl McCollum

Cheryl McCollum is an Associate Manager of Public Relations at TDS Telecom. She has 25 years of media experience. She’s worked as a newspaper reporter in Northfield, Minn., and Beaver Dam, Wi. She worked in media relations and advocacy for the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Bankers Association. She also worked in communications and advocacy for Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. She has a Journalism and Political Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She’s married, has two adult children and enjoys traveling, especially to U.S. state capitols.

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