Spring and Fall Sun Outages Can Cause Picture Issues

What are sun outages?

Each spring and fall, all providers of TV service, including TDS, experience a technical phenomenon called "sun outages”. During this period, the sun causes solar interference for all geostationary satellite signals.

As the sun's path across the sky becomes 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 antenna here on earth. When the antenna is looking into the sun, the interference from the sun overrides the signals from the satellite. Then a sun outage occurs.

How do sun outages affect my TDSTV service?

At first, the effects of a sun outage are minimal, gradually, it may worsen to the point of total outage. Some channels will experience "macro-blocking" or "tiling" before and after the peak times, as exampled in the picture below.

When do sun outages occur?

In general, spring sun outages in the United States take place during the last week of February and the first two weeks of March. In general, fall sun outages in the United States will take place during the last week of September and the first two weeks of October.

The duration and severity of the outages will vary from a slight interruption in reception for a few seconds to a complete loss of signal for several minutes at a time. Once the sun outages reach their peak, the interference will gradually become less noticeable each day.

What can be done to prevent a sun outage?

Unfortunately, there is technically nothing any TV provider can do to prevent sun outages from occurring. Each satellite service that transmits signals will experience this interference during this time of year.

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