Seasonal ‘Sun Outages’ May Affect TV Viewing

Twice a year, during the spring and fall, TV watchers may experience some degree of interference on some channels due to a phenomenon known as “sun outages.” The following Q&A will help you understand what they are and how they could affect you.

What is a sun outage?

A sun outage is an interruption in TV signals caused by interference from solar radiation. The interference is caused when the sun is in direct line with a communication signal and the sun’s radiation overwhelms it.

How does this affect watching TV?

During this time, people with cable or satellite TV service may experience interference on some channels that can affect picture quality and sound. The picture, for instance, may pixilate slightly, or clicking sounds may be heard. In some cases, picture or sound may completely drop for a few minutes.

Sun outages do not affect Internet or phone service.

How long does the interference last?

Such interference can last up to several minutes a day.

When will this interference happen?

This spring, sun outages may affect some channels – though only intermittently and generally for only a few minutes at a time – between roughly Feb. 22 and March 15. Typically, the effects, if visible, will occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT.

What should you do?

If you experience picture or sound interference during these times, please be patient. Your service should return to normal after a short while.