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.

New TV? Keep the Box

After purchasing a television, TV Prediction’s TV Answer Man recommends holding on to the packaging. But for how long?

The odds are good any defects will reveal themselves within 30 days, says TV Answer Man, so this is a good minimum time period to keep the original packaging for the purpose of returning the TV to a brick-and-mortar store, or shipping it back to an online retailer.

If space permits, however, keeping the box longer will prove beneficial if the set must later be shipped to the manufacturer for in-warranty repairs. It also will come in handy if you sell or move the set.

If this advice is coming too late or space is limited, specialty boxes can be purchased for moving or shipping TVs.

‘Rudolph’ TV Special Creator Dies

Arthur Rankin Jr., creator of the iconic stop-motion animated specials “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman,” died last Thursday. He was 89.

Also among Rankin’s holiday special credits were “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” and “The Little Drummer Boy Book II.”

Today’s New York Times takes a look at Arthur Rankin’s prolific and star-studded career.

Expert Explains TV Binging Phenomenon

The Daily Beast asked a cultural anthropologist to explain why, in an age when society has “the attention span of a house fly sipping Red Bull in a room lit by a strobe light while dubstep plays,” we are compelled to sit for hours watching back-to-back espisodes of our favorite TV series.

The answer in part, he says, may simply be that TV programming has gotten so much better. Check out his other theories in “Why We Binge-Watch Television.”

2013 Television Review: UHD, OLED In, Plasma Out takes a look back at three 2013 TV trends: the introduction of OLED (organic light emitting diode) and 4K UHD (ultra high definition) sets to the American market, and Panasonic’s decision to end plasma TV production.

We need only wait until next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to see what’s in store for 2014.

TV’s Biggest Fails are Often Spinoffs

From some of the TV series we remember fondly have come spinoffs we wish we could forget. Inspired by the news that CBS has ordered a follow-up pilot to “How I Met Your Mother” called “How I Met Your Dad,” Yahoo!TV compiled a slideshow featuring 12 TV Spinoffs We Didn’t Ask For (But Got Anyway). And, yes, “Joanie Loves Chachi” made the list.

Walter Cronkite Memorial Bows in St. Joseph, Mo.

Missouri Western State University in Suddenlink-served St. Joseph this week unveiled a tribute to one of the city’s most celebrated natives. The Walter Cronkite Memorial features photos, video footage and memorabilia from the “CBS Evening News” legend’s life. A dedication Monday included a keynote address by Cronkite’s cousin and two-term mayor of Kansas City, Mo., Kay Cronkite Barnes. Walter Cronkite’s birthday was chosen for the ceremony.  He would have turned 97.

Richard Belzer is Leaving ‘SVU’

Best Wishes, Detective John Munch! “Law & Order: SVU” fans tuning in last night saw Munch turn in his retirement papers.  Expect a retirement party on next week’s episode.

The character, who has starred in multiple “Law & Order” and “Homicide” series, has also made appearances on several other shows, including “The X-Files” and “Arrested Development.” In total, he has been helping solve cases for 20 years on more than 450 TV episodes.

No need to say goodbye forever, though.  The Huffington Post reports Richard Belzer plans to bring back his beloved character for occasional guest appearances.

Cable Nets Again Rule Primetime Emmy

Cable networks once again dominated the Primetime Emmy Awards. Of 18 major awards presented, 15 went to cable programs and individual actors on cable shows.

HBO led the way with seven awards, including two each for miniseries “Behind the Candelabra” and comedy series “Veep,” and one each for drama series “The Newsroom” and “Boardwalk Empire,” and variety special “Louis C.K.: Oh My God.”

Showtime captured three Emmys, one each for comedy series “Nurse Jackie,” drama series “Homeland,” and miniseries “The Big C: Hereafter.”

AMC’s “Breaking Bad” won two awards.  One award each for USA’s “Political Animals,” Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” and FX’s “American Horror Story: Asylum” rounded out the cable network winners.

FX, USA, Comedy Central and AMC are available to virtually all Suddenlink customers who have what is commonly known as Expanded Basic TV service.

USA Today has a complete list of winners.