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The majority of cable television providers deliver cable signals from satellites orbiting the earth high above our homes and businesses. However, these messages from space are not without very brief, interruptions caused by sun outages, often called sun spots, but what exactly is this phenomenon?

What are Sun Outages?

Twice a year, you may experience some degree of television interference due to “sun outages.” Such outages are caused by a phenomenon called a “solar satellite interference.” These brief outages occur when the sun is in a direct line behind a satellite transmitting cable signals. When the sun is aligned with a satellite, solar radiation, an energy the sun is emitting, interferes with the satellite’s signal and thus causes a brief signal outage.

Cable TV providers are not the only ones affected by these sun outages. Pretty much anyone who relies on satellite communications are affected by sun outages. This could include certain streaming services or some internet providers that use satellites for online access.

When Do Sun Outages Happen and How Long Do They Last?

Sun Outages occur every year, in the fall and spring. Since they are a naturally-occurring phenomenon, there is no exact time or date when they will occur. However, they typically only last a few seconds or minutes in most cases. In some rare occurrences they have lasted up to ten minutes. The majority of the interruptions are very brief.

What Kind of Interference Can I Expect?

During the sun outage, customers may experience a pixelated picture, picture freezes, or audio distortions for a brief period of time. You may even see a message that says, “One Moment Please”.

You can still watch TV recordings stored on your DVR without any trouble during sun outages. Be aware, however, that programs being recorded during sun outages will likely be affected.

What Should I Do During These Interruptions?

You don’t have to do anything to restore your service but wait a few minutes for the event to end. If you have trouble with your TV service that lasts longer than a few minutes contact your local LHTC Broadband business office.