Q. I have cable but I’ve been thinking about getting DIRECTV. But I live in an area where we get a lot of rain and I’m told this is a problem with satellite. We also have some large trees in our backyard. Could this be a problem, too? — Mark, Seattle, Washington.
Both cable and satellite TV (and the telco TV) services can undergo outages due to weather. A heavy storm could not knock out your area’s cable system, for instance, causing your TV picture and Internet to go out.
Need to buy something today? Please buy it here at Amazon.com. This site is supported solely by your purchases from Amazon. Thanks in advance!
But it is also true that a steady, particularly heavy rain can block the signal from the communications satellite in the sky to your satellite dish. Such an outage is usually infrequent and short, but if you live in an area that experiences more rain than normal, you might see more outages. (Note: Snow can also cause outages, particularly if the snow piles up on your dish.)
As to your tree problem, the dishes of DIRECTV and Dish both need a clear southern view of the sky to capture the signals. That doesn’t mean there can’t be any trees, but it does mean that you need some clearance where the signal comes in.
If you’re not sure if a satellite dish is a viable option for you, call either DIRECTV or Dish and ask them to come out to do a feasibility test. They can survey the area and determine if you will be able to receive a sufficiently strong signal to get all your channels. They might suggest shaving some tree branches or doing something a little different such as putting the dish on a pole on your roof to elevate it above the trees so it can capture a stronger signal.
Since the installers are local contractors, they also can provide some advice on the local rain issue.
Bottom line: If you really want satellite, don’t give up the idea until you’ve given in a try at your house. Every home is different.
The TV Answer Man web site is supported solely from your purchases from Amazon.com. We urge you to buy something now using this link. Every purchase helps. Many thanks.
And if you have a question for the TV Answer Man, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I tried Direct TV for a week. It would be out for hours at a time.
I have DirecTV as well and mine almost never goes out due to weather. Only a very strong storm knocks it out and during the heaviest part of the storm then it comes right back typically just out for a few minutes. Rain, wind etc… doesn’t ever seem to effect it. I was surprised as not too long ago we got about 10 inches of snow at my house and I thought for sure I’d have to scrap the dish but nope! It never cut out once during and after the snow storm. Granted I’m lucky as I had a great install and a totally clear view of the sky with no trees or anything but honestly if your install was done right and you have good line of sight with no blockage you should rarely have issues with weather affecting your signal.
I live in Chicago, which gets frequent thunderstorms half the year and frequent snow the other half. In 11 years and 4 apartments with DirecTV, I got rain/snow fade every single time we had rain and snow, during the heaviest parts of the storms. Every time we had really bad weather, like training storms with tornado watches, we had to turn to local news via the web, since our DirecTV service could be out for half an hour at a time in those instances. The idea that it isn’t an issue anymore, or that it’s not much of an issue, is the biggest satellite-industry lie.