Q. We just moved to a rural area where it’s tough to get a decent Internet signal but we want to watch TV, right? So streaming is tough here. We are thinking of getting a dish from DIRECTV or Dish, but I remember that the picture goes out when it rains. Is that true or just some myth created by the cable guys? — Marty, Port Republic, Maryland.
Marty, it’s not a myth. Both cable and satellite TV (and the telco TV) services can undergo outages due to weather.
A heavy storm could knock out your area’s cable system, for instance, causing your TV picture and Internet to go out. 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, whether it’s from DIRECTV or 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.
But rain isn’t the only trouble facing the dish — literally. Snow can also cause outages, particularly if the snow piles up on your dish.
If you suspect that snow is blocking your dish’s signal, go out to where the dish is installed and check. If the snow is covering the dish interior, clear it out. It shouldn’t take long before your picture returns. (If the snow is heavy, you might need to go back a few times.)
The dishes of DIRECTV and Dish need a clear southern view of the sky (where the satellites are positioned) to capture the signals. Snow and rain can block that view.
Last note: If your dish is on your house’s roof, and you don’t feel comfortable going up there during a snowstorm, by all means, please don’t. Just wait until the snow stops, and the sun melts away the snow blocking your dish. As much as you want to watch television, it’s not worth risking life and limb.
Hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann