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.
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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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You can put up an outdoor antenna to get your local channels so you have something to watch while the heavy rain or snow blocks your signal.
YMMV, it rained yesterday and I lever lost my directv sat signal , but my cable broadband went out 3x yesterday.
There is also a new feature where when it rains,it will will ask of you want to view in SD (standard def) . Sometimes the standard def signal is not impacted .
As what is left of the 101 bird CONTINUES to age and the clowns at Duncetv keep milking the station keeping fuel, RAIN OUTAGE will be a constant thing. AS TIME goes on even heavy CLOUD cover will impact certain areas (depending on how the morons that keep the satellite “focused” on it boresite)…Dish will experience same in time.
CABLE uses C BAND for the most pat and it is ONLY affected by HEAVY SNOW buildup and the weight of the heavy snow NOT the sat signal.the heave snow will “pull” the aiming of SOME big sat dishes but most have ppl that sweep them b4 it gets too bad.
DUNCTV and DISH both are looooosing SO MANY customers that SOON they will have to “make a decision” LONG before the satellites die too.They NEED a “MINIMUM” sub level to “pay the bills”and THEY will never admit where that bottom is BUT they are getting CLOSER by the day to ..THE END.
IF you decide to”live in the hills” then you MAY give up certain TV signal access and btw mounting your dish on the roof or the ground will NOT help if the weather is heavy. You can sweep it all you like and if the RAIN is fairly intense you will NOT get reception in MOST areas. Add to that the morons a DUCHEBAGTV insisting on the monkey motion SWM technology and the complications that go with it and you can see the end in sight for “satellite” tv…Her is ONE “possible” fix for doucheTV…BIGGER DISH but then you have the monkey motion SWM technology to figure out…ya good luck with that average joe !!
Boy, dave, EXATERATE! i can count the times i’ve lost signal with rain on one hand in 25 yrs, those over 10 yrs ago, with the option to go to SD, it’s a non issue, Cable?? NEVAH!
Bitter about something? Thanks for the concise history of satellite TV. You ignored what the person said about living in a rural area and Cable TV or Streaming NOT being an option. I live in a modestly urban area and I can’t even get fiber internet. DSL (as far as I’m concerned) doesn’t cut it as viable for a streaming service. When you have 3-4 people in the home all watching different content — it doesn’t work. For the Directv customers switching to Directv Stream, the service is overpriced and the equipment clunky — when using the remote, the controls are sluggish and many Directv customers call to switch back to Directv satellite when they find out what they’ve signed up for. The 90 day DVR is a deal killer for me (your recordings auto delete after 90 days).
Back to the question of rain or snow blocking your satellite signal — I live in upper Michigan and have had NO problems with snow. Yes the signal may be blocked occasionally when there is heavy rain, but I’m willing to bet the down time I’ve had is far less than with internet streaming services with internet outages, power outages, network issues. Also, don’t forget — if there is a problem with your streaming service — YOU have to fix it. Maybe your internet service provider can help, but they won’t with whatever service you have. If your internet is up, but your streaming service isn’t, good luck.
I think experience varies
My directv satellite is more reliable than the docsis broadband i have…
Example Wed it rained , never lost directv docsis went out 5x
An added note to this:
You don’t need to mount your Dish on a roof. It can be mounted anywhere that you have a clear access to the satellite (southern view of the sky). I would suggest mounting where you can easily reach it to clear off any snow during a storm. We have ours mounted on our garage roof but right near a bathroom window where we can easily reach it with a broom to brush off any snow during a storm.
As far as rain, it needs to be a big storm usually with larger rain drops and usually happens just prior to the storm reaching you while it is in the upper atmosphere and unless it is a fairly significant storm usually does not last long.
A less obvious benefit of satellite television is that if you live in an area prone to major weather disasters where you sometimes lose power for days at a time, unlike your local cable service that will go down immediately and stay down until power is restored to the neighborhood, you can power your Dish or Directv equipment with a generator and watch the news. This is a major life saver when you’re trying to learn about when the power is coming back on, when the gas stations will start having fuel again, etc…
Justin, Exactly. During a storm a few years back we had neighbors over because while we all had generators we were the only house with TV as we had a direct connection to the sky as long as we had power. In a natural disaster or major emergency this can be a vital lifeline.
The only alternative is rabbit ears or a radio.
Was a DirecTV and also Dish subscriber since 1994, was first sub in state of texas/dallas, back when they started with a single 12transponder ku/12ghz sat. Only large thunderstorms nailed it. When DirecTV transitioned to Ka (18ghz) and hd things got a bit worse IF the installers didnt get the larger (24+” vrs original 18″ dish) locked in properly. Ku/18″ customers only needed a simple cheap signal meter but the Ka dish needed a $$$ meter and some skill to dial it in good, and in the early days the install techs sometimes didnt yet have the needed skills. So the result was some customers got more dropouts than they would have if the dish had been aligned correctly. Also, many markets had locals on a different orbit/sat (99 or 103 or even 119 deg rather than on the 101 main beam) so that made things even more complicated and tricky.
But the much higher output power (>200w) of the Ka sats vrs the older Ka and of course larger dish and better lnb made the link budget (recieve signal level at the recieve dish) at least equal if not better than the original Ku system; and better forward error correction of the Ka system didnt hurt.
I’ve lived with the Ku system in 6 places literally coast to coast in the US (florida to california over 9+ years) and the Ka/hd system in three on the west coast in the rainiest place in the country (Seattle) and the worst weather dropouts were back in Texas. But cable went out much more frequently. But this was analog days for cable; like many I finally gave up sattv in 2017 and went streaming. Despite my cableco being without a doubt the most hated provider in the country, I generally get one maybe two dropouts a year (10min max each) when they’re doing mainline cable work, and I’m currently way out in the sticks, only 100′ from the fiber headend on docsis3.1+.
But things are changing fast, tmobile just upgraded cell towers to band41 (2.5ghz midband) for home wireless internet in my area, I have many neighbors with Starlink, Verizon may get Cband for their home internet in the next year, and our public utility operator has county wide fiber builds on tap for the next couple of years. I lived in an area early 2000s where Verizon built Fios but they literally skipped my street in a deal with at&t cable in a non-compete deal. But this was way before streaming, and I had both Direct and Dish.
Maybe things will eventually get to competition. But when it comes to satellite, watch that installer close, make sure things are lined up right, and it will perform well.