Twice a year, in the spring and fall, all cable companies experience brief channel outages due to something called Sun Fade, also sometimes referred to as Sun Transit or Sun Outage. During this time TV customers worldwide are affected and frustrated but there is nothing actually wrong with your TV set or cable service. Channels may go dark, pixelate, or freeze for 10 minutes at a time thanks to sun fade.
The interruptions are caused by solar radiation overwhelming satellite signals. During the March and September equinoxes, the path of the sun lines up directly between the ground and space satellites. The solar radiation in this line-up causes the black screen which makes you want to crush your remote and pull your hair out. On the bright side, these issues resolve on their own when the sun moves and shouldn’t last for more than ten minutes. For a great visual explanation of sun fade watch this clip on youtube: Sun Fade Video.
Unfortunately, because we can’t control the movement of the sun, there is nothing we can do about these twice-yearly solar shenanigans. We hope to see these issues decrease as television affiliates transition to more of an internet versus satellite base. Until then, just be thankful you don’t live in Alaska where their single-satellite links mean sun fade interruptions are lengthier and far more service affecting, so much so that outage times are posted in local papers.
If you experience channel loss for more than ten minutes this could indicate a larger issue outside of sun fade and we definitely want to hear from you to help you find a resolution. Our support team is happy to help you over the phone, via facebook, twitter, or live chat on our website.