'Sun Outages' and Solar Interference

James_M Posts: 4,777 ✅ Verified Employee Moderator

Each year during September/October and again in February/March, Solar Interference causes the degradation or loss of satellite signals for short periods of time, up to 15 minutes each day, for 7-10 days. This year, the impacted dates include 3/1/24 - 3/13/24.

During this time, there may be brief interruptions on a number of channels due to the alignment of the sun and satellites. The effects may be seen on most channels and will occur during various times of the day. 

If you experience any TV disruption, wait for at least 15 minutes to see if it resolves. You do not need to contact customer care regarding these intermittent outages. 

Solar interference is an inherent part of satellite operations – and is not an outage caused by any issues with our cable plant.

The arc of the sun crosses the earth’s equator, and traces a line that places it directly behind the satellites from which we download much of our video programming. This causes a phenomenon known as a solar transit fade, or sun outage. The exact date, time and duration of such disruptions depends on the receiver site location, the satellite in question, the size of the receiving dish, and how accurately the dish points at the satellite.

Unlike satellite TV customers, whose service can be disrupted unpredictably throughout the year by rain, snow, or other inclement weather, Spectrum TV customers only face these sun outages for brief, predictable periods during autumn and spring.

As the sun's path across the sky gets lower each day, there are times when it is in direct line behind a communication satellite that sends programming signals to a receiving satellite dish on Earth (“earth station”). When the earth station's satellite dish is facing the sun, the interference from the sun overpowers the signal from the communications satellite, causing a sun outage. 

Outages occur at different times on different channels due to the variety of satellites from which Charter receives signals. The effects are seen on a variety of channels and occur at various times of the day.

During a sun outage, TV customers may experience pixilation, picture freezes, or audio distortions for a brief period of time. Sun outages do not affect Spectrum Internet, Voice or Video On Demand (VOD); however, programs being recorded during sun outages may be affected. Sun outages only occur during daylight hours (no sun, no interference), and depending on the size of the satellite dish, may last anywhere from five to 15 minutes, as the sun moves across the horizon. If any group of channels is affected for more than 15 minutes at a time, or all channels are affected at once, there may be an issue unrelated to sun outages.  

Our ability to support our customers no matter what type of outage they may be experiencing is just one of the many ways we work to consistently meet the needs of our growing customer base. 

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