Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2013) -
Editor's Note: TV's
Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to
best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If
you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by
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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,
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.
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 outrage 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