Does Weather Affect TV Reception?

By James Wright ; Updated September 15, 2017
Wireless communication is more vulnerable to weather disruption.

The quick developments of technology have led people away from the days of televisions with just a few channels that suffer from intermittent reception. Cable, satellite and a number of other types of television are now on the market, letting users choose from thousands of channels from a variety of providers. However, as advanced as technology may become, television reception still occasionally suffers from the effects of fickle weather conditions.

Why Weather Affects Television

Many cables run below ground, meaning that they aren't as susceptible to the effects of weather. However, satellite communication makes up a large part of how signals of various kinds are transmitted. Various weather conditions, such as heavy cloud cover, rain and even lightning, adversely affect the ability for devices to pick up signals. The level of difficulty may vary according to the frequency the signal is using and the distance between the point of origin and reception points. For example, the farther away you are from a signal's broadcast point, the more trouble you may have trying to pick it up.

Most Susceptible

Any technology that uses wireless communication will be the most open to experiencing trouble caused by weather. If you use an antenna, you may get the most trouble when storms hit because of the disruption of frequencies. If you use a dish, it will probably be sensitive to heavy cloud cover -- or even less -- because the satellite doesn't often produce enough power to boost the signal smoothly through many obstacles.

Least Susceptible

Providers that run their signals through cables will see the least amount of weather-related trouble. Clouds and rain may touch the cables, but do not actually disrupt them. However, if a cable is damaged in any way at any point between your television and the broadcast point, the signal may be cut off completely.

Best TV

Weather should be factor in deciding what type of television service -- cable, satellite -- you use if you have the options available. Each type has its pros and cons, so there is no "best" service; however, it's a good idea to research before you buy or change services. Look at ratings for your provider in your area and look to see if there are any common issues. Some of this information may also provide you with the best option for your home.

Tips

If you experience too much trouble, even when the weather isn't severe, check your hardware. Make sure everything is plugged in securely, and that everything outside is properly sealed. Proper installation is very important, and if any internal components are exposed it may cause trouble no matter what the weather is like. Before performing any maintenance, make sure that anything you do won't void any warranties; when in doubt, contact your provider.

About the Author

Based in California, James Wright has been writing since 1998. Wright's articles have been published on various websites with a focus on technical fields such as computers and the Internet, and were also featured in a now-retired publication for an online artistic community. Wright studied English, journalism, politics and psychology at Riverside Community College.