Television viewers were in for a disappointment as screens displaying programs momentarily went blank on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. These disruptions will continue for two more weeks due to sun outage, a natural phenomenon which occurs twice a year.

A sun outage takes place when the sun, the satellite and the receiving signal fall in one line, disrupting satellite signals. It leads to drop in signal quality and broadcasts, and can turn screens blank up to 15 minutes. On Wednesday, the outage lasted for six minutes and two minutes on Thursday.

Atif Hussain, a representative of DTH service provider Tata Sky, said Wednesday’s outage was the first one this year. “The display sets pixelate or turn blurry, after which the screens go blank. These interruptions usually take place in late February till the middle of March, and then again in September and October when the sun is at its peak. Disruptions will be recorded till March 23,” he said.

Usually, 20 channels are affected at a time, but the number depends on the categorization of channels as per zones, location and the positioning of the satellite.

Tata Sky displayed an automated message informing viewers of the phenomenon, and that the issue would be resolved soon. “We cannot do anything about it since it is a natural phenomenon. We have to wait till the sun moves away from the signal’s path for normal television viewing to resume,” Hussain said.

A representative of Balaji Cable Network said they received complaint calls from their subscribers who did not know what was wrong. – The Hindu