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Some TVs went snowy white

Buildup on signal dishes had customers complaining of outages. Officials said moisture in the air also can be a problem.

By Andy Vuong
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated:10/27/2006 12:32:20 AM MDT


(Post / Craig F. Walker )

Thursday's snowstorm knocked out satellite-TV service for some Colorado residents and businesses, including the John Elway Subaru South car dealership on Arapahoe Road in Centennial.

The dealership had problems with its Dish Network service all day, receptionist Teresa Richardson said.

"We just had a black screen," Richardson said. "You love satellite, don't ya? They promise that the service won't be interrupted because of the weather. But every time it rains or snows, we always lose it."

Francie Bauer, a spokeswoman for Dish operator EchoStar Communications, said the company couldn't disclose how many subscribers were affected by the storm.

Bauer added that outages typically last for only seconds or minutes and "if service isn't restored within a few minutes, subscribers can try brushing snow off their dishes, so long as they're mounted in a place that is easily accessible."

Douglas County-based Echo Star has roughly 12.5 million Dish subscribers nationwide. Industry leader DirecTV, based in El Segundo, Calif., has 15 million subscribers. The companies don't break out their figures by state.

DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said no outages were reported to the company and its broadcast center in Castle Rock didn't have any uplink problems.

The storm is "not the worst they've seen by a long shot," Mercer said.

Experts said there are two main causes for weather-related service interruption: heavy snow build-up on the satellite dish or "rain fade," which is the weakening of a satellite signal as it passes through moisture in the air.

Doug Bazata of Dish reseller Prolink Communications in Denver said he received a "typical" amount of calls from customers complaining about outages on Thursday, but wouldn't provide an exact number.

Consumers can purchase a variety of products, such as heaters and covers, to prevent snow build-up on their dishes.

Heaters can cost upwards of $100 to $200 depending on the size of the dish. A "Rain Shield" product that sprays chemicals on the dish to prevent snow and water build-up costs $25.99.

A can of Pam cooking oil spray can also do the job, said Brandon Angel, owner of Florence-based satellite reseller A & A Satellite.

"They can coat their dish with a little bit of Pam cooking spray and the big heavy snow will slide right off it," Angel said.

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( Source: http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_4557163 )
 

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Does the local Cable Company have stock in the paper? It's the kind of story that will keep them from loosing customers to Satellite
 
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