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Can TV Signals Be Blocked?

Can TV Signals Be Blocked?

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Are you having poor TV reception issues? Or maybe you’ve come across the ‘no signal’ message flashed on your TV screen. For other TV models, pixelated color blocks can even appear.

If you’ve experienced these things, there’s no need to panic!

Yes, TV signals can be blocked and there can be many possible causes for this issue. It could be because of obstructions, wrong TV settings, or even external-uncontrollable factors like rainy weather.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the different causes of poor TV reception or blocked TV signals and what you can do to address them. 

What Can Cause a Weak or Blocked TV Signal?

There are tons of reasons why a TV may have a weak or blocked signal. Below are some of the most common ones: 

  • The set-top box isn’t powered on
  • Wrong input source
  • Poor coverage area
  • Bad weather
  • Unavailable service
  • Physical obstructions (trees, buildings, etc.)

Now, let’s go through each one. 

The TV box isn’t powered on

TV box not turning on

Check if your TV box, like your Apple TV or your Roku, is powered on. A lot of times, a ‘no signal’ issue can be easily remedied with the simple push of a button. 

So make sure your TV box is on and plugged into your TV’s correct source input (usually an HDMI).

Wrong input source

TVs have different input sources. Notice how you can switch from your streaming box back to cable. Your streaming box and cable service are both sources and are usually connected to your smart TV through the HDMI ports. 

Your TV might not display a signal when you’re in the wrong input source. 

This scenario usually happens when your streaming box is off or not connected to the TV. Another reason could be that your cable is out. 

You can set your TV to the correct input by using your TV’s remote control and pressing the ‘SOURCE’ or ‘INPUT’ button.

Poor coverage area

House on the hill

Geographic issues can also cause poor TV reception. If you live somewhere hilly or high up in the mountains, your TV may have trouble receiving signals transmitted from your cable service provider.

Bad weather

Heavy rain, snow, or hail can dampen signals traveling in the atmosphere. Thus, when you’re experiencing bad weather, the picture on your TV screen can sometimes go haywire.

There’s really not much you can do about rain fade but wait it out. 

Unavailable service

You will occasionally run across maintenance patches or technical issues from your cable or satellite service provider. If this happens, it’s best to contact them immediately. 

Physical obstructions

House next to tall tree

Much like bad weather, tall structures like trees or buildings can jam TV signals. Televisions that receive signals from satellite dishes or antennas both have a line of sight. 

When that line of sight is obstructed, usually by tall structures, it can impede signal travel. The result? A pixelated, laggy TV viewing experience. 

If you have tall trees that are interfering with your TV signal, you have two ways to get around it. 

The first is to move your satellite dish or antenna to a location where it can get a better signal. The second is to prune your tree or cut it down altogether.

How Signals Reach a TV

With all this talk of signal interruption and blocking, you might be wondering, how does a TV even receive signals in the first place?

Signal waves reach a TV through four main ways: cable, satellite, terrestrial, and IPTV or internet. 

Cable TV

A man checking cable on TV

Before the dawn of streaming services like Netflix, cable TVs were one of our primary sources of entertainment. 

Cable TV is a subscription service that birthed popular entertainment channels such as HBO, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and FOX Movies, to name a few.

Ironically, cable TV content flows through satellites up in space. These signals from space are then processed by an earthbound broadcast center, which are then relayed through fiber optic cables connected to our homes. 

Cable TV is near obsolete now due to the rise of cheaper and more convenient alternatives like streaming services.

Satellite TV

A satellite TV also uses a subscription service. If using one, you probably have DirecTV or DISH as your satellite TV provider. 

Satellite dish on the roof

In a nutshell, how do satellite TVs work?

Satellites in space send a feed to satellite dishes in our homes. Our dishes will pick up the signals, transmit them to a receiver, and finally to our TV screens.

One big advantage satellite TVs have over cable is their larger line of sight. 

Satellites are propped way higher than earthbound cable broadcast centers, meaning trees and buildings aren’t a threat to signals. However, satellites are much more sensitive to harsh weather. 

Terrestrial TV

Terrestrial TV, or Broadcast TV, is an older type of television signal delivery method. Unlike cables and satellites, you don’t need to pay a subscription for broadcast TV. 

Also called OTA (Over the Air) TV, terrestrial TVs receive and transmit signals from an earthbound broadcast center. 

There are no satellites involved in the process. Our antennas at home pick up these signals and are then translated by our TV receivers. 

Terrestrial Attenna on the roof

Internet TV

Internet TV is simply audiovisual content delivered via the internet. This is where streaming services like Netflix and Hulu come in. 

Watching content through websites is essentially still considered an internet TV broadcast. 

featured apps showing on smart TV screen

By far, internet TV is the cheapest and most convenient broadcast option available. Smart TVs are now adapting fast to internet TV, and it will only be a matter of time before it engulfs all the other TV broadcasting methods.

Should You Block Your Neighbor’s Satellite TV Signal?

Neighborhood using satellite

Blocking your neighbor’s TV signal is harassment and is therefore considered illegal. 

If you suspect that your neighbors are purposely trying to sabotage your TV viewing experience, it’s best to talk it out with them or directly report the situation to authorities if things get out of hand. 

But keep in mind that a neighbor causing TV interference is just one of the many reasons you may be getting a weak TV reception.

For example, a newly-installed solar panel system of your neighbors may be causing your dodgy TV signal. But it may be your streetlights as well, or even your own Wi-Fi signal. 

There are tons of causes for weak TV signals, so it’s best to protect yours by taking the necessary precautions and steps for having a stable TV connection. 

Wrap Up

TV signals go through a lot before they reach our homes. This makes them more susceptible to interruption and blocking, and that can be annoying! 

But with the rise of internet TV, a weak or blocked signal can usually be solved through a simple press of a button or even by simply adjusting cable connections. 

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