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Communications Satellite Failure Causes Local Directv Outage

TV Sets in Southern California Go Dark; Size of Outage is Uncertain.


March 13, 2017

The failure of a satellite caused a widespread outage for DirecTV customers at about 9:10 pm PST on Wednesday night, March 8, 2017.

If your TV set is not working, it may not be because you forgot to pay the bill this time. Apparently the communications satellite upon which local Direct TV depends, hit a snag in space. It is not known how widespread the outage is at this time, but it has affected my set in Los Angeles.

The failure of a satellite caused an outage for DirecTV customers in LA, at about 9:10 pm PST on Wednesday night, March 8, 2017. The company is probably aware of the problem and working to resolve it. No one returned The Observer's request for comment.

All programming distributed by DirecTV is delivered to its broadcast centers in Castle Rock, Colorado, and Los Angeles, where it is then digitized and compressed. The resulting signal is encrypted by DirecTV to prevent its unauthorized reception. DirecTV then transmits these signals to several satellites located in geostationary orbit.

DirecTV (stylized as DIRECTV) is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster based in El Segundo, California. As of July 2015, it is a subsidiary of AT&T. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Its primary competitors are Dish Network and cable television providers. After receiving approval from the United States Federal Communications Commission and United States Department of Justice, AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV in a transaction valued at $48.5 billion was completed on July 24, 2015.

It is uncertain how wide the outage is.

DirecTV provides television and audio services to subscribers through satellite transmissions. Services include the equivalent of many local television stations, broadcast television networks, subscription television services, satellite radio services, and private video services. Subscribers have access to hundreds of channels, so its competitors are cable television service and other satellite-based services.

Most subscribers use reception antennas which are much smaller than the first generation antennas, which were typically a few yards (meters) across. Advances in antenna technology, including fractal antennas, have allowed a general reduction in antenna size across all industries and applications. Receiving equipment includes a satellite dish, an integrated receiver/decoder and a DirecTV access card, which is necessary to operate the receiver/decoder.


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