Do Power Lines Affect an HDTV Signal?

By Andy Warycka

While not common, power lines can sometimes interfere with HDTV signals.
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Your HDTV won’t work without power lines carrying electricity to your home, but it’s possible the electromagnetic radiation from those very same power lines could have a small effect on your HDTV's signal reception, depending on how the signal gets to your TV. Cable tends to be immune, while over-the-air and satellite signals may be susceptible to interference.

Signal Sources and Interference

If you get HDTV programming exclusively through a cable TV service, the chance of receiving interference from nearby power lines is very small. The coaxial cable that carries the signal has layers of braided wire and foil shielding that reject outside interference. Over-the-air and satellite services receive signals by an antenna or dish, which can allow for interference.

Power Line Effects

Regular residential power lines may effect HDTV signals if they are poorly grounded against static discharge. Additionally, power lines made of metal can reflect or distort an over-the-air signal slightly before it reaches your antenna or dish. It is possible for high-voltage distribution lines to cause some picture breakup or distortion if they run directly over your antenna or satellite dish.

Safety Concerns

Never place a TV antenna or satellite dish where it can come into direct contact with power lines. There is an electrocution hazard during installation and electricity could be sent into your house if the lines were to fall on your dish or antenna.