XM vs. Sirius Satellite Radio: Which One is Better For You?
By Matt Barstow
You have probably heard of the two satellite radio companies, Sirius Radio and XM Satellite Radio, but you may not know a lot about them such as how much each costs or what radio talent is available on each. Many people are tired of listening to regular AM and FM radio stations for several reasons. It may be that they are tired of being bombarded with commercials. It may be that they do not like the programming available to them. On the other hand, it may simply be that they are in a rural area and tired of losing their radio signal all the time. Regardless of the reason, many consumers are turning to satellite radio as a viable alternative to regular radio stations.
Both companies are able to offer you static free radio due to satellites. XM (based in Washington D.C.) has two and Sirius (based in New York) has three satellites across the United States. Both companies offer users commercial free radio. Sirius offers over 125 channels and XM offers 160 different channels. There are dedicated channels for genres of music such as jazz, folk, country and pop for diehard fans. One cool feature of satellite radio is you can see the name of the artist playing as well as the song title. So never again do you have to spend time wondering just who sang that song you just heard! There are also channels for local weather and traffic, sports, comedy, women's issues, talk shows, even old time radio shows. Soon, you may be able to see video as well as hear audio on your satellite radios.
There are also celebrity shows for both satellite radio companies. Martha Stewart recently signed a deal to launch a 24-hour radio channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. And most everyone has heard that Howard Stern is on Sirius as well - uncensored. Having gotten in trouble with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for his radio talk show, he decided to jump to the uncensored airways of satellite radio. Since his show started, the Sirius subscriber base has increased by at least 2.7 million. If have satellite radio and want to hear National Public Radio (NPR), you will have to subscribe to Sirius as they are the only one offering NPR. But XM is not to be left behind by Sirius. XM signed Snoop Doggy Dog, but the big coop is Oprah. In September of 2006, XM users will be able to tune in to Oprah & Friends. The new channel will offer broadcasts of The Oprah Winfrey Show, O, the Oprah Magazine and programming on fitness, health and self improvement.
All this sounds great, but what do you actually need to be able to receive satellite radio? You will need either a Sirius or an XM radio. This does not necessarily have to be a radio only for use in your car either. There are also home radios available today and there are even radios you can use both at home and in your car. The price for a basic radio offered by both Sirius and XM is as low as $49.99. You will also need to subscribe to a service. Both Sirius and XM charge $12.95 a month for you to receive satellite signals on your radio. However, if you have several cars with satellite radios, you can save by choosing the family plan available from both companies.
Just how popular is satellite radio becoming? In March of 2005, Hyundai announced that it would be the first automaker to put satellite radios in all of its models sold in the United States. Each Hyundai, including the popular Sonata, Santa Fe, and Elantra models, will come equipped with an XM satellite radio. When this was announced, shares in XM's parent company rose by more than 8 percent. Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz also announced in March 2005 that Sirius radios would be a dealer-installed option on some of their models.
So which satellite radio should you choose? That depends on you. You should check out the stations available by visiting each company on the web before making a decision. Both offer radios at comparable prices, so it really comes down to what you want to hear. Are you a Stern fan? Then you have to go with Sirius. But if you love Oprah, you can only hear her on XM. Regardless of which one you choose, you will no doubt be very pleased with the services and reception of satellite radio.
About the Author
Matt Barstow offers valuable tips and information about satellite radio, players, and services. Read his latest report answering the most popular questions about satellite radio.
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