I just started using TiVo about 3 years ago or so. But within a month, I couldn’t imagine ever having a television without DVR again. A couple of months ago, I got Sirius because I commute on weekends. Guess what? I can’t imagine not having it. This is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I didn’t listen to normal radio much before I had Sirius. It’s mostly crap. But Sirius actually plays songs that were never released as singles. It’s uncensored (mostly) and (again mostly) commercial free. It has most styles of music available and lots of news and talk radio. It even has classic shows, like the Shadow and Superman from back in the day.
I know a lot of you have satellite radio now, but I just have to gush about how great it is for those who don’t have it. GET IT NOW! It doesn’t matter if you get XM or Sirius (though if you like pro football, get Sirius). Some people are hesitant to pay for radio. I get that. But if you listen to music and/or talk radio a lot, it is absolutely worth it.
I have had sat radio for over 3 years now. I started with XM then made the switch to Sirius a little over a year ago and could not be happier. Sat radio is all about choices and both providers give you that.
I really cant imagine not having it. I sometimes commute with a few people that listen to “normal” radio and it makes me want to shove a stick in my ear. I’d also like to point out that the cost of entry is actually pretty low as you can get a starter receiver for about 30 bucks.
XM isn’t owned by Clear Channel. At least, not wholly (and in all likelihood, not even a large chunk).
Clear Channel’s finger in the XM pie is set to end in 2008 (when they either give back stock or pay cash and keep the stock). Either way, their content control will end (which means the commercial-added music channels will go away).
Either way, my love of MLB is far greater than my dislike for Clear Channel (or GM, for that matter). Which is why I ended up with a MyFi/XM.
If absolutely all you care about is music, and you own a lot of it, and iPod (or equivalent) is probably the way to go. If you like any of the non-music content (sports, Stern/Talk Radio…), or like a much wider variety of music than you own (to the point where buying all the music + player would be too costly), then satellite radio has value (but then, so does a subscription music service + player).
Yeah, but a “lifetime subscription” only applies to the lifetime of the ONE RADIO it’s attached to. If that radio breaks, you’re SOL unless you pay a “transfer fee” of ~$70+, IIRC, to switch that lifetime account to another receiver. You can only do this a few times though.
XM hasn’t, but I pay yearly instead of monthly (cheaper. Capped at a $9.99/mo equivalent for 3 year or longer “contracts”).
Sirius has a $500 “for life” plan, which you can transfer to a new/upgraded radio 3 times (at $75 a pop). The transfer deal ends at the end of Jan. 2007 (which means that after that, the “for life” plan is tied to a single radio).
I switched over to Sirius because of the “Stern Effect” and am incredibly happy that I did. I use the S50, which gives me the ability to press “record” at any time during a song to save it. Once saved, I can play it back whenever I like and take it with me as a portable “iPod Nano” like device. It even supports playlists and sorting by various criteria.
The service itself is well worth it though. Last holiday season, I drove from NYC to Florida and was entertained non-stop for the duration of the trip.
My MyFi does a similar thing (though just straight playback). The newer XM models (Inno & Helix) do MP3 storage and playback, as well as the S50 features K0NY describes (which basically means that programming ends up the only real choice to be made, as the recievers are basically equivalent).
You nailed it. I believe that iPod solutions built into your vehicle at the factory will be the norm for music listening for the people who aren’t satisfied with FM radio. Sirius, and XM, are dead in the water with their monthly subscriptions unless they realize that it’s their exclusive, time-sensitive content that is of value.
If XM or Sirius offered a music-free, only sports, talk, news and traffic (and maybe some of those old-time radio plays, or new ones!) subscription, that would be a winner in my book, and a great compliment to the iPod. If the price was cheaper than the current packages that include music, of course. I could see myself spending up to $5.99 / month on something like that. Yeah, I could easily see myself shelling out $5.99 for Howard Stern, CNBC, and the NFL on Sirius.
I’m not sure how you’re listening to your receiver in the car, but if you use the audio-output jack instead of the FM communications, you’ll increase your sound quality ten-fold. The only time I have lack of audio quality now is when I’m hearing some pretty bad distortion any way (like, going under a large overpass or through a tunnel, etc).
I think they’re far from “dead in the water”. The vast majority of people aren’t the type that notice a difference in music quality between normal FM, XM, and CD/iPod (notice how they crow about “digital quality”). Also, people who aren’t focused on their personal libraries (who are better off with iPods anyway) are probably interested in the much better channel focus of an XM/Sirius than the FM options. I much prefer being able to say “I want to listen to 80s. Hey, what’s on the Soundtracks channel? I’ve got my daughter in the back seat, I should flip to the ‘Current Pop Hits’ and grind my teeth.”
Also, they tend to market as music sans commercials first, and non-music second (although this may be less true with Sirius & Stern/NFL than XM, XM did a lot of MLB specific advertising).
Looking at a graph of subscribers vs. time would seem to indicate dead in the water is probably not a concern.
I also think that the “Notifications” feature of most receivers is of great value. I love being able to tag Rush, Midnight Oil, REM, Tears for Fears… and get a beep when one of them is playing in order to switch over. I’ll never be able to do that with the radio.
I don’t listen to much music on my XM. It’s baseball & related talk first, then comedy, then music. But I’d almost certainly pay the extra few $$/month to have access to the music and the notifications than not.
It’s a 2005 vehicle with XM built in. A co-worker has a 2006 vehicle with XM built in as well, so it’s not just my car. I’ve also had a vehicle with Sirius being used over an FM receiver.
The only time I have lack of audio quality now is when I’m hearing some pretty bad distortion any way (like, going under a large overpass or through a tunnel, etc).
Music channels are given approximately 64 kbps per channel. While compression technology is an amazing thing, it does not work miracles. Given the bandwidth the music is fantastic - it sounds on par with a 96 kbps mp3. That said, I don’t torture my ears listening to music that sounds like a 96 kbps mp3.
I can’t tell the difference, to be honest. If you are a hardcore audiophile, maybe you can. I don’t go through FM though. I get the straight signal, which is compressed, but sounds a lot better. I don’t have a great sound system in my car anyway and never have. I just use the stock speakers, etc. The music sounds fine to me. The main thing, as noted above, is the choice. I’ve heard songs I NEVER would have looked for, partly because I had never heard of them.
For example, some band did a remake of Faith No More’s Zombie Eaters. It’s pretty good, but I wouldn’t know about it without Sirius. There are lots of cases of that (e.g. while people mentioned Opeth here on the boards, I didn’t really hear their songs until Sirius). It really is like radio used to be. You get to learn about new music, not just listen to the same favorites.
I borrowed my friends Sirius radio for a weekend a while back, and I loved it.
I plan on getting a Sirius sometime soon, but my main problem is that I really only liked one station. I really liked it, but I have a hard time spending $12.99 a month for one station when my daily commute is only 5 minutes. As for XM, I couldn’t even find one station I liked, just a handful that were ‘okay’. XM feels like an extension of corporate radio to me, whereas Sirius seems to have more off beat channels (as well as their ‘corporate radio’ sounding channels).
I dunno, since my commute is so short, maybe the new s100 Stiletto would be better. But, spending more money doesn’t make me stomach the subscription fee any better :p
I may be moving soon, though. And I have a feeling the instant my commute is longer then 5 minutes I will pick up some Sirius receiver.
I would say that it’s like the difference between SDTV and HDTV. People who have never seen HDTV before don’t really understand the difference or how much better it could be than SDTV. Some of them almost need a side-by-side comparison to tell the difference, even though to others it’s blatantly obvious. And if you own a SDTV and are watching an SDTV signal then it seems fine.
When you’ve experienced HD though, it makes the SD look sad. And when you have a system that does HD, the lack of resolution of the SD signal becomes blatant and horrible.
I don’t think it takes a hardcore audiophile to tell the difference here though. I’m no where near hardcore, and to me the difference between a CD and XM is the difference between using a computer with a 32-bit color depth over a computer with a 16-bit color depth. That’d be passable to get news or read a forum etc., but watching a movie under those circumstances would be atrocious.