Most people have heard of satellite radio by now. This is the radio that has stations that do not fade in and out as with your regular radio because the signals are sent by satellite. It is great for people who live in remote areas and cannot get signals well. People who travel frequently and wish to take their favorite stations with them as they travel favor satellite radio. Add to that the fact that broadcasting is commercial free and many personalities are exclusively featured on satellite radio and you can see why satellite radio has become so popular over the last couple of years.
There are two satellite radio companies: Sirius Radio and XM Satellite. Sirius has a total of three SS/L-1300 satellites that form a constellation. XM has “rock” and “roll” – two Boeing HS 702 satellites. Both companies have a spare satellite on the ground in case one of the others fails. Sirius offers customers 125 different channels while XM offers 160. There are channels dedicated to specific genres of music such as jazz, country, folk. There are also channels for weather, sports, traffic, comedy, talk shows, old time radio shows, and women’s issues. Satellite radio has become so popular that Hyundai just announced that they would be putting XM satellite radios in all the models they sold in the U.S. Sirius can be found as a dealer-installed option in many Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz models.
What do you need to be able to get satellite radio stations? First, you will need to buy a satellite radio. Some are built specifically for the car, some for the home, and some can be used between the two. The basic model for each company is $50, although models that are more complex are available for a higher price. Once you get the radio, you will need to choose a satellite provider. Both Sirius and XM charge $12.95 a month for their services.
If the radios and the subscription cost is the same price, how do you choose between XM and Sirius? One of the big draws of satellite radio is the on-air personalities. If you miss hearing Howard Stern on the radio, you will need to subscribe to Sirius, where he is now broadcasting – uncensored! Once Howard started broadcasting on Sirius, their subscriber base jumped by almost 3 million. National Public Radio (NPR) is only offered on Sirius. But, XM has big names too. They will soon be broadcasting a new channel called “Oprah and Friends” which will feature broadcasts of her show, her O magazine and other programming on health and wellness. XM also just signed Snoop Doggy Dog.
Before you choose, visit each company’s web site (links are listed below) to see exactly what they have to offer. No matter which company you choose to subscribe with, you should find yourself pleasantly surprised with the service and reception of satellite radio.