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Sirius Satellite Radio Review



Whew! I was assigned the task of installing a SIRIUS Satellite Radio receiver in my car and then writing a 1,000 word review. Since writing has never been my thing, I approached the assignment with a bit of skepticism, but considering that I was being paid and was receiving a free satellite radio receiver, I gritted my teeth, whipped out the trusty laptop, and then stared blankly at the computer screen while I tried to find the words to describe my two week experience with Sirius satellite radio. It became clear early on that it was going to be a long night.

Satellite radio is a relatively new technology when you compare established industry standards and audio technology. Tower-based radio has been around for over 100 years, and though the speakers, amplifiers, sound boards, and microphones have change, the simple act of turning on your radio has not. It’s everything that is American, Canadian, or any other country that has a radio. It’s the embodiment of free speech, commercialism, and consumerism. Before there was television, there was radio, and I can think of no other traveling companion that is as excited to tell me about the traffic as it is to play the latest top 40 hit list. Satellite radio has some mighty big shoes to fill.

The idea behind SIRIUS Satellite Radio is that any one of its three elliptically-orbiting satellites will be in orbit over the continental US and Canada, meaning that the reception is constantly clear and uninterrupted. This is very important for Sirius customers, as along with having to purchase a Sirius satellite radio receiver, customers are also required to pay a monthly premium that varies based on the plan that they’ve chosen. It appears that Sirius has all the bases covered.

About Sirius as a Company

Sirius is a relatively new contender in the satellite radio market, and Sirius now maintains three satellites in orbit, with one on the ground ready to be launched in the event that one of the other three fails. The last of its three satellites went into orbit on November 30, 2000, and the service has experienced little downtime in the last 7 years.

Sirius is quite, well, serious when it comes to their entrant in the satellite radio market. They are aggressively promoting their brand, and many new vehicles are actually being sold with Sirius brand satellite receivers already installed- the customer simply needs to activate their satellite radio plan and they’re good to go. Sirius also has a myriad of receivers that are available as additional equipment that can be installed into nearly any car, as well as an entire series of products that were designed for the home.

It appears as if Sirius’ marketing has been paying off, as the company generates millions of dollars in revenue each year, and none of that comes from commercials (Sirius is proud to offer commercial free listening). The company is rapidly expanding and innovating, and it remains a market leader in North America. In reality, North Americans really only have two choices when they are deciding on satellite radio: Sirius, or XM. Both XM and Sirius offer competitive pricing and excellent coverage, so it will be interesting to see which company ousts the other one in the long term.

Pricing

This is what’s really important, right? What most people consider when they are buying any type of electric device is the bottom line: the final cost. What does serious set you back if you’ve decided to climb on board the Sirius bandwagon?

The cost of the receiver – If your vehicle didn’t come equipped with one, you will have to purchase and then install a Sirius satellite receiver. If you are comfortable installing it yourself, you will have some money. Otherwise, expect the receiver to set you back around $200 and the installation to be another $50-$100.

Monthly access fee – Sirius charges around $0.50 a day for their most popular plan, which is actually quite competitive when you consider the overall value of the service that they’re providing. For around $15 a month you get access to dozens of music channels that are commercial free and have great reception 99.9% of the time.

Usage Impression

Driving with the Sirius receiver tuned to a good rock and roll station, listening to a series of radio stations that are crystal clear was a nice and refreshing change from the usual garble that comes through the airwaves. Since I spend a good portion of my time downtown (where radio reception seems to be the worst) satellite radio is a good way to get the clear sound that I want without having to move to the suburbs.

I found that there is a good variety of radio stations that are offered, and it was neat to actually go visit Toronto, Canada and listen to the same radio station as when I left New York City! It was a very cool “home away from home” feeling every time I got into my car and went for a drive while I was up in Canada, and listening to the eclectic mix of light rock and syn th guitar always seemed to relax me. Of course, that’s not all of what’s offered with Sirius satellite radio, though it was the majority of what I found interest in.

I skimmed through the channels and found country, electronica, hip hop, rap, R and B, rock and roll, comedy, talk shows, and even local radio stations that had gone interstellar. And, as always, each one of them came in loud and clear.

Overall

Having the song information download when the song starts is a nice touch, and I must say that I am really impressed with the service that I’ve received from Sirius so far. The no hassle approach to radio is greatly appreciated, and it is well worth the cost of admission. Anyone who is looking for better radio for their car or home should seriously consider Sirius satellite radio. Oh look, 1010 words- that wasn’t so bad.

You can subscribe to
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Here

5 Responses to “Sirius Satellite Radio Review”
Men’s Gifts Blog Carnival « The Mens Gift Guide - September 14th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

[…] Fleming presents Sirius Satellite Radio Review – Satellite TV Guru posted at Satellite TV Guru, saying, “Satellite TV Guru reviews Sirius Satellite Radio – a […]

Carnival of Wheels: Edition #37 | The Garage - September 16th, 2007 at 2:29 pm

[…] at Satellite TV Guru, Kevin Fleming was handed the task of installing a Sirius satellite radio and writing about his impressions. it sounds like he came away impressed with the overall quality […]

Chris - October 3rd, 2007 at 3:26 am

I don’t see what satellite radio this guy was using; I think Sirius is a waste of money. I have had Sirius for five months now and it is just not as good as I thought it would be. First off I have the Stiletto 100 I got it with a car and home adapter for $300. I wanted the Stiletto for its portability. Sirius claims you can use this thing as a walkman; and walk around without any wires. They were wrong you can’t get signal at all it has to be on the car or home adapter. If I had know it got such bad signal I would have got a cheaper none portable model. Now for the actual service I will tell you that they have a good list of channels you can always find something on. The crappy part is that Sirius says they are “100% commercial free music”. That was a bunch of false advertisement. The true thing is that after about every song give or take a few you get a DJ talking about some other channel or some big event that is happening or they just plain like to talk. For example I like to listen to channel 60 which is country music and the DJs like to talk about the NASCAR channel. If I wanted to listen to NASCAR I would have gone to that channel. Another state the quality is not very good either. I use this thing in my car most of the time and I have an expensive after market stereo in my car it is connected directly to the stereo. It is not using the built in FM transmitter. It is not CD quality sound for sure. The local FM radio stations that come in really clear have better sound quality then this crap. The quality is kind of like the low quality internet radio stations. You would think that since you are paying a monthly fee for the service they could give you better sound quality with no commercials. If I had known all this I would not have gotten this radio I would have just stuck with my book of CDs. After my subscription it up I will not renew it.

new guy - June 6th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

I agree, sound quality is not good for the music part, not as good as good fm station and I am not an audiofile, I can just tell, sounds like coming from a cheap unit, been trying to find out why.

Rob Delisa - January 9th, 2009 at 4:30 pm

When you can’t even listen to a nationally broadcast football game, XM/Sirius has a long ways to go, in my opinion.

ON a recent road trip, I was desperate to catch a Big-12 football game. Instead, the Big-12 radio station was filled with advertising and preview HYPE. I was so ticked I’ll never pay for Satallite Radio again, until it gives me every single station, TV, RADIO, ETC>.

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