The advantages of satellite radio One of the great advantages of satellite radio is the fact that the programs are not interrupted by commercials. This is because the provider’s income comes from listeners and not from advertisers. Satellite radio services offer around 70 programs of commercial fee music channels each and you have a great variety of choices, from mainstream rock, hip-hop and dance music to folk music, opera, blues and many more. Another great thing about satellite radio is the absence of static. You can be driving from the West Coast to the East Coast in the United States of America and you will not get any static at all on the way. The satellite radio signal is digital, which means that you will get crystal-clear sound wherever you go. Satellite radio tuners receive, along with the actual radio programs, an influx of metadata that consists of information regarding song title, artist, radio program and radio channel. This means that your satellite radio receiver will display all the necessary information about what you are listening to. For instance, if you hear a great song and you want to know which artist sings it, you just look at the receiver‘s display. All satellite radio programs are uncensored. This is one of the reasons why artists like Howard Stern chose to move their shows on satellite radio. You can also listen to your favorite hip-hop songs without the interruption of those annoying ‘beep’ sounds. Satellite radio programs also offer information about local traffic and weather conditions. The information is very detailed especially for those who live in big cities. If there is a major national calamity and other terrestrial radio stations will not work, you can always count on getting accurate information from satellite radio program. You can also listen to satellite radio online on your computer. If you still are not convinced on why you should pay money for something that you can get for free, think about how much time you have wasted listening to commercials and all kinds of other boring stuff on terrestrial radio programs. Traditional radio is not free, despite the popular belief. It is time-consuming and irritating because you have to listen to five minutes or more of commercials so that you can finally hear a song you like. The satellite radio subscriptions are very affordable and, for around 13 dollars per month, you get exactly the programs you want, which you can listen to wherever you are, at the best sound quality. Satellite radio is great for you especially if you travel a lot. If you are traveling across the United States of America, for example, you can listen to the channel or channels you want during your whole trip, without losing signal or getting static. If you have a traditional radio, you will have to keep changing channels every hundred miles, but if you are using satellite radio you do not have to do that because the geographically availability of programs is not a problem. Satellite radio subscribers will soon get the chance to watch video programs as well. Both Sirius and XM services have announced their intention of introducing in the near future a variety of video satellite channels that will have some of the great advantages that are currently available to satellite radio: commercial free programs, great quality of sound and vast geographical availability. (word count 564)
Canadian satellite radio While the United States initiated the satellite radio evolution, Canada is now hot on their trails. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) began hearings in 2004 for applicants ready to develop Canada’s first satellite radio broadcasting. The Canadian satellite radio industry received quite a lot of interest and in the end three main applications were filed: XM filed one in partnership with Canadian Satellite Radio and Sirius filed an application with Standard Broadcasting and the CBC. The third application belongs to CHUM Limited and Astral Media and to many came as a surprise. That was mostly because CHUM Limited and Astral Media came up with a different solution that that proposed by Sirius and XM Radio. CHUM applied for a subscription radio service that is to be delivered through the already existing terrestrial DAB transmitters. In other words, the transmitters would be the ones receiving the satellite transmission, from where they would continue the broadcast to consumer owned receivers. While the CHUM Limited and Astral Media proposal offers an entirely Canadian approach, the first two bring in a blend of US based technology and Canadian broadcasting channels. XM Radio and Sirius had a slight advantage in the fact that the coverage area of their satellites already existed in parts of Canada, so a small audience was already using their services. Three satellite radio services for Canada The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved all three applications in June 2005, but with a series of conditions imposed to the three solicitants. Here they are as required by the CRTC: • A minimum of 8 channels must be produced in Canada and for each Canadian channel 9 foreign channels can be broadcast. • At least 85% of the content on the Canadian-produced channels (whether musical or spoken word) must be Canadian. • At least 25% of the Canadian channels must be French-language stations. • At least 25% of the music aired on the Canadian channels must be new Canadian music. • At least 25% of the music played on the Canadian channels must be from up-and-coming Canadian artists. The three companies had to accept these conditions as they are part of the Canadian broadcasting regulations. The US companies and their Canadian partners began negotiations for tilting the rules in their favor. One of the main offers of both the Sirius and XM Radio partnerships was that they would play 50% French content as opposed to the 25% required by the CRTC. AS a results of the negotiations, XM Radio received 5 channels of National Hockey League Play-by-Play in addition to the channels they already had – XMs part of the deal was to cover the Canadian National Hockey League games. The fact that the US satellite industry giants were both allowed to broadcast on Canadian territory determined CHUM to appeal the decision. They motivated their action by saying that the two US companies would simply “suffocate” CHUM with their presence in Canada, not allowing any room for development for the all-Canadian company. CHUM also complained about the deals that were cut with the two US companies. As a response, Canadian Satellite Radio and Sirius Canada said that CHUM is in fact trying to obtain monopoly over the Canadian satellite radio market for themselves. Today’s Canadian satellite radio One of the main complaints of the people of Canada was that the CRTC decision did not require sufficient Canadian content. This made the broadcasters come out with promises of additional French and Canadian content. The Canadian Federal Cabinet accepted the CRTC decision on September 10, 2005. XM satellite radio was launched on the 29th of November 2005 and Sirius was next on December 1. Monthly subscription rates are $12.99 for XM with a one time activation fee of $19.99 and $14.99 for Sirius, without any activation fees. Both companies are expecting rapid increases in the numbers o subscribers, although, in spite of the extra Canadian content they added to their air time, there are still quite a few voices protesting against the potential monopoly the two companies may get to in the near future. (word count 685)
Delphi XM Roady Radio The Delphi XM Roady Radio Receiver is the smallest radio receiver available on the market. It’s the next generation of radio, not only for being America’s most popular satellite radio service but for its power of choice, giving the listener the pleasure of choosing what kind of songs he wants to hear – wherever, whenever he wants. In short terms, you can listen to more than 170 digital channels, live concerts, daily news, live commentary on sports, etc. Plus, listening to music on your radio without any commercial is like a dream come true. The receiver is somehow smaller than SkiFi XM Receiver but it has a sharper look. Being able to use it with no major problems. The interface is user-friendly and the installation of additional accessories lie the Roady FM Modulator or the power adaptor is very easy. As for the price, where you can use it and on which system, you can take a look below: Price: $119.95 Use: Car or Home System: XM Satellite Radio The features of the Delphi XM Roady Radio are plenty: - plug and play: you can easily connect to your home kits, car or audio systems, whenever you want - you can search for channel, presets or category - seven color displays - smallest radio available on the market, together with the smallest antenna - optional home audio - the possibility of saving a total of 15 songs information When buying a full kit, you will find in the box the following: receiver, micro-antenna, three faceplates, cigarette lighter power adaptor, cassette adaptor, universal mounting bracket and manual. It is told that the Delphi XM Roady is the direct competitor of Terk XM Commander, being slightly less expensive if you buy the Commander without the FM Modulator. As for the receiver, well.. how small can it be? It is very small. Like I said, it is the smallest receiver you can find out there to buy. The colors are quite brilliant, so that we could spoil our looks by watching red, green, sky blue, orange, night blue, purple and pink. If you’re really a fashion maniac, you can combine the colors with the three colored faceplates for a dazzling look. A very nice option on the Delphi XM Radio is the TuneSelect, where you can save a total of 15 songs, with detailed information upon them. As for accessories, you can buy an additional home kit (base, antenna, power adaptor, mini-stereo to RCA output cable), Power / FM Modulator (rebroadcasting on the following frequencies: 88.1, 88.3, 88.5, 88.7, 107.1, 107.3, 107.5, 107.7, being available on the market since December 2003), FM Modulator (which can be found at a price of $49.99) or Mini Stereo to dual RCA Cable (with that you can connect your Delphi XM Roady to your stereo CD, in case that you don’t have a CD player). As a conclusion, I can say that the Delphi XM Radio Receiver is a pretty good gadget to buy, the reviews being generally positive. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy something that won’t work as you would expect, but, if you choose the right place to buy (where customer service is a really important thing to notice), you would be very pleased of the acquisition. Overall, for its price it is an extraordinary unit. (word count 556)
Features of the XM Radio XM Radio provides over 150 programs that include music, sports and entertainment, traffic and weather channels. The music area has the largest number of channels. Here are 68 music channels that you can enjoy and where you can listen to your favorite music whether is from the 60s, the 90s or it’s the new released music. There are music-by-the-decade channels that include the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s songs which are mostly pop/rock outlets, the Top 20 channel, Love Songs, Movie Soundtracks, Show Tunes, MTV, VH1, and a Global hits channel. For those you prefer new music there is the Unsigned channel and the XMU channel. The last one can be compared to a college station. If you are a jazz fan, XM offers you live music from the Blue Note club and the B. B. King Club in New York City. There are entertainment shows on XM radio hosted by Tom Perry, Snoop Dog or Quincy Jonesedy shows may be found on the High Voltage channel where shock jocks Opie and Anthony do their job now uncensored. In totally, XM has three comedy channels including a family comedy channel. Beside these, there are more radio channels like Playboy Radio and Public Radio hosted by Bob Edwards which includes a line of NPR shows that you can enjoy whenever you like. If you are a sports fanatic you can choose from a good variety of channel dedicated to sports that are provided by XM radio. This includes college football and basketball, NASCAR and Major League Baseball. You can easily listen to the Bowl Championship Series to find out which team is going to the next level, the NCAA Division I football champion. With a subscription from XM, you will have 38 channels of sports, news and talk channels. For example, ABC News & Talk, BBC World Service, CNBC, Court TV, C-Span, CNN, CNN Headline News, Discovery Channel, E Entertainment, two ESPN channels, Fox News, NASCAR Racing are a few talk station to which you can listen. Local weather and traffic channels are provided too and in totally, they are 22 channels. Sound clearance depends on the subscription you have. If you have satellite radio from XM, the sound has more quality than the one from Sirius, but still you can’t say that is the same as a CD. You can say that the sound is somewhere between the sound of a CD and AM radio. Hopefully, in the years that will come, the sound quality will improve. As this technology appeared so did a new line of hardware that can match people’s desires. And XM has new things to offer like the Delphi XM MyFi which is a small receiver, actually the smallest in the world that can include up to five yours of XM content to which you can listen anywhere you like. Another is the Delphi SkyFi2 which has a TiVo-like 30-Minute Replay feature so, you can rewind, push the pause button or just play it forward to hear music, news or anything else you stored on the it. This equipments are also produced by Sony, Alpine, Pioneer and of course others. (word count 532)
How does satellite radio work? Satellite radio is one of the biggest improvements in broadcasting since the introduction of FM. Satellite radio signal can be broadcasted for more than 35,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) with complete clarity and high quality sound. You will never get static interferences while listening to over 100 radio channels. The idea behind satellite radio has appeared in 1992, when the United States Federal Communications Commission granted a spectrum of the S band (the 2.3 GHz frequency) for Digital Audio Radio Service. The license to broadcast in that band was allocated to Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio in 1997. Now there are three companies that provide satellite radio in the world: Sirius and XM in Northern America and WorldSpace in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Each of these companies offer different broadcasting systems, since the radio signal of each is proprietary. This means that you will have to buy different hardware depending on your subscription to one of these companies. However, there are three components common to all satellite radio services: the satellites, the ground repeaters and the radio receivers. Different satellite radio companies broadcast the radio signal in different ways.
For instance, XM satellite radio uses geostationary satellites which have orbits that are synchronized with the movement of Earth. These satellites are located above the equator. In order to allow subscribers to receive crystal-clear signal despite obstacles such as buildings, hills or bridges, XM satellite radio service has installed a network of repeaters antennas that receive the radio signal from the satellites and retransmit it to the subscriber’s receiver Sirius, on the other hand, uses satellites that have unique elliptical orbits around Earth.
These kinds of orbits allow satellites to get higher in the sky than geostationary satellites and this prevents loss of signal. This is the reason why Sirius has fewer terrestrial repeaters than XM. Satellite radio services have digital broadcast centers where a huge amount of music in digital format as well as CD format is stored. Radio programmers have the task of selecting which song has to be played at which time. There are also a lot of studios managed by digital radio companies where artists perform live. All songs and material are transmitted to the satellites in digital format so that the signal contains very high quality sound. The signal is encoded by the satellite and then retransmitted to the repeaters antennas, which then transmit it to the radio receiver which decodes it and plays the sound. The entire process is very quick and reliable. Satellite radio would not be possible without digital compression. Digital compression is a technique that uses sophisticated algorithms to compress as much material as possible on the available bandwidth. Once you make a subscription to a satellite radio provider you will need the appropriate radio equipment. Traditional radios cannot decode the signal received from satellites so you will need special equipment. The popularity of satellite radio has exploded due to many technological advancements that enabled manufacturers to offer the receivers at very attractive prices. The fact that satellite radio is commercial free for many of its channels is also a major selling point. (word count 528)
Interoperable Satellite Radios The satellite radio world is divided among the two major broadcasters, XM Radio and Sirius. Since they work on different frequencies and need specific equipment to broadcast, Sirius and XM Radio have divided the market into two groups. While some are fans of the Sirius channels others prefer XM Radio, and the debate regarding which of the two is the best could go on forever. Some however are subscribers to both services, since they love some of the Sirius programs but also enjoy XM Radio broadcasting. For them and for more people interested in satellite radio, there are some potential good news. Interoperable satellite radios are one of the things most of the major players in the satellite radio industry are talking about. What are they? Basically they are receivers that can work both with Sirius and XM Radio and everything is enclosed in a single unit. Interoperable Technologies – when Sirius and XM work together Interoperable Technologies is the name of a joint effort funded by both Sirius and XM Radio, with the declared purpose of bringing dual-subscription satellite radios to the general market. Founded in 2003, Interoperable Technologies has started developing the dual-mode satellite radios ever since and progress is being made with each passing month. Interoperable Technologies gets help from consultants from both XM and Sirius and their 2005 success of developing a singe unit that can receive both transmissions was a notable one. Today, Interoperable Technologies ha a deadline of bringing the developed receiver unit to the market. The monthly subscription price is estimated to be around $26 – for which you get over 300 channels from the combined broadcasting list of the two satellite radio operators. What the people say… The news of the interoperable satellite radio development has triggered interesting responses among XM and Sirius satellite radio subscribers. Here are some of the things people left on forums and discussion boards regarding this development: “$26/month? A hell of a lot cheaper than cable TV.” Says one of the forum posters. He is right, but, of course, many will question the need to pay $26 for over 300 radio channels out of which 80% will probably never get listened to. “Oh man! As a dual subscriber, this would be SO cool to have. Where do I sign up?” – on the other hand, of course, there are those people that don’t mind spending a little extra when they can get so much more. “Cool idea if it ever comes to pass. Even though I only subscribe to Sirius, I would consider buying this with an eye on the future...” – for people such as this forum poster, the interoperable satellite radio system is the natural evolutionary step forward, so it is definitely worth looking into. Implications of the interoperable satellite radio system As you can see from the response of the potential customers, the interoperable satellite radio system is an interesting development. While Sirius and XM are lucky enough to be the only major players in this field, for now, it seems they are also ready to work together in order to consolidate their future. Of course, offering twice the programs on a single unit is a major step forward, and from the early stages it seems that the target audience is ready to receive the single receiver unit with applause. On the other hand, is this an initial enthusiastic response or is it genuine interest? Won’t 300+ channels become too much and won’t people start to feel like they are paying for something they are rarely using? There will also be some interesting things to follow as far as exclusivity rights go, because each of the two broadcasters have their own original approaches to common things. Another interesting aspect to follow will be how the sales for individual Sirius and XM units will go after the dual receiver hits the market. For many, the combined efforts of Sirius and XM tend to look like a first step towards a large scale joint venture that will lead to an absolute monopoly of the satellite radio market. (word count 681)
MLB to Disappear from Terrestrial Radio? The changes that took place in the way MLB games were broadcast on television made many think that the same will happen to radio soon enough. Today, local television stations only broadcast 23% of the MLB games. Also, 7 of the major league team games are only available on cable, an exclusivity factor that seems to work well for them.
In an interview to WSJ, Edison Media Research's President Larry Rosin declared that "it is probably inevitable that baseball radio broadcasts will go to a 100% subscription model... It will happen because there's too much money in it not to do it." This is an interesting perspective for the two main digital satellite radio providers, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius. This potential development sounds excellent for XM especially, as they would hold the exclusive rights to all major-league baseball games. Of course, that would be an important step forward for XM, as the MLB generates huge interest in the US, and it would mean that another building block has been added to the development of satellite radio.
MLB Radio and XM Radio MLB also has its own subscription paid online radio channel, and if the same thing happens to radio as it did to television they would definitely enjoy the situation. Since experts in the communication field consider that satellite radio is still in its infancy, the trend of moving broadcasts of such games to a subscription paid environment would take digital radio broadcasting to the next level of development. The earnings from XM Radio and MLB Radio are split between the 30 MLB teams, but they are divided equally. This means that the MLB team’s interests would be high and the economical and financial factors could speed up the process of making MLB games exclusive to satellite radio. The statistics we have today tell an interesting story: presently around 23% of XM subscribers have signed up to receive the MLB transmission, so there is a lot of potential for growth. Terrestrial radio can already start to feel the danger of loosing MLB broadcasts to satellite radio as this revenue driven model is more attractive for the MLB teams. Implications of such a transfer As with anything that reaches such a controversial topic, the opinions are shared among experts and the general public. Some people are convinced that this whole movement is nothing more than a bubble of soap. Baseball is mostly a TV favorite and although there is still a lot of interest in MLB radio broadcasts, most people will not feel the transfer to digital radio as a major change. Although radio was the initial growing medium for baseball, television is king today, and they say that the transfer from terrestrial radio to satellite radio is not something that will have a significant impact. Other opinions say that “MLB would loose more audience then it would gain from the exclusive fees”. Since the format of the terrestrial radio stations is more flexible it also allows them to broadcast more games than broadcast TV. The same people say that “the MLB would alienate a lot of local fans if they took baseball off AM radio”. For other people, there is another comparison to be made – that between the impact this would have on MLB and the impact it had on NFL, where a similar process has already started. The Sirius NFL broadcasts brought the company some new listeners, but the changes were not extreme and since NFL is more popular than MLB, some expect the same trend to be followed in MLBs case as well. Of course, there are voices that say this change would have a significant impact on the way baseball is perceived. Since watching a game on TV can take away a few hours, many prefer to listen to the game on radio while they are doing something else. This is especially true during summer months, when many prefer to spend time in the yard or on the porch, not inside the room in front of a TV set. Of course, comparisons between the various major sport types in the US can be made from many perspectives, but most will agree that baseball is a game that can be followed on radio. For now, al the signs point at a transfer of broadcasts from terrestrial radio towards satellite radio, but this may change depending on the response companies and MLB receive from the public. (word count 745)
Online streaming and the changes in the way satellite radio works The recent development of satellite radio received a lot of newspaper and web page space, as well as plenty of attention from traditional media channels. There are a few things that are changing rapidly in satellite radio, changes that may or may not affect the future of the XM and Sirius Satellite Radio companies, as well as the consumers. A few major steps towards the dynamic development of satellite radio have given consumers and financial analysts different perspectives from which to analyze this phenomenon. With the MLB moving away from terrestrial radio and heading for digital radio transmissions, with a Playboy Satellite Radio channel that has over a million subscribers and several other impressive developments, we can say that satellite radio is on an ascending path. An abrupt one, filled with shock news and unexpected developments, but ascending nevertheless. An interesting idea is the one that XM and Sirius are working on a single receiver unit that can receive broadcasts from both major satellite radio broadcasters. Another event that rocked the satellite radio world was Howard Stern’s online streaming on Sirius. His appearance on the Sirius Satellite Radio gave a new light on the Sirius company, as one that offers more than radios and broadcasting means – as one that offers genuine content. Terrestrial versus satellite One of the problems XM and Sirius have had is with making the satellite receiver something desirable, cheap and effective. In the beginning the satellite receivers were large and expensive, and performed poorly on moving vehicles. Of course, the modern satellite receivers are much better, very small and compact and offer excellent reception in any area. The digital quality of the satellite radio has some amazing benefits on its own since there are no noise disturbances that were traditional to FM and AM broadcasts. Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio can be picked up on all the US territory and they are also available in some parts of Canada and Mexico. Since the direct line of sight from the satellite to the receiver may often become obstructed by landscape or buildings, land based devices were installed in order to eliminate the lack of direct satellite transmission The broad range of broadcast and the superior sound quality have taken satellite radio high in the preferences of the consumers. On the other hand, terrestrial radio has some strong points of its own. To begin with, it’s free and readily accessible to anyone. Also, terrestrial radio is so common, widespread and easy to use that anyone can enjoy it and most people don’t find it hard to actually create their radio stations. Many people are reluctant to move on to satellite radio, which is more complex and complicated. The end consumer – the real winner In this battle of the radios, the end consumer is the one that gets the most benefits. And since the competition got even more fierce when satellite radio started taking away subscribers of regular radio, things have gone one step further. Also, the competition between XM Radio and Sirius is in the benefit of the subscribers. An interesting aspect of the competition between the two satellite industry giants was realized by Interoperable Technologies - a joint effort funded by both Sirius and XM Radio, with the intention of bringing dual-subscription satellite radios to the general market. Analysts expect to see even more development in this direction, with XM Radio and Sirius entangled in a strange relationship, where they are working together on one project and battling it out on the satellite radio broadcasters market. In order to understand the way online streaming develops and the changes in the way satellite radios work we have to keep an eye open to the industry giants but also to the companies looking to obtain a license from the FCC. One thing is certain, however – no matter if satellite radio or terrestrial radio come up with new ways of attracting customers, the end users are the ones who will always come on top. (word count 667)
Playboy Satellite Radio As we can see, satellite radio is no longer a field reserved for a very small group – anyone with enough interest and financial power can participate in the digital radio revolution. Playboy Satellite Radio is one of the newest and most dynamic radio channels you can access on satellite broadcasting. Since it was launched in March of 2006, the Playboy Satellite Radio has been a huge success. Today, as Christie Hefner recently announced on the air, Playboy Satellite Radio boasts a number of over one million subscribers on the Sirius network. One of the most impressive things about this is that the Playboy Satellite Radio channel does not come as default to Sirius subscribers and they have to select it. This is why a one million opt-in number is something amazing, especially since the regular opt-in rates are much smaller than this for other types of broadcasting. In order to choose the Playboy Satellite Radio program users have to call Sirius or opt in for it on the Sirius website. What does the success of Playboy Satellite Radio say Well, let’s look at it this way – if Playboy, a brand name associated by 99% of the public with something visual, can now convince over a million people to tune into their programs, it seems that they have discovered a very interesting niche there. The Playboy empire was built on the visual presentations they make and converting this “almost entirely visual” brand into something that attracts radio users is amazing. Of course, the main Playboy brand elements are still present in the radio broadcasting, but ensuring that their traditional symbols stay unaltered is a much more difficult task. Many analysts believe that the initial success of Playboy Satellite Radio is more a fad than something that will last for years to come. That’s because the Playboy name has an irresistible attraction to many and a lot of conversions were made based on this power of magnetism alone. Another important factor that made Playboy Satellite Radio so popular is the fact that it was offered for free to users in the beginning. The curiosity factor and the fact that the Playboy name is something cool and modern made many users opt in to receive its transmissions. Some believe that after the initial magnetic attraction will start to wear off, the impressive one million subscriber list will gradually start to decline. What the users think of Playboy Radio Some of the most interesting reactions to Playboy Satellite Radio can be found today on message boards, forums and personal blogs. Many users have come up with interesting explanation to why Playboy Satellite Radio was such a huge success so far and many have predictions regarding its future. One forum user wrote that “In all honesty, if XM came out with a free optional channel I could activate online, I would do it immediately. Even if it was a home decorating channel or something. I'd just want to know it was there if I needed it.” This is an interesting view on the large subscription numbers and it might indicate that many activated Playboy Satellite Radio just because they could, not necessarily because they listen to it frequently. Another forum poster tells us about his personal experience with Playboy Satellite Radio: “I opted in out of curiosity. I was actually very surprised just how entertaining this channel really is. The morning talk show is good, but Night Calls with Christy Canyon & Ginger Lynn is awesome!” Another idea that has been spreading around the Internet is that having a song play on Playboy Satellite Radio or appearing in a talk show is the “audio equivalent” of appearing in the pages of the Playboy magazine. In other words, if you are not sexy, successful or interesting enough to appear in one of Playboy’s pictorials, articles or interview, there’s always the Playboy Radio to turn to. (word count 653)
Satellite radio costs Everybody has heard about satellites. But how many people heard about satellite radios? Satellite radio is a subscription radio service. It’s somehow identical to cable television, with the difference that it provides a wider range of stations not available on a standard AM / FM radio. There are many questions to be answered about satellite radios like “How does satellite radios work?”, “What kind of equipment should I purchase?” etc. but in this article I will try to answer a question that first pops up in everybody’s mind: “HOW MUCH DOES SATELLITE RADIO COST”? This is a tricky question because the cost of a satellite radio is divided in two: installation (or activation) costs and the monthly subscription fee. Activation costs Activation costs refers to the amount of money that are to be spent on a XM or Sirius Satellite Radio to start the service. Although you can find many promotions that allows you to save up money, the activation costs vary, being able to make the activation by phone or by World Wide Web. To be more precise, if you activate your satellite by phone, you will pay $15.00 if you choose Sirius Satellite or $14.99 by choosing XM and, as for WWW activation, the cost of goods is somehow lower: $5 with Sirius or $9.99 with XM. As for the monthly subscription costs we will discuss this below, but, before that, I must say that recent media campaigns are dramatically dropping the prices for installation and activation, both on Sirius or XM, in some cases even offering free activation. Typical costs for a car dedicated installation If you want to install a satellite radio into your car you are to consider buying a new satellite-ready car stereo if you don’t have one. Although many local dealers offer built-in car satellite radio, there is still the problem of having a satellite radio receiver. And these, as you may notice, cost money. It is possible though to use the existing car stereo that does not support satellite radio. How? There are two known ways of connecting the receiver to the available non-satellite radio car stereo. First, by using the radio inputs (usually the CD) and installing a control unit for tuning up the satellite radio streams. The second method consists in installing a satellite radio receiver, which broadcasts the satellite radio signal on a FM frequency. The place where you can install the receiver depends: under the seat, in your trunk, etc. taking care of connecting the receiver to the satellite radio antenna mounted on the car’s exterior. So, there will be a minimum cost of $350.00 and a maximum of $600, like below: Receiver $75 - $125 Radio $125 - $250 Antenna $60.00 Labor $80.00 Activation $10 Costs for a dedicated home installation If you choose this option, that means you will have to install a dedicated stereo receiver unit, which in some cases is similar to regular AM / FM receivers. As an additional cost, you will have to buy an antenna, which can be found at a price of $60. Here is a short review of the approximate price of installing a dedicated stereo receiver unit: Receiver $150 - $300 Antenna $60 Activation $10 Costs for a Portable Unit Portable units gives you the ease of using you brand new satellite radio wherever you want, but, in every room you will have to own a home kit (antennas, output cables and power supplies). The price for this option is around $400. Receiver $120 Home kit $140 Boombox x2 $100 Activation $10 Subscription costs As for the subscription costs, it depends if you own a Sirius or XM Satellite Radio. Subscription costs for a Sirius Satellite Radio are paid monthly where the charge is $12.95, with a low adjustment is you subscribe to a year or two. The highest number of Sirius radios that can be activated are three for $6.99 each per month. Business subscriptions are $24.99 per month. Another interesting thing is that for $499.99, Sirius is offering a life time subscription. On the other hand, if you have a XM Satellite Radio, you will have to pay a monthly charge of $9.99. Still, some channels are to be paid separately, like Playboy Radio, which costs an additional $2.99 per monthmercial and Business Subscriptions cost $24.99 per month. (word count 727)
Satellite radio Q&A Q: Overview of satellite radio A: Satellite radio means pay-radio or it may also be called a subscription radio. It is a little bit like the traditional one, but it has more programs than it. It’s available in Africa, Asia and Europe due to the services provided by WorldSpace and in North America by Sirius and XM Radio. Q: What are the advantages of this new radio? A: You’ll have a wide variety of programs that includes music channels (rock, modern rock, alternative, classical, pop, hip-hop, country, jazz, electronic, Christian, Latin), weather, news, traffic, sports and entertainment channels, no commercials included. All musical channels are commercial free. This radio has a clean, digital signal and it has almost the quality of a CD. It has no static and no interference. You can get satellite radio not only in your car, but anywhere you like: in your house, in an Rv or boat so that you can enjoy the programming variety that this radio is offering whether you are relaxing in your sofa, if you are in a vacation or if you are in your car on a business travel. The only thing you must do is to properly install the equipment that you need. Purchasing the equipment, you will also have information which will be displayed on the radio receiver about channels, music, songs and artists. Q: What about disadvantages? A: Unfortunately, Alaska, Hawaii and U. S. Territories can’t receive the satellite radio’s signals. There are no local stations, but you will have local traffic and weather channels provided by XM and Sirius. Q: What does provide XM and Sirius radio? A: There a few differences between them. For example, the XM provides more that 150 channels and the other one more than 120 channels. The first has two Nascar racing channels, Major League Baseball, PGA TOUR coverage, plus ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-10 football and basketball coverage and the Sirius has Live NFL, NHL, and NBA play-by-play, plus English Premier League soccer and college sports game. But they have the same price $12.95/Month Q: How do I install satellite radio? A: There are a few things that are necessary to get satellite radio. First you need a satellite radio antenna that picks up the signal from communicational satellites and then delivering it to you. Then you need a satellite radio tuner that passes the signal from the radio antenna to the receiver. There are three basic types of radio turners. There are the Plug-and-play satellite radio tuners that can be used in the car or at home or with a portable boombox wherever you have satellite signal and they only need one subscription. There are three types of Satellite radio tuners for the car: universal tuners, "Satellite radio-ready" in-dash receivers and in-dash receivers with a built-in satellite radio tuner. The last basic type is the Home satellite radio tuners perfect for using them in-door. The third item is a satellite radio receiver which helps you to select channels and categories, to view various songs or artists information. Last but not least is a subscription to XM or Sirius radio that must be acquired in order to receive programming. If you want to have the best quality sound in your car you can choose between these three options: 1. in-dash receiver with a built-in satellite radio tuner 2. "satellite radio-ready" receiver connected to an external satellite radio tuner 3. Plug-and-play satellite radio tuner connected to your car stereo's auxiliary input. (word count 583)
Satellite radio quality and content There are two important characteristics that recommend satellite radio as a service most people would like to have in their vehicles or homes: quality and content. When talking about quality we mostly refer to how clear the sound output is from satellite radio when compare to terrestrial radio broadcasts. Content, on the other hand, refers to the quality of the transited material. This is where the two giants in the satellite radio industry – Sirius and XM Radio – battle it out. The quality of the receivers and the technologies they both use are similar, but the difference can be made when it comes to exclusive high quality content. Let’s have a look at both the satellite radio quality and content characteristics: Broadcasting quality The broadcast quality is, when put in numbers, of 128kb/s 44.1khz for both digital radio service providers. This is the equivalent of CD quality. Although the coverage of satellite radio, which is far superior to what any terrestrial radio station can deliver, is an important factor, the quality of the sound is what brought Sirius and XM Radio more subscribers. There are many similarities to the way digital television worked or how cable TV has over 80% of the US population as subscribers, although they can receive free programming using UHF and VHF antennas. It’s the same with satellite radio – although one can get free terrestrial radio, satellite radio comes at an affordable price and offer a broadcasting quality that is superior to analog radio. Also keep in mind that satellite radio is commercial free – and this is huge selling point. The high analog-to-digital conversion quality means that there will be no sound interferences, hissing sounds and other audio disturbances characteristic to FM and AM transmissions. This is mostly obvious when listening to music on your satellite radio system. The bass is much stronger and accurate, while the high sound levels are crystal clear. There is also a stronger mid range of sounds that you will consider to be more robust and accurate than what terrestrial radio produces. Although someone with a trained ear will tell you the music quality is not exactly as good as CD quality, it is extremely close and for the largest majority of users this difference is not even noticeable. Content So now that we know how good the technological side of satellite radio really is, let’s have a look at how broadcasters are trying to improve the quality of the content they provide. One of the most interesting approaches was to fight for obtaining exclusivity over some transmissions. For example, negotiations have been carried out between XM Radio and MLB in order for the satellite radio provider to obtain exclusivity rights to broadcast all MLB games. In an interview to WSJ, Edison Media Research's President Larry Rosin declared that "it is probably inevitable that baseball radio broadcasts will go to a 100% subscription model... It will happen because there's too much money in it not to do it." Today, around 23% of XM subscribers are signed up to receive the MLB transmissions, so there is real potential in such a venture. Of course, this would be a terrific blow against terrestrial radio and the two sides are engaged in combat while you are reading this. Of course, content quality can also be increased by having the best people in the industry work with satellite radio. Both Sirius and XM Radio know that someone who pays $300 for a receiver and $10 - $12 each month for a radio service wants to get the best content out there. Surprisingly, when it comes to music channels, the difference in content quality between satellite radio and terrestrial radio is made in one main topic – commercials (or rather, lack of commercials on satellite radio). Since most of XM Radio and Sirius channels are in-house productions and only a small percentage are retransmits of terrestrial radio, this becomes an interesting aspect to consider. (word count 662)
Sirius and XM Satellite Radios There are two major companies that offer satellite radio in America: Sirius and XM. XM was the first company that offered satellite radio. It has two satellites named Rock and Roll and it has its studios in Washington D. C. Sirius Radio has three satellites and has its studios in New York As the XM was first, it has 3,2 hundred thousand, but Sirius brings competition with 1,1 hundred thousand subscribers in the present time. Satellite radio is by far the best radio ever, making the AM/FM radios look old and dying even. This new era of radio has a lot of advantages that will please you at the maximum. As the income comes from the subscribers not from advertisements, there are no commercials, no one is saying what to buy, no one is promoting their channel and no one is interrupting you from listening to what you want, where you want. There a lot of choices in want to listen to as both XM and Sirius have a big programming variety that includes music channels of world music(pop, rock, classical, rap, hip-hop, opera, country, western, jazz, dance, blues, Latin), weather, news, traffic, sports and entertainment channels. Local weather and traffic channels are available only for major cities in the U. S.A. provided by the two companies and every five minutes you can hear updates. The best thing in all channels is that there are uncensored. So, you can listen to uncensored stand-up comedy and hip-hop channels, at least for now. The satellite radio has a very good sound quality, no static and no interference, a quality that may be compared with the one of a CD. The radio is based on a go/no-go system based on the strength of the signal. So, weak signal may cause dropouts. You can easily get information about songs and artists right on you satellite radio receiver that can also help you select channels and categories. This makes it easier for you to choose the exact channel or song you want to hear. So, whenever you are wondering what song or channel you are listening to just read the information that the receiver shows. Now you can get satellite radio wherever you like, eventough at first it was design only for car use. With the right equipment you can easily have radio, but it depends on you whether you subscribe at XM or Sirius. Unfortunately, you can’t use a satellite radio turner for both XM and Sirius. There are three types of turners depending on where you want to listen to satellite radio. The Plug-and-play turner can be used out-door wherever you like as long as you have a portable boombox that can receive the signal. There are turners especially made for using them in cars and the home satellite radio turners for using them at home. Both companies want now to offer a video service. This is planned to happen in the second half of the year 2006 and will include at first two video programs designed for children. Satellite radios' prices start at about $75.A subscription costs 12.95 per month wherever you want to subscribe as both XM and Sirius radio charges the same. There a couple of discounts like you can get satellite radio for a year at $9.95/month or Sirius is offering a subscription for a lifetime at $500. (word count 563)
Sirius Radio specifications Sirius Satellite Radio has more than 150 channels available with the subscription that they provide. This includes 65 commercial-free music channels and 56 sports, news, talk, entertainment, local traffic and weather channels. Music channels seem to be numberless, but unfortunately they aren’t even tough there are plenty of music stations that please every person no matter what gender of songs he or she likes. So, there are country music channels that include New Country, Classic Country, Alternative Country and Bluegrass. For hip-hop lovers, Sirius satellite radio has 4 channels: Hip-Hop Nation, Shade 45, Wax and Back Spin and not to mention the other streams where you’re ears will be delighted with house, club mixes, electronic a, disco, R&B, reggae and not to forget rock(classic, alternative, mellow, metal, blues) music. For classical tastes, there are three channels: classical pops, chamber music and classical voices. But if you are a jazz type of person you can relax by turning the radio on one of the six-channels of non-stop jazz. There a lot of music programs that are hosted by international and national artist like Eminem, David Johansen Steve Van Zant, the Rolling Stone’s producer who can be listen on the Underground Garage channel. Sirius has a beautiful collection of uncensored comedy that is available to you. You only have to tune into Sirius’s stream Raw Dog where you can listen to George Carlin, Margaret Cho, Cheech and Chong, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock In the sports area, Sirius Radio has a terrific collection of channels and only enumerating those takes a lot of time. But here is a sum-up: the NBA, the NFL and the NHL. And besides this, Sirius wants to bring to you tournaments of men’s basketball games, the lineup of 27 college hoops programs and the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and for the ones who love cars, in 2007 they will have the possibility to listen to all NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. Besides entertainment, Sirius has a series of news and talk channels: ABC News & Talk, BBC World Service, BBC Mundo, Bloomberg, CNBC, Court TV, C-Span, CNN Headline News, Discovery Channel, E Entertainment, two ESPN channels, Fox News, Hispanic Talk, Radio Disney, Sirius Trucking Network, the Weather Channel, the liberal network Air America and more. Besides this, it also includes a gay/lesbian news and talk station. It seems that Sirius tries to satisfy as many demands they can, judging by the wide variety of programs. And having all of these advantages, Sirius is a really determined challenger for the XM. In comparison with the XM, the Sirius satellite radio has less quality in sound and the XM’s stereo separation is wider. So, we all hope for improvement. In terms of gadgets, XM has more technology than Sirius radio. There are no MyFi’s, but instead Sirius has the XACT XTR1 that is a limited portable version of the MyFi. And Sirius has no turners with TiVo-like features as the equipments provided by XM. There are companies like Alpine, Audiovox, Blaupunkt, Clarion, Delphi, Jensen, JVC, Kenwood, Sanyo, and Tivoli that produce Sirius hardware. (word count 526)
Sirius Satellite Radio overview Together with XM Radio, Sirius Satellite Radio is one of the two main providers of digital radio broadcasting in the United States. Sirius Satellite Radio currently broadcasts on over 120 channels with a variety of broadcasts including music, talk shows, news broadcasts and different other forms of audio entertainment. Sirius Satellite Radio covers the entire US territory. The high quality of the broadcasting signal produced by using the most advanced digital encoding technology makes the transmission clear and accurate. The fidelity of the sound transmitted digitally is much better than any analog radio provider can offer. The noise disturbances often associated to FM and AM broadcasts are now eliminated and the transmission is clear and almost identical in quality with the original track. Sirius Satellite Radio holds one of the two FCC approved licenses for delivering digital radio in the United States. The digital radio broadcaster only shares the field of Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services (SDARS) with Sirius XM Satellite Radio Inc. Here is some more information on the Sirius company: Corporate headquarters: New York City, New York Date of launch: July 1, 2002 Satellites in service: 3 Available satellite radio channels:120 Monthly subscription cost:$12.95 Sirius Satellite Radio is truly an impressive corporation. Located in the heart of New York City with a huge recording studio situated in the Rockefeller Center, Sirius Satellite Radio has a huge library of over 2 million music tracks. The quality of the transmission is very high as it is in the 128kb/sec format – which is similar to CD audio quality. The company uses digitized signals through the PAC encoding technology, providing high fidelity broadcasts all over the United States. The Sirius satellite The three Loral SS/L-1300 commercial satellites used by Sirius deliver constant digital radio broadcasting to Sirius’ subscribers. As with most commercial satellites, the Loral SS/L-1300s orbit above the Earth at 22 300 miles. Very similar to XMs satellites, the Loral SS/L-1300 commercial satellites have a more inclined orbit which allows them to cover an even more extended area. The elevation angle of 60 degrees is more generous than the regular 45 degrees used by geostationary satellites. Since one of the most problematic aspects of satellite radio broadcasting is the line of sight – which can be easily interrupted by landscape or buildings – the Loral SS/L-1300 commercial satellites have a slight advantage over their competitors, since they have a clearer line of sight. The three satellites used for broadcasting slowly orbit around the Earth and only two of them are functional at any time. This is because Sirius only has two transmission frequencies and by alternating satellite transmission they can eliminate interferences while also having a spare satellite to put to use in case something goes wrong with one of the others. The 3 satelites take turns broadcasting – when one of them leaves the footprint of the continental U. S. another picks up the broadcasting transmission. Since the more inclined orbit provides better coverage, Canada and Mexico are also well covered by the digital broadcasting. This is an interesting feature of the Sirius satellite radio, as it enhances the benefit of not having to switch radio stations during long trips or while traveling outside US borders. Sirius has also announced a collaboration with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Standard Radio Inc. This would allow anyone in Canada to benefit from Sirius’ services while using any of the Canadian English and French channels. Sirius broadcasting Because the broadcast signal used in satellite radio transmission is so strong, you only need a small receiver in order to be able to listen to it. By using small omni-directional antennas you can take your digital radio programs wherever you are – either on the road or at home. The technology used is similar to GPS devices and the receivers don’t require pointing. Some of the new features of satellite radio refer to the extended broadcast information abilities, and the transmission can supply information on artist, music title or genre. One of the developments Sirius is working on is streaming video broadcasting – something that will probably become available to the general public soon after the technology and broadcasting methods become secure enough. (word count 697)