Satellite Radio Showdown: Sirius vs XM Radio

By: Reno Charlton

The advancement of technology has seen the introduction of many new and exciting gadgets and services over the years: video recorders have been replaced by DVDs; record players with CD players and MP3s; and terrestrial television channels have been expanded to include hundreds of satellite channels to suit all tastes and ages. And now consumers can enjoy the benefits of satellite radio as well. No longer do we have to put up with a limited choice of channels, distorted sound quality, and continual interruptions in service and quality. Satellite radio offers incredible choice, excellent quality, and an uninterrupted service that you can enjoy in your home or in your car.

How does satellite radio work?

When you subscribe to satellite radio you will get an extra band on your home or car radio, for which you will be charged a monthly fee. A special antenna receives the signals from the satellites, much in the same way as a satellite dish receives signals for satellite television viewing. You will then enjoy access to a range of channels, giving you incredible choice over what you listen to whether you are in the home or travelling in your car.

What are the benefits of satellite radio?

There are a number of benefits to subscribing to satellite radio. You can enjoy far more choice for a start, with a range of channels to select from including commercial-free channels. You can enjoy much better reception whilst driving, and you won’t have to put up with poor quality and static as with AM/FM radio. And you can enjoy these benefits at a low monthly fee, enabling you to enjoy a revolutionized radio experience without breaking the bank.

Satellite radio providers: Sirius VS XM

The competition has already started in the world of satellite radio, and the two main players in the field at the moment are Sirius and XM. Both of these providers work in the same way, offering over one hundred satellite radio stations for one monthly subscription fee. Both offer the necessary equipment to enable listeners to enjoy a unique, high quality digital radio experience, and both offer affordable packages.

XM has been around for longer than Sirius, and started broadcasting in September 2001. With over two million subscribers and rising, XM enjoys backing from big names such as General Motors and Honda. Located in Washington DC, the XM network boasts two geosynchronous satellites along with repeaters in major metro areas.

Sirius is a relatively new player when it comes to satellite radio. Sirius started broadcasting in July 2002, and currently has a customer base of under one million. Located at the Rockefeller Center in New York, Sirius has three elliptical-orbit satellites, and does not have a many repeaters as XM radio. Other than this you can enjoy the same digital quality and excellent choice with Sirius as you can with XM.

How do you choose between Sirius and XM satellite radio?

The services, packages, and quality of satellite radio from Sirius and XM is very similar, so it can be difficult to choose.

The best way to decide on which service will best suit your needs is to look at the various satellite radio ratings and make satellite radio comparisons.

Both Sirius and XM will enable you to enjoy high quality digital radio, with a wide choice, some commercial-free channels, parental blocks where necessary, talk radio, news channels, and accessibility within the continental United States. You will find some slight differences in programming, so you may want to take this into consideration, and also read up on a satellite radio review or two before you make your decision.

If you are looking to buy a new vehicle, many now come with satellite radio already installed, so you won’t have to make the choice as either Sirius or XM will already be available. It is those with older vehicles or those that want to enjoy satellite radio within the home that need to decide between XM or Sirius radio.

Satellite radio comparisons

The difference between the two satellite radio providers is minimal, so you could have your work cut out when trying to decide which provider you want to go with. Here are a few of the aspects you can look at:

Established and popular: XM satellite radio has been around a little longer than Sirius. It also has a higher subscriber base of over two million compares to Sirius, which has under one million.

Quality and clarity: There really isn’t much in it when it comes to quality and clarity of sound. Because XM and Sirius are both satellite radio providers, listeners can enjoy crystal clear sound and uninterrupted entertainment with either of these services. With both services available across the Continental United States you can enjoy widespread digital entertainment wherever you are in the country.

Choice: Again, there is not much in it when it comes to choice. Both XM radio and Sirius can offer over one hundred channels of music, entertainment, news and even commercial-free entertainment. Because of the choice available with both of these providers, there is likely to be something to suit every taste with both XM and Sirius satellite radio. However, there are some differences in programming choice – although both do offer plenty of choice. It may be worth looking at the actual programs themselves to see which service will offer the most channels that suit your tastes and needs.

Cost of service: There is a slight difference in price when it comes to monthly subscription fees. With XM radio you can enjoy a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. With Sirius, the monthly subscription fee is $12.95. However, Sirius also offers a range of block subscription options, and these can help to dramatically reduce the cost of subscribing to its satellite radio service.

Activation fees: You can activate your service with XM radio for $9.99 via the website, and if you wish to activate by phone it will cost you $14.99. To activate Sirius via the website will cost you $5.00 and to activate via phone will cost $15.00.

Cancellation procedures: You can cancel both Sirius and XM at anytime. If you cancel Sirius prior to the expiration of a prepaid subscription you may receive a refund of any unused subscription fee. If you cancel XM before the expiration of a prepaid subscription you will also receive a refund of unused subscription, but you may be charged a cancellation fee of $75.00.

Listening online: You can listen online with both Sirius and XM. With Sirius this service is already included as part of the monthly subscription cost, With XM you have to pay an additional $3.99 per month for this service.

Additional radios: You can get these with both Sirius and XM. You can get 2-4 additional radios with Sirius at $6.99 per month, and 2-5 with XM for the same cost of $6.00 per month.

Subscription costs: The subscription costs and formats differ slightly between Sirius and XM. The structure is as follows:

Sirius

$12.95 per month
$142.45 per year
$271.95 per two years
$499.99 for a lifetime

XM
$9.99 per month
$199 per two years
$289 per three years
$369 per four years
$449 per five years

Conclusion

Based on the service, choice, and quality it is very difficult to determine whether one service is better than the other. Clearly Sirius offers more cost effect subscription options, and on the other hand XM is the longest standing and most popular of the two services. The service providers you select will be largely based on your needs and your budget.

The best way to ascertain which is going to be the best satellite radio service provider for your needs is to make comparisons, which can be easily done online. Compare the reviews from other users, compare the cost of receivers and other equipment, and compare the programming choice available from each of these providers.

Whether you select Sirius or whether you go for XM you will still be able to enjoy high definition satellite radio, crystal clear sound, over one hundred channels of pure entertainment, and widespread accessibility. Making some comparisons will enable you to determine whether one satellite radio providers offers anything over and above the other that will meets your specific needs or provide a more cost effective option for you.

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