What is satellite radio? Satellite radio is often considered one of the biggest improvements in broadcasting since the introduction of the FM band. Satellite radio is also called subscription radio or pay-radio because it is only available trough subscription to one of the satellite radio providing companies. Satellite radio follows a concept similar to cable television by providing a very wide range of programs which are not available in the traditional FM or AM format for a fee. Satellite radio uses satellites to deliver radio programs to subscribers. The radio signal is broadcasted from Earth based stations to communicational satellites, which then redirect the signal to satellite radio receivers. The radio signal is broadcasted by communication satellites to a much larger area than traditional terrestrial radio antennas. For example, satellite radio is available al across the continental area of the United States. Satellite radio is available now in most parts of the world trough services provided by companies like WorldSpace (in Europe, Asia and Africa), Sirius and XM Radio (in North America). The radio signal you receive using satellite radio is digital, which means that it is always clear and static-free, which is one of the great advantages of satellite radio. Another great thing about satellite radio is that it is almost completely commercial-free. To begin listening to satellite radio you will need the actual satellite radio (also known as tuner or receiver), a satellite radio antenna (which is often incorporated in the satellite radio) and a subscription to the service you choose. There are several types of satellite radio from which you can choose. One of them is the dedicated car or home radio, which play trough your car or home stereo. A second option is the plug-and-play radio, which can be used in your car, as well as in your home by paying a single subscription. Your third option is the portable radio, which has rechargeable battery, a built-in antenna and you can listen to it wherever you go using headphones. The radio signals offered by different satellite radio companies are proprietary, which means that you will need different hardware for receiving, decoding and playback, depending on your subscription. Each satellite radio receiver has its own serial number called Radio ID. When you get your subscription, you will also get an activation code for your receiver. Besides the actual radio programs, satellite radio transmits metadata that contains the name of the artist, the title of the song or program, as well as the name of the channel. This makes it easier for you to decide which channel to listen to and which program to choose. Satellite radio services provide the subscriber with more than 100 programs that vary in content from rock and jazz to rap and classical music. But satellite radio's utility reaches far beyond listening to your favorite music without the interruption of those annoying commercials. Satellite radio also offers exclusive sports programs, cultural and educational shows, news and talk-shows. Some of the celebrities that have moved their shows from free radio to satellite radio include Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony, Bob Edwards and Martha Stewart. Unlike terrestrial radio, satellite radio is not affected by bad weather or even calamities. At first, many people wondered why they should pay for radio if they can get it free. However, satellite radio attracts more and more people every year due to its great advantages: no commercials, extensive reach, theme programs and exceptional quality of sound. The success of satellite radio The entertainment industry is one of the most dynamic and attractive ones, and satellite radio has recently captured a large share of it. Audio entertainment products are highly popular today and there is a wide variety of choices when it comes to having good music in your car: regular CD players, car CD players with storage space or MP3 players. When it comes to radio however, there is an even bigger divide -- you can listen to or go with one of the new satellite radio offers. The popularity of satellite radio broadcasting has gone sky-high in the past years mostly because it has some exciting benefits that commercial FM/AM programming simply cannot offer. Analog radio stations are not able to broadcast the full range of sounds available through digital satellite radio and this has a noticeable impact on sound quality. Digital radio programs are broadcast through a satellite -- this means that users don't have to switch radio stations every time they get out of a certain geographical area, as the signal is countrywide. Traditional to FM and AM broadcasts have different forms of noise disturbances -- satellite radio eliminates this problem as the quality is very close to that of the original tracks it is playing. Technology and content Because satellite radio uses such high tech instruments (satellites, small portable receivers) many still perceive it as unapproachable and prefer to stick with traditional radio. Most young people, however, can't wait to get their hands on the latest in technological advancements, so satellite radio is perfect for this age group. The price you had to pay for satellite radio one or two years ago was a bit high for many who decide to enjoy traditional, commercial radio stations instead, as they are free. Today however, for a subscription of around $12 per month, you can receive dozens of excellent news, sports and music radio channels. And the best thing is that they are commercial free. In many ways, satellite radio became popular following the idea of DirecTV's success -- the difference was made through superior broadcast quality, excellent geographical coverage and content. This is in fact the main issue satellite radio broadcasters and terrestrial radio stations are looking at -- high quality content is actually the most flexible field where subscribers or listeners can be won or lost. In order to get valuable radio content, many satellite radio offers were made to popular media topics. MLB broadcasts, for example, might be broadcast exclusively on satellite radio stations. Although this is still an assumption, chances are that more and more popular US topics will be exclusively available on different satellite radio programs, whether they are from Sirius, XM Radio or from some new broadcasters that will join the market. It all comes down to what the consumer wants And it's true -- it does come to that. Some laughed at the idea of paying for radio -- for as long as we have known, radio programs were free. However, the satellite radio industry only followed in the footsteps of cable TV -- although all Americans can receive free programs with UHF and VHF antennas, over 80% are willing to pay monthly subscription fees. With $9.95/month for XM and $12.95/month for Sirius, accessibility to satellite radio broadcasts is high and anyone can afford to subscribe. And the truth is that satellite radios have proved, once again, that sometimes a consumer is ready to pay for something they used to get for free as long as the commercials are eliminated. In many cases, out of an hour of radio broadcasting, around 12-15 minutes are commercials -- people don't want such interruptions in their radio programs. Both Sirius and XM Radio knew this when they launched their paid subscription services and they were right, as each company has millions of subscribers today. The satellite radio craze got even larger when it met the auto manufacturing industry -- today almost all major manufacturers offer satellite radio receivers as standard or optional with each of their models. 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. 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. 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. 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. The technology behind satellite radio Any song you hear on satellite radio stars as a recording in a specific format on different recording mediums. IN most cases, the recording quality has to be maintained fairly high, usually around 384kb/s, while also being reasonably small enough to be transported on CDs and DVDs. The music tracks used in satellite radio are cataloged using a similar system to the MP3 cataloging criteria, the ID3 tags. The choice for the music tracks that will be played is made by each channel individually. The DJ selecting the tracks usually chooses about 20-30 minutes worth of music. The DJ has to listen to the tracks to make sure they are in proper condition and then simply lets the computer decode the original file. The same thing is repeated once the initial 20-30 minutes are exhausted and the music playing cycle repeats itself. Sound encoding in satellite radio Encoding is one of the key elements of digital radio. Each channel is handled by a different encoder. The encoder basically takes the analog file and turns it into a digital one. The digitalization process is made in real time and the music files are transformed into 1's and 0's. This process is carried out by powerful computers that analyze sound waves and frequency and break them into binary code. The encoding process is carried out at 128kb/s, 44.1Kh which is actually CD quality. After the song is encoded, it is transmitted to a multiplexer where other channels are also present -- the multiplexer basically takes all the channels of the satellite radio provider and combines them into a single broadcast transmission. The data is then sent to a satellite modem device which modulates the data and sends it to the broadcaster's satellites, using unique transmission frequencies. What happens above the Earth Here is where the satellites are located. They receive the transmission and transmit it to the receivers we have in our homes and cars. The satellites are located at 23,000 miles above us -- both Sirius and XM Radio use satellites located at this distance from the Earth. The satellites are located in geo-sync, which means that hey orbit above the location they are designated to service at all times. When the satellite receives the transmission encoded at 128kb/s, 44.1 khz it rebroadcasts it to the geographical area it covers. Both Sirius and XM Radio use satellites that cover certain areas of the United states -- mostly the East and West coasts. For example, one of XM Radio's satellites covers the western part of USA, probably an area located roughly from Seattle to San Diego on the West and Minneapolis to Houston on the east. The increased sound quality is possible because the broadcasted data (music tracks, news, sports transmission) don't get sliced up too many times in the decoding process. The antenna The antenna connected to your satellite radio receiver picks up the transmission on L-Band. The recent technological advances have allowed digital radio broadcasters to create receivers small enough to fit mobile locations. In the early days of satellite radio, a large parabolic dish would have to be mounted on the car in order to receive signal. Also, before the more compact receivers were created, the early satellite radio receivers needed electronic movements that directed the dish towards the satellite line of sight. Modern flat panel receivers have eliminated all the problems of their predecessors and can be fitted almost anywhere without taking up too much space. The receiver and the output The receiver is the device that decodes the data, basically doing the exact opposite of what the encoding process was like. After receiving the signal from the antenna it amplifies it and converts it to usable sound. The car or home audio system is then able to play the selected satellite radio channel. The rest of the process is exactly like analog broadcasts would work, with an amplifier and speakers outputting the sound. 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 month. Commercial and Business Subscriptions cost $24.99 per month. 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. 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. The basics of Satellite Radio Broadcasting digital radio via satellite is not something new and concepts of doings this have been with us for a few years. From the early days of satellite radio, companies like Dish Network have offered digital audio channels as part of their programs. The breakthrough in popularity of satellite radio, however, happened just recently, when the technology became more permissive. Satellite radio was very rare on moving locations, such as boats or cars, mostly because there was the need for some expensive equipment -- a tracking dish. This was a strong deterrent which kept satellite radio quite unknown by the general public. Today, however, one can receive digital audio satellite broadcasts by using a small, GPS-like antenna. This greatly increased the feasibility of the satellite radio systems and more and more vehicle owners began considering satellite radios as a good source of music and news. The birth of satellite radio in the United States When the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated a spectrum in the "S" band (2.3 GHz) for the broadcasting of digital radio services in 1992 no one thought the amplitude that the system would take in the future. From the initial Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) things progressed until two companies were given licenses to broadcast digital radio in 1997. These two were American Mobile Radio (today known as XM Satellite Radio) and CD Radio (presently called Sirius Satellite Radio). The fact that satellite radio is nationwide makes it a very attractive media channel, both for commercial and non-profit organizations. The two companies that initiated the development of satellite radio saw the huge potential it had, since it wasn't confined by the limitations of other terrestrial broadcasters. Benefits of using satellite radio Here are some of the most noteworthy benefits of having a satellite radio system: * No more geographical limitations -- since the radio program is broadcast through a satellite you don't have to switch radio stations every time you leave a certain coverage area. * The digital quality of the satellite radio has some amazing benefits on its own. There are no noise disturbances that were traditional to FM and AM broadcasts. The transmission is crystal clear and satellite radio receives some valuable points when broadcasting quality is concerned. * Analog radio stations simply cannot broadcast the full range of sounds available through digital satellite radio. * 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. Satellite radio technology Each of the major satellite radio services uses its own equipment to broadcast the signal to their clients. The competition is tight and customers have to "pick sides" in order to benefit from satellite radio broadcasting. You have to choose your preferred company and purchase adequate receivers for that particular company. Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio provide their clients with different ways of receiving their services. The field where most competition takes place is in the negotiation with the major automobile manufacturers. Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio have deals with the auto industry giants in order to offer their services and equipment as optional on the car models they produce. Other partnerships were created with audio equipment manufacturers, who now offer satellite radio transceivers and matching headsets. The most recent shock in the satellite radio universe was caused by the production of portable MP3 player-like satellite radio receivers. The future development of satellite radio One of the main problems of satellite radio was addressed by the main satellite radio broadcasters. Since you need to be in the line of sight of the satellite to receive the transmission, different problems appeared with mobile satellite radio receivers, especially when different landscaping objects blocked the direct transmission. To solve this, land based devices were installed in order to eliminate the lack of direct satellite transmission. Another interesting aspect related to satellite radios is that they approached their service offers from a different perspective than traditional radio broadcasters. Instead of airing commercials they charge a subscription fee. For many people, this is actually the best alternative, since they get an almost 100% content broadcast (whether it's music or talk shows) without the 10-12 minutes per hour of annoying commercials. In most cases, the monthly subscription for satellite radio is of around $12. The development of digital multimedia broadcasting Satellite radio systems are actually part of a larger group of broadcasting mediums, which specialists refer to as Digital Multimedia Broadcasting or DMB. This digital transmission system is used in order to send data to different receivers such as radios, television sets or mobile phones and PDAs. There are two different ways of using digital multimedia broadcasting -- S-DMB which is broadcasting via a satellite or T-DMB which uses terrestrial emitters. The complexity of the entire digital multimedia broadcasting field is huge. Out of all the features and characteristics digital broadcasting offers, satellite radio is probably the most spectacular as it generated immense interest and triggered an intense competition between the two main satellite radio broadcasters, Sirius and XM Radio. The development of satellite radio and other forms of digital broadcasting is spectacular because it offers two main qualities that terrestrial emitters are deficient in: quality and coverage. In the case of satellite radio, for example, the sound quality from a satellite broadcast is much higher than AM or FM broadcasts, as the hissing noises and transmission disturbances are eliminated. Technical features of digital multimedia broadcasting -- overview Whether it refers to television, satellite radio or cell phone transmissions, digital multimedia broadcasting is based on the Eureka 147 DAB standard. Digital television uses the T-DMB which is made for transmissions on frequency bands III (VHF) and L (SHF). T-DMB is an ETSI standard (TS 102 427 and TS 102 428). T-DMB uses MPEG-4 Part 10 (H264) for the video and MPEG-4 Part 3 BSAC or HE-AAC V2 for the audio. When it comes to satellite radio, there were a few issues to be resolved by the main satellite radio broadcasters. The satellite radio receiver needs to be in the line of sight of the satellite to receive the transmission -- and there is the problem of having different landscaping objects block the direct transmission. Land based devices were installed in order to eliminate the lack of direct satellite transmission. Since the wider spectrum of broadcasts has to be covered, digital multimedia broadcasting uses OFDM-4DPSK modulation and a chip of T-DMB receiver is also provided by MPEG-2 Transport Stream De-multiplexer. This helps reduce the negative effects of shadowing and fading, present in many digital transmissions. The future of digital multimedia broadcasting The transfer from the analog world to the digital one is obvious in all fields of work. Since digital multimedia broadcasting is developing so quickly, there is a silent battle going on between the new age digital technology and the classic analog one. OF course, many compare the transition from the analog to the completely digital era with the way audio cassettes were replaced by CDs and later on even DVDs. However, the development of digital multimedia broadcasting is slower since it happens on so many levels at the same time. Digital television is taking us into new spaces that are basically hybrids of the features of regular TV and characteristics of the Internet. Satellite radio is also taking huge leaps forward, with more and more programs having satellite radio exclusivity. There are even discussion of moving events like the MLB exclusively on satellite radio, which would provide one of the first deadly strikes against terrestrial radio broadcasting. Digital data transmission is fast and accurate, and so far reality proves that the satellites used in order to facilitate broadcasting and reliable. Most digital multimedia broadcasting companies that own satellites also have backup ones ready to go in orbit and replace a defective one. Some other benefits of digital multimedia broadcasting recommend it as a next step in the development of broadcasting. From the consumer's point of view, the quality and interactivity options of digital TV or satellite radio broadcasts are important features. Although most digital multimedia broadcasting channels and technologies are still complex and sometimes expensive, the evolution of digital broadcasting seems to be here to stay. 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 Jones. Comedy 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.
XM Radio Information XM Satellite Radio Inc. is one of the major players in the satellite radio industry, with over 2 million subscribers and spreading all over the American territory. XM Satellite Radio Inc. deliver over 120 channels of radio to an ever expanding customer number. Here are some of the characteristics of XM Radio: Corporate headquarters: Washington, D.C. Date of launch: November 12, 2001 Satellites in service: 3 Available satellite radio channels: 150 Monthly subscription cost: $12.95 XM Satellite Radio Inc. is the owner of one of the 2 FCC approved licenses for delivering digital radio in the United States. Since it only shares the field of Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services (SDARS) with Sirius Radio, XM Satellite Radio Inc. has plenty of room to develop and expand. 2001 was the year when XM Satellite Radio Inc. began broadcasting -- progress was slow at first, but soon after satellite radio began skyrocketing as a social and economical phenomenon. Since it was the first national digital satellite radio service provider, XM Satellite Radio Inc. captured an important share of the market and started offering music programs and other types of shows and channels like talk shows, sports, comedy, science and news. XM Satellite Radio Inc. owns the most impressive digital radio equipment and facilities, boasting over 82 end to end broadcasting studios. The digital radio used by XM Satellite Radio Inc. is encoded using the complex CT-aacPlus technology which is broadcast in 128kb/sec format -- very close to CD quality. The signal produced by using this technology makes the transmission much clearer and more accurate than any analog radio provider could ever offer. There are no noise disturbances that were often present with FM and AM broadcasts and the transmission is crystal clear. The fact that the signal is received in digital form solves many noise disturbance problems and the output is close in fidelity to the original track. The XM Satellite Radio Rock and Roll satellites XM Satellite Radio uses two of the most potent commercial satellites, which are constantly orbiting the Earth at a height of 22 300 miles. The two Boeing HS-702 satellites have some inspired names -- "Rock" and "Roll". The first of the two satellites, Rock, was launched in orbit on March 18, 2001 and is currently positioned at 85 degrees West Longitude. It services the western half of the United States and complements the range and area of coverage of its younger "brother" -- Roll. Roll was launched on May 8, 2001 and it currently positioned at 115 degrees West Longitude, and it services the eastern part of the United States. The combined coverage of the two satellites spreads beyond US borders and reaches areas like Canada or Mexico. This is an interesting feature of satellite radio, as it further points out the benefit of not having to switch radio stations during long trips or while moving over the border. For emergency purposes, the company has third redundant HS-702 satellite on the ground, ready to replace Rock or Roll if any of them fails. Both satellites use different transmission frequencies which prevents interference. Using the XM radio transmission The powerful broadcast signal used in satellite radio means that you only need a small receiver in order to be able to listen to digital radio. These small omni-directional antennas are similar to GPS devices and do not require mechanical pointing in order to receive the signal. Some of the new features of satellite radio refer to the extended broadcast information abilities. XM offers information about the broadcast type, and includes the song title, artist, and genre of music. As a recent improvement, XM radio also started broadcasting weather related news and traffic statuses on their programs. In order to use the XM Radio programming you need a XM Radio receiver, an antenna and a subscription to the XM services. Different music equipment producers have teamed up with XM Radio in order to allow adding XM broadcasting to their already existing devices. Some vehicle manufacturers are also offering XM Radio as a factory installed option. The development of Satellite radio in the United States The satellite radio industry is dominated by two major players -- Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio. Both companies charge a monthly fee for their services, but service payment plans often change to attract more customers. For example, starting in 2005 Sirius offers a $500 fee that is valid for the lifetime of the equipment. Sirius offers 65 music channels, without any commercials and traffic and weather reports for most of the major US cities. On the other hand, some of XM Radio's channels did contain some commercials, but in much smaller quantities than those found on terrestrial radio channels. Today, XM has 67 commercial-free music channels, 21 channels with detailed traffic and weather information, 39 channels of news, entertainment and sports and an amazing number of 23 play-by-play sports channels. XM Satellite Radio Inc. owns the most impressive digital radio equipment and facilities, boasting over 82 end to end broadcasting studios. Sirius Satellite Radio is located in the heart of New York City with a huge recording studio. Sirius Satellite Radio has an impressive library of over 2 million music tracks. Sirius Satellite Radio Sirius Satellite Radio is one of the two main providers of digital radio broadcasting in the United States and it shares this important market with XM Radio. While you would think that XM and Sirius are 100% rivals, you will be surprised to find out that both companies are working together on a joint program in order to develop a receiver for both of their broadcast frequencies. Sirius uses three geosynchronous satellites that pass over the United States territory at regular time intervals and transmit the data alternatively. The Sirius satellite network is also located in a position that offers better line of sight -- this means that transmission interruptions caused by trees, mountains or any other landscape form are less likely to happen. Sirius announced that the number of subscribers to their services goes beyond the 4 million count XM Satellite Radio Inc XM Satellite Radio Inc. began broadcasting in 2001 and has seen a continuous development ever since. The digital radio used by XM Satellite Radio Inc. is encoded using the CT-aacPlus technology which is broadcast in a 128kb/sec format that is high in fidelity and is similar to CD quality. XM Satellite Radio Inc uses two Boeing HS-702 satellites which are constantly orbiting the Earth at a height of 22 300 miles. IN order to minimize transmission ad reception loss, XM Satellite Radio installed terrestrial transmitters in most major cities in places where loss of signal is more likely to take place (tunnels, high building areas). XM radio claims to have an impressive number of over 6 million subscribers. Working with the automobile industry Both satellite radio providers saw a huge market in the car industry, so they began negotiating with al major car manufacturers to convince them to offer their services and equipment as standard or optional on the vehicles they produce. Some of the auto manufacturers that have either XM or Sirius satellite radio installed from the factory are: BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce, Chrysler, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mazda ,GM, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Vauxhall, Saab, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Infiniti, Porsche, Lexus, Scion and Audi -- to name just a few. Sirius has managed to get exclusivity from major car manufacturers such as Audi or VW2007 through 2012. IT was a major success for Sirius as Audi and VW previously also offered XM radio services and equipment on their vehicles. After conquering the vehicle industry both manufacturers tried to move the success of satellite radio into the homes of consumers by creating some trendy portable satellite radio receivers. XM satellite radio created the XM2 line of "walkman-like" receivers and Sirius developed a variety of portable devices, such as the Kenwood Portable Satellite Radio Tuner, Here2Anywhere and the Sirius S50. More attempts are being made for introducing satellite radio in the homes of conservative media consumers. 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. XM versus SIRIUS The idea of America's biggest two satellite-radio joining forces has been up in the air for almost four years. Although XM had a year's start, Sirius came back on the market, eventually with both companies sharing the market in half. So, what's to choose? XM or Sirius? First thing's first. XM and Sirius are based on the same principle, each of them providing music, news, sports, etc. on their channels, but, every service has its ups and downs so we will try to discuss it in this present article. A careful analysis shows that XM Satellite Radio provides a total of 136 streams, where two are premium channels (Playboy and High Voltage), twenty-one are traffic and weather based channels and nine are sport-dedicated ones. On the other hand, Sirius offers a total of 119 streams, the premium streams not being available. Let's take a closer look now on two -- music and news -- of the categories that the two major satellites are battling. Music streams comparison The number of music streams that both services offer is pretty much the same: 65 on Sirius and 68 on XM Satellite Radio but the difference is not in the number, but in the music genres that the radios offer. Music -- Decades XM is the absolute champion in providing the music by decades because you can listen to the 40's music, service not available on Sirius. Still, you can listen to the 90's hits together with the current hits on Sirius Satellite Radio, which is an interesting feature. Music -- Country "Ride' em cowboy!". Even if you're not a cowboy, you can listen to country-related songs on both Satellites. Classic country or country hits are to be heard as well as alternative country or country mixes, the last two features being available only on Sirius Satellite Radio. Regarding the number of streams that both Satellites offer, XM offers a total of five streams and Sirius offers four, the champion in this category being XM due to the quality and the quantity of music being played. Music -- Rock If you are looking for sex, drogs, and rock and roll, Sirius and XM Satellite Radios can only offer you rock and roll, on a number of 14 streams on XM and 15 streams on Sirius. The rock subgenres are to be found in a large number on the stations, overall each service being very strong in this category. Music -- Dance and Latin If you want to boogie, you can do that on both Satellites, listening to one of the six streams provided by Sirius or four streams provided by XM. Be careful though, because you can become a clubber maniac! And if you're strong enough, the Latin pop stream, Mexicana and tropical music streams can really drive you crazy. XM Satellite Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio offer three streams. Music -- Other genres Regarding other genres, both satellites really look up to their prestige, offering hours of hours of music, from Classical to Jazz, even Urban (Sirius feature). Both stations offer high quality tunes, making it worth all the money. News Streams Comparison Let's skip to another interesting topic, news. CNN, FOX, CNBC, Bloomberg, MSNBC and many more news stations are being offered for listening in different languages. The number of streams is again near-by, XM offering a number of 11 news streams, not like Sirius, which offers 13. Bottom line It's pretty hard to say which station is better, XM and Sirius being tied musically but in news and sports, Sirius holding the edge. To make a little joke, if you are a fan of Stern go with Sirius, if you like Q&A go XM. Anyway, it's hard to say which one is better, but, what can I say is that both Satellites are worth paying for. 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. 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. 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. XM Radio Categories Here are the main music categories that you can find on XM satellite radio broadcasts: The Decades -- songs from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s Country -- classic country hits are at home here, but you will also get a good share of new pop country and blue grass country. Hits -- this is for all hit lovers out there. Packed with Top 20 on Channel 20, the hits XM Radio channels also include some FM channels: KISS FM in LA or Houston's Pop FM station, KMIX. You also get MTV and VH1 stations and if you're in the mood for some popular love songs you can tune into The Heart and Lite channel. Another interesting channel is Cinemagic, where you will be able to listen to all your favorite movie soundtracks without being bothered by commercials. There are also two Christian rock channels and a classic alternative channel. Rock -- XM Radio features 10 commercial free channels dedicated to rock: * Deep Tracks: classic and contemporary hits * Bone Yard and XM Liquid Metal: the first channel goes with classic hard rock while the XM Liquid Metal plays hardcore metal. * Fred: there is a lot of classic alternative music, some 80s alternative rock and punk music * Top Tracks: classic rock tracks * Unsigned: unsigned bands * XMU, XM Cafe, the Loft, XM Music Lab: soft rock, eclectic rock and any other rock type that doesn't fit anywhere else Urban -- rap and hip hop, both modern and from the 80s. Jazz & Blues -- 6 channels altogether out of which four are commercial free Dance -- techno and trance music rules here, but you also get some disco music Latin -- 5 commercial free channels of Latin, Spanish and Mexican hits. International Music -- 5 channels of music from around the world. You might find these five channels a welcomed break from all the music you are used to. Fresh music from around the world is presented daily. Classical -- classical music from both famous and less renown classical musicians. You get the XM Pops, XM Classics, Vox and Fine Tuning. As you would expect, all 4 channels are commercial free. Kids -- Radio Disney and XM for Kids. Excellent programs that will keep your kid busy and happy for a long time. News -- you will get Fox News, CNN Headline News plus other TV related news channels. They feature XM commercials. Sports -- you will get channels like ESPN Radio, ESPN News, Fox Sports Radio, Sporting News, NASCAR Radio. These channels cover most of the important sporting events in the United States but you can also get international sports news here. Comedy -- both family oriented comedy stiles and uncensored comedy bits. These channels are commercial free, which is really enjoyable. Talk & Variety -- there are different talk channels and shows that are really engaging, such as E! Entertainment Radio, ABC News and Talk, Buzz XM, Ask channel, The Power and Family Talk. However, these channels have plenty of commercial time which is a bit of a disappointment from a paid subscription service. Variation and content These are the things both XM Radio and Sirius are after. With over 100 channels, each provider is able to identify and target all the important age and social groups in the United States. When it comes to music, there are extremely specialized channels on XM Radio, so the consumer knows exactly what kind of music they will run into on that particular channel. The kids channels are pretty good and the sports channels are also ok. If you like to get your news TV style, XM Radio's choice of channels is also interesting. The fact that commercials are present is not that bothering, as they are only allowed to play 6 minutes of commercials per hour. However, some of the music channels are kept 100% commercial free, which is good news for music fans who do not want their audition to be interrupted by intrusive commercials. 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. 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. 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. SONY portable receiver Welcome to the world of Sony! In this article we will try to discuss the features of the Sony portable XM receiver, which, by the way, was the first plug-and-play model sold on the market. The gadget is the ideal receiver for people who need a compact and totally portable communications receiver. Although the user interface is pretty out-of-date and the receiver lacks a numeric keypad, the Sony portable receiver is a great radio. Imagine yourself in a James Bond movie, or imagine the good old days, the 1950's, imagine a spaceship with its fine curves, well.. the Sony receiver has it all: the futuristic looks of a spaceship, its utility like any Bond gadget and its state-of-art like the science fiction of the 50's movies. The XM Satellite Radio is an adventure! Although the portable receiver is no longer listed on the market, it is still available in the channel. Below, I will try to discuss the features of three Sony portable receiver models, the ICFSW7600G.2CE7, the ICFSW11S.CE7 and the ICFSW12S.CE7. ICFSW7600G.2CE7 Sony Portable Receiver The price of this model varies at around $200, its frequencies being 150 kHz -30Mhz (LW/MW/SW), 76-108 Mhz (FM). It has 100 memory presets, an audio output of 380 mW, size of 190x118.8x35 mm and the weight of 608 g. The nice thing about this model is that it provides LCD read-out in 1 kHz steps, can be electronically tuned and the frequency can be adjusted on the keyboard. For its modes (AM, SSB, FM) you can listen to stations from all around the world. As additional features, you can use the receiver as a clock or alarm. ICFSW11S.CE7 For $40, this model is a bargain. It has a led tuning indicator, frequencies between 153-279 kHz (LW), 530-1602 kHz (MW), 76-108 Mhz (FM), audio output of 100mW, size of 155x90x33 mm and it weights 340 g. As a drawback on this model is that you can listen to FM stereo only throughout the headphones. ICFSW12S.CE7 Last but not least, Sony is offering a world receiver that is a handy companion for people who travel a lot. It has twin digital clock display and clock controls, telescopic whip, and the unit closes itself when not in use. Regarding technical details, the ICFSW12S.CE7 portable receiver cathes frequencies between 530-1605 kHz (MW), 4750-21750 Mhz (SW), 87-108 Mhz (FM), it has dial tunning, Led tunning indicator, an audio output of 100 mW, size of 111x30.5x80.3 mm and weighs 233 g. The average price is $100. As for car kits and accessories, home kits are available at an average price of $130, the package containing a home dock, a power supply, an antenna, and an adaptor between mini-stereo to twin RCA. If you want to purchase a car kit, you can found one at a price of $129.99. Although it's hard to find one, you can purchase a FM Modulator, if you don't have a car radio with a cassette player. Also, for $64.99 you can buy 50 ft. cable extension, which connects to your home antenna, providing more cable, thus, more space.
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