Wednesday, 25 October 2006

My friend Scott loaned me his XM Satellite Radio for my recent road trip to Minnesota and back (2,000+ miles each direction). Wow. Way Cool.

Nothing makes a long, long drive half way across the country and back bearable like non-stop stand up comedy and 70's era music that just plays all the way across the country. Throw in some CNN, BBC and a little FOX News for balance and let's just say it's a great way to travel.

I went to Minnesota last week to help a friend move, among other things. It's been that and weddings (lots of weddings) recently. The satellite radio - combined with a pair of GMRS handie talkies - made for an enjoyable journey back to Oregon. If you ever drive across the country and your travel companion is in another car, take a pair of 10-mile radios with you and get off Channel 1. You'll be glad you did.

Anyhow - back to the XM radio. This was (believe it or not) my first experience using a satellite radio unit. I've looked at them before, but honestly I have never really liked the form factor of the receivers. On this trip I used the built in FM transmitter to get the audio out of the receiver and over my audio system, since I don't have a cassette player in my car. I wish they could make the transmitters a bit more powerful since I had to change the FM channel on my car radio periodically whenever the frequency selected was in use by a local radio station (too bad there's not a frequency set aside and used for low power in-car type transmitters). But that's really just nit-picking. I guess if I was constantly listening to XM or a similar service in Portland all the time, I'd get frustrated with the FM transmitter since the stations are so many and since they bleed out of band so badly in some cases. But for a cross-country trip it was pretty cool.

I like the ability to take the radio from one car to another, so although built-in receivers would obviate the need for a low power transmitter, that's not really what I'd want.

I noticed that some channels have considerably better fidelity - a compression-related effect, I am sure - than did others. I have been told that XM started compressing a lot of programming pretty heavily early this year, and that Sirius has better audio quality. Anyone done some detailed listening comparisons? I've not yet listened to the Sirius broadcasts, so I cannot compare myself. I know there are differences in programming, as well as a significant overlap in the core channels. Too bad Sirius doesn't have the "decades" channels. I liked those a lot.

Do you use XM or Sirius satellite radio? What do you think and how well does it work for you?

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Wednesday, 25 October 2006 13:30:41 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Thursday, 26 October 2006 08:17:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I've had Sirius for about a year now and I have been very, very happy with it. It is definitely one of those services that is impossible to explain to people (first reaction is why would I pay for something that I can get for free) but when they experience it they are hooked. By the way, Sirius does have decades channels - 6 for 60's, 7 for 70's, 8 for 80's, 9 for 90's and 00's).
Thursday, 26 October 2006 10:56:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I like Sirius better. When I picked up mine, over a year ago, XM did not seem to have the quality of programing that Siri had. I listen to mostly 80s channels or alternative. Gotta Love Satellite!
Friday, 27 October 2006 04:55:46 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I have been using XM for a little over a year, and have been very pleased with it. Cannot compare to Sirius as I have not used it or heard it in action.
Friday, 27 October 2006 17:12:52 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I've always been intrigued by satellite radio but never could justify the monthly fee for my usage. If I was in my car way more on a daily basis or frequently on long road trips, i think sat radio is a no brainer.
Monday, 06 November 2006 21:54:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I listen to Sirius all day at work, I love it. The clarity is very good. We have it sent to a receiver that's hooked up to speakers throughout the store. The channel selection is definitely amazing. I haven't tried out XM yet, but I'd definitely love to hear it. XM seems to have commercials, but it also has more channels than Sirius. Sports and talk seem to be some key points of Sirius.
Sunday, 12 November 2006 21:28:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I'd have to go with XM, but I am completely biased being as I never messed with Sirius but they don't have the programming I now am addicted to (Opie and Anthony & Ron and Fez on XM 202).

Sirius has 2 satellites in space whereas XM just launched #4 - when it comes to reception I'd put my money on XM being the better chouce.
Thursday, 16 November 2006 05:46:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I have had XM service for about a year and a half, since I started regularly commuting from Boston down to NJ and back for a client. It absolutely makes the trip workable.

I listen to the 3 comedy channels pretty regularly, as well as the 60s/70s/80s/90s lineup. The Pops channel(s) are great for my classical doses, as well as Bluesville (blues only).
Sunday, 27 May 2007 19:58:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I just purchased a road tech xm satellite radio and had it installed at my local harley dealership. The power to the xm only comes on when the switch is in the ingnition position only. The radio however will work in either ingition or accessory position. I was thinking the satellite radio should do the same. I may want to park under a shade tree one day and listen to satellite radio, but I sure dont want all my lights burning while I do it or the engine running. I'm curious to know how others are done and if this is right or not...Thanks!
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