Monday, March 17, 2008

Satellite Radio: XM and Sirius Battle for Your $$$

Satellite Radio is the future of broadcasting

Satellite Radio, in short, can be described as commercial-free music, news, sports and talk shows. Many of the biggest players and events are now available from Sirius radio and XM radio like Howard Stern, Fred Schneider (the B52s), NFL, English Soccer, NBA, NASCAR, NHL, Major League Baseball, INDY, and the PGA.

Satellite radio began in 1992, when the S spectrum was allocated by the FCC to four companies. The two main ones, Sirius and XM paid a pretty penny (in fact almost $80 million dollars worth) to buy a license. Satellite-based radio began on May 15th, 2001 when XM Radio completed their satellite system. Sirius followed shortly when they launched in July, 2001. Since then, expanded products and competition has changed the radio landscape.

While automobile manufacturers started installing satellite radio in 2001 and 2002, most new vehicles come equipped with one now. XM has two satellites (called Rock and Roll) in parallel orbits to cover the mainland US market, while Sirius has three. Both have recently been awarded licenses for the Canadian market.

So what are the differences between the two providers?

XM has a flat $9.99 a month fee with no contracts to sign. They have the latest portable equipment. XM offers some of the best varieties of programming available today. They offer 68 commercial-free music channels; 32 channels of News, Sports, Talk & Entertainment; and 21 channels of instant Traffic & Weather in major metro areas. Here's the latest information of channels:

15 channels of Rock music

11 News channels (Fox, CNN, ABC, CNBC, MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, Bloomberg)

11 Talk & Variety channels (Discovery, E!, Experts & advice, African American Talk, Christian Talk)

10 channels of Pop music & Top Hits

7 Country music choices

7 channels of Blues & Jazz music

7 Hip Hop and Urban music choices

6 different channels of music by the Decades (40's through 90's)

5 Sports channels (ESPN, Fox, Sporting News, NASCAR)

4 Dance music channels

4 World music choices

3 Christian music choices

3 Comedy entertainment channels (adult comedy, family comedy)

3 Classical music channels

2 Kids entertainment channels (Disney)

2 Latin music choices

Sirius offers a $12.95 per month fee and you can pre-pay for a full year for a discount (works out to $9.99 per month). They offer better sports coverage with play-by-play of the NBA, NHL, and NFL. Sirius has signed some great talent of celebrity DJs. Sirius offers 60 channels of music with no commercials, 50 channels of News, Sports, Talk and Entertainment; and 20 channels of 24/7 Traffic & Weather in major cities. Here's how Sirius stack up with their channel line up:

16 Talk & Variety channels (Discovery, E!, Talk for Women, CourtTV, Air America, Gay/Lesbian, Body/Mind/Spirit Talk)

14 channels of Rock music

12 channels of Pop music & Top Hits

10 News channels (CNN, CNBC, Fox, NPR, PRI, C-SPAN, BCC, World Radio, Bloomberg)

9 Hip Hop and Urban music choices

7 Sports channels (ESPN, play-by-play channels)

6 Country music choices

6 Jazz music channels

5 Dance music channels

4 different channels of music by the Decades (50's through 80's)

3 Classical music channels

2 Christian music choices (Catholic)

2 channels of Blues & Reggae

2 Latin music choices

2 Comedy entertainment channels (regular and uncensored)

2 World music choices

1 Kids entertainment channels (Disney)

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