Satellite Wars

Good old Howard Stern, the master of controversy. Seriously, if it wasn’t for his much publicized impending move from “regular” radio to satellite radio, we might not even be talking about Sirius or XM right now. Sirius and XM are the two reigning kings of the satellite radio market right now. So, of course now everyone is asking which one is better? What is the difference between the two?

Well, as the age old debate of Coke vs. Pepsi rocks on, we can now add in the debate of Sirius vs. XM. And it seems the differences are few. Right now the cost for either one is the same at $12.95 per month. You do have to purchase your own equipment also, like the portable personal radio, or the car stereo, or the one for your home, wherever you think you’ll be listening to it the most. And yes, if you want one in your home and your car then you do have to pay for the satellite service to each and every radio itself, but the additional radios are less than the initial radio subscription price. Costs for the radios themselves vary and I would suggest checking with Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, Office depot, Radio Shack, or Wal-Mart (these are a few of the stores selling satellite radios). Or you can refer to their official websites to get an idea of the price and type of equipment that you will need. (www.sirius.com or www.xmradio.com). They both offer access to commercial free music, news, sports, and kid’s programming.

Sirius satellite radio was launched on February 14th, 2002. They are currently valued at 2 to 3 billion dollars. They have around 1.2 million subscribers, and growing. Sirius is based in New York City’s Rockefeller Center, the hub of news, entertainment, dining, and excitement. Their radios are available in several new cars by several different manufacturers. Ford, BMW, and Daimler-Chrysler to name a few. Sirius currently has available more sports exclusive channels than XM, including NFL, NBA, and NHL. There are 8 sports streams compared to XM’s 5. Sirius also landed both Howard Stern and Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart Living will begin later this year, and Howard Stern is due to take over satellite world in 2006. These are two of the reasons for all the current hype about satellite radio, and of course Sirius is hoping to snag many new subscribers with this new upcoming programming.

XM satellite radio was launched on November 12, 2001. They are currently valued at 3 to 4 billion dollars. They have over 3 million subscribers. Their broadcast center is in Washington, D.C. Their radios are also available in several new cars by several different manufacturers such as Cadillac, Buick, Lexus, Toyota, Pontiac, Porsche, amongst others. A few of their exclusive channels are Playboy radio (at an extra charge), MTV radio, Kiss FM from LA, and NASCAR.

So the deciding factor for many people will probably be based on personal preference rather than price or basic content . If you visit their websites you will find the exact news and entertainment shows they offer, and you will find that right now Sirius is offering a 3-day free pass for those who want to sample before they buy. Let’s face it, we all get sick of hearing the never ending commercials on regular radio. And some of us would appreciate a kid-friendly station or an all-sports station or all-news station, etc. The question is-are we willing to pay for that? It seems that many people are. Don’t you just hate it when the DJ tells you your favorite song will be on “following these commercials” and then you are too scared to change the channel, even just to skip the commercials, for fear that you will not tune back in time to hear that song you have just been waiting all day to hear? Well, now there’s more than one solution to that, but the exact choice is up to you.

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