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Satellite Radio: Tune In or Turn Off?

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the pay-your-monthly-fee-please dept.

Technology 519

Steve MacLaughlin writes: "After nearly a decade of buildup and anticipation satellite radio has finally hit the airwaves. By now you've probably seen a commercial or read an article about the digital satellite radio service. But what is behind all the hype? And does satellite radio have a viable future? To answer those questions Saltire decided to take an in-depth look at the new service's inner-workings, its potential, and its possible future." Read on for more of Steve's look at the current options and future possibilities for satellite radio service.

Satellite radio has been a technology in the making for many years now. In 1992, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assigned part of the S-band (2.3 GHz) spectrum for nationwide broadcasting of a satellite-based Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS). In 1997, the FCC granted American Mobile Radio (now XM Satellite Radio) and CD Radio (now Sirius Satellite Radio) broadcast rights over that band. After several years of tinkering, courting investors and partners, and lining up their content these two companies are poised to finally make satellite radio a reality.

The Players
XM Satellite Radio (NASDQ: XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDQ: SIRI) paid an estimated $80 million each for their exclusive distribution rights to satellite radio. With numerous industry partners and investors these two companies are hoping to become the next giants of the media world.

Washington, D.C. based XM Radio launched nationwide service on November 12, 2001, after two months of regional service. XM Radio currently offers 100 channels (71 music and 29 news, sports, talk, and children's programming). XM Radio has exclusive content relationships with C/NET, NASCAR, and others. XM Radio's most notable auto industry partner is General Motors. Cadillac now offers XM Radio standard on all new 2002 Sevilles and Devilles. XM Radio's service is available for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99.

New York City based Sirius Radio plans to launch their service in Denver, Houston, and Phoenix on February 14, 2002. A Sirius Radio spokesperson told Saltire that their service will be available nationwide by the third-quarter of 2002. Sirius Radio also offers 100 channels (60 commercial-free music and 40 news, sports, talk, and entertainment programming). Sirius Radio has exclusive content relationships with NPR, Hispanic Radio Network, and National Lampoon. Sirius Radio also has exclusive partnerships with DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and BMW. Sirius Radio's service is available for a monthly subscription fee of $12.95.

Although XM Radio and Sirius Radio have their distinct differences there are however some things that that they both share in common. Both services offer similar music channel genres. The big difference being that all of Sirius Radio's music channels are commercial-free as opposed to only about 30 such channels on XM Radio. Both services also share several news and entertainment providers like Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, ESPN, and the Weather Channel.

XM Radio and Sirius Radio have also partnered with many of the same manufacturing partners including Alpine, Clarion, Delphi Delco, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony, and Visteon. One very exciting product is Sony's "Plug and Play" DRN-XM01 model that works in both your car and home stereo system through the use of a $150 adapter kit. The two companies have also teamed up with similar retailers to help distribute satellite radio receivers, antennas, and other devices. These retailers include Best Buy, Circuit City, Crutchfield, Good Guys, and Tweeter.

Just The Facts
According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, 75% of all Americans age 12 and up listen to radio daily, and 95% listen every week. But their choices are almost always very limited. Consider the fact that more than 22 million listeners receive fewer than five FM stations, and the communications industry firm Veronis, Suhler & Associates noted that 50% of all existing radio stations only use one of three programming formats (Adult Contemporary, Country, and News/Talk/Sports).

In many cases, huge segments of the music industry get little or no coverage by mainstream radio. One study indicated that up to 21% of annual music sales come from these totally ignored formats. This is especially true of ethnic music formats like African, Asian, Caribbean, or Hispanic. Combine this with the fact that more than 105 million listeners live outside the 50 largest radio markets and you quickly realize satellite radio's potential appeal.

Too Much Information
XM Radio uses two Boeing HS-702 satellites that are positioned over the East and West Coasts of the United States. The satellites, aptly named "Rock" and "Roll", maintain a geostationary orbit at 22,000 miles above the earth. XM Radio has a third back-up satellite on the ground should something go wrong in orbit.

Sirius Radio uses three Space Systems/Loral 1300 satellites in a high altitude elliptical orbit. Sirius Radio contends that this ensures that each satellite will spend about 16 hours a day over the U.S., and that at least one satellite is over the country at all times. Sirius Radio also has a back-up satellite standing by just in case of problems.

Both companies transmit their signal on the S-band, at 12.5 MHz to radio receivers on the ground. Sirius Radio will use the in the 2320.0 to 2332.5 MHz frequency band. XM Radio already uses the 2332.5 to 2345.0 MHz frequency band. They will also use repeaters in urban areas where buildings and other obstructions may interfere with signal reception.

One On One
Saltire interviewed Chance Patterson, XM Radio's Vice President of Corporate Affairs, to get his take on satellite radio.

  • Saltire - What are some of the key differences between XM Radio and Sirius Radio?
    CP - The biggest difference is that we have a fully developed and deployed system. We have a proven product that's great, and we developed the system with a retail focus, not just limited to the car. But we're not just an audio service. We've recruited the best people in the industry. These people really make our content come alive.

    Saltire - What will it take for XM Radio to succeed financially?
    CP - We figure that we need 4.5 million subscribers to be profitable. There are more than 200 million registered vehicles in the United States. So we need less than 2.5% of all cars to reach that figure. And this doesn't take into account people who only use it in the home. We think the demand is definitely there.

    Saltire - How important is the auto industry to XM Radio's success?
    CP - They are a part of it for sure. We have a full OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) system. We have partnered with GM, and they are also an investor. Right now Cadillac models already have the system. Over the next year more than 20 GM models will have factory-installed units.

    Saltire - What does satellite radio mean for listeners?
    CP - People are spending more time in their cars and they want to be informed, and they want to enjoy that time a little more. XM can do that. If you're listening to the reggae channel you should feel like you're in Jamaica. It's really point-of-view radio.

    Saltire - What does satellite radio mean for traditional radio?
    CP - XM doesn't disenfranchise AM/FM. Terrestrial radio will be forced to get better. Talk to the audience like they're older than 12 year olds. Talk to me about the music. Talk to me about the world when [the song] was written. That's what listeners really want.

    Saltire - But will people really pay for satellite radio?
    CP - People said they'd never pay for cable television because TV was something they already got for free. Look at how that turned out. We're going to do the same thing for radio. The difference is that we already have all of the infrastructure. The one-millionth subscriber doesn't cost more than the first one. We'll offer better quality, less commercials, and more choice. We believe people will pay for their passions.

Word On The Street
Saltire solicited the unfettered opinions of individuals in the technology, radio, and automotive industry.

  • What do you think satellite radio means for advertisers?
    "I think it can potentially be very good for advertisers. Specifically, by dividing the content available into so many categories, advertisers can probably make better assumptions about demographics. For example, XM Radio offers a dedicated NASCAR channel, dedicated BlueGrass channel, etc. The targeting is more granular than conventional radio where most stations do a little of everything, music, news, weather, traffic, etc. This should translate to more effective advertising potential for advertisers. That said, some of us are and will be willing to pay for commercial free options - I sure am." - Jason Foodman, technologist and Vice President of Business Development, Aladdin Systems

    Why do you think satellite radio has the potential to be a big success?
    "Abetted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that relaxed ownership restrictions and made possible the creation of media behemoths, conventional radio programmers unwittingly sabotaged their own stations through pernicious cost-saving programming trends such as corporate-level programming, format duplication and computer automation. The result: bland, boring, sound-alike radio stations from town to town, up and down the dial all across America, which drive away listeners in droves. That's good for satellite radio services like XM and, soon, Sirius, since listeners may eventually find their way to satellite radio." - Michael Saffran, radio industry veteran and Senior News Specialist, Rochester Institute of Technology

    What does the auto industry really think about satellite radio?
    "Everybody in the automotive/telematics value chain is excited about it. Well, maybe not everybody, but I've just been doing some interviews on a satellite based telematics project, and everybody I've talked to at OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, cellular carriers, really likes the idea of satellite radio. I get the feeling they want this to work, if only because it lets them get a foot in the car door with subscription-based services." - Thomas R. Elliott, Vice President of North American Consulting, Strategy Analytics, Inc.

The Bottom Line
Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio agree that the market is big enough for two players. But as both services ramp up they need to find a way to stay in business. XM Radio recently reported a third-quarter '01 net loss of $70.8 million. Sirius Radio reported a net loss of $57 million for the same time period. XM Radio just announced financing to operate its business into the fourth-quarter of 2002. Sirius Radio has also publicly announced that they have enough cash to last until the fourth-quarter of 2002.

To succeed both companies will need the support of the auto industry, and quickly. Getting satellite radios installed as standard equipment will help to build their subscriber base. The current $300 to $400 conversion cost might be a bit too steep for most consumers. Also, current receivers only support a single format (XM or Sirius). Future AM/FM/XM/SR models should also help boost more widespread usage.

Finally, there is enough content overlap to keep subscribers to either service happy. Perhaps the biggest decision is whether or not you want ads with your music. Sirius Radio's commercial-free music service can be yours for just $3 more each month than what XM Radio charges. The immense variety of music and other content should be a big hit if consumers can just find an easy way to get their hands on the technology. And reports of its CD-quality audio can only help to increase satellite radio's popularity. I'm still waiting to hear it for myself. Stay tuned.

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Has Allah blessed me ? (-1, Troll)

Junis_from_Kabul (542067) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693795)

With the fsrit po55t?

Re:Has Allah blessed me ? (-1)

kahuna720 (56586) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693813)

congrats. perhaps Jon will write another article about you in light of this wonderful achievement.

How are you gentlemen ? (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693800)

All your slashdot editors [faggotry.com] are belong to us !!!

wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693803)

I never actually thought I would ever get one, but wow, my very own first post

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693804)

YEEEHAAAAH!

Turn it on (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693810)

Turn it on
Turn it on and all the way up
Turn it on

Who cares? (1, Insightful)

vought (160908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693815)

With in-car MP3, XM and Sirius are headed for the same landfill that Iridium and Ricochet are in, namely, great technology that solves no problems.

What a waste!

Now if someone could just get my trash bin to the street on Wednesday mornings without my involvement...that would be weinning technology.

Re:Who cares? (1)

mancuskc (211986) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693847)

You are completely correct.

The whole world has NEVER paid for radio - (well, except indirectly through the TV license in the UK) If advertising revenue can't support it, like terestrial radio, it's dead in the water.

Re:Who cares? (2)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693867)

With in-car MP3,

I would extend that thought to include wireless access to IP, and therefore eventual ability to have nonstop streaming of any mulitmedia content on the web coming from your car's dashboard.

When you can instantly access any song ever recorded, why would you still pay to subscribe to a service that only gives 100 streams where someone else is picking the songs?

Of course it will be long time before that is a realistic option in places like Montana. So for those areas, MP3 is a great option if you don't mind doing the downloads yourself, otherwise it might be worth $10/month to have someone else choosing your playlist for you.

How about an in-car MP3 Satellite Stream Recorder! (1)

QuietRiot (16908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694029)

With in-car MP3

Perhaps they could offer a function by which you could turn a song you just finished listening to into an MP3 which you could listen to later.

I'm not sure how they could charge for this service considering it's a one-way communication link .....

But having an in-car MP3 recorder always recording with a back buffer of 5 minutes or so could come in handy for adding to that MP3 collection of your s the song you just heard!

I love hybridizing technologies!

Re:Who cares? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693899)

You couldn't be more wrong. I think that the analogy to cable television is right on. Your MP3 collection is static and it is something that you have to maintain. Why not sign up for something dynamic, fresh, and engaging?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693938)

Dynamic, fresh and engaging?

Where does your cable come from? Mine always seems to be filled with crap...

Re:Who cares? (1)

copec (165453) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693900)

I'm willing to pay $10 a month compared to the crap we get around here... I like just turning on and listening to the radio when its not crap.

I think alot of people feal the same way as well, I have alot of mp3's, but yet I still like to listen to the radio.

Re:Who cares? (1)

McD!ck (444861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693924)

I only wish that normal radio were headed to that landfill! I HATE homogenized radio!

"And now back to N-SYNC, Britney, and other people who can't play a real instrument if we held a gun to their head, on Star. Don't worry, we won't play anything that might make you think."

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

amccall (24406) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693943)

Truck Drivers, Audiophiles, "Gadget People", people who like to drive cross country(or need to).

I spend roughly 1 and a half hours in the car each day. Listening to a single set of mp3s, even a large one, can get tedious.

Then there is talk radio, which I imagine is going to be a large application of this thing. 24 hour Rush Limbaugh Marathons(...what joy...), still I imagined listened too. More selection, less trouble dealing with media/mp3's. Station not playing what you like, pick another. Then there is news, traffic reports(I don't know about localization, but I imagine it's possible), weather, and such - which just can't be taken with you.

Anyway, just because you don't see applications, doesn't mean that noone is going to buy it. Remember, people still listen to radio, not just CD's.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693945)

I would hardly call these services "great technolog[ies] that solves no problems." These firms are trying to bring good audio content into a consumer electronics device. Free radio in my town sucks, and I already pay to listen to music (CD's and cable modem for other formats).

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693946)

"
With in-car MP3, XM and Sirius are headed for the
same landfill that Iridium and Ricochet are in,
namely, great technology that solves no problems.
"

The problem with that statement is, how are you ever going to find anything new? Eventually, you'll get bored of the same old same old. There's another
response to this message to the effect that wireless ip
could fix this, but the range of it is too low at this point.

Reason to care: Your music is lame (2, Insightful)

Mdog (25508) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693977)

Seriously, the point of the radio is to get exposed to new music. Call me a teenie-bopper, but I have discovered shit that I like by listening to the radio.

I Care! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693990)

I spent Thanksgiving week driving from Santa Cruz, CA to Death Valley to Grand Canyon to Sedona to Meteor Crater and back. There were a lot of dead spots, where satellite radio could fill in, if the broadcasts can cover such a large area. In particular, I was insensed that there were about 200 stations carrying Talk Radio while Nebraska was being spanked by Colorado, and (though not a grad of either school) being a big College Football fan, there was just an ESPN station which filled the gaps with updates. I'd really go for a service like this for continuous following of music, sports and news when driving. Even clear channel stations get lost in nearby mountains. I think it's great.

The only downside I see is the monthly subscription fees. I just don't want another tap into my wallet. Pay it once or get advertisers to foot the bill. I'm OK with ads, so long as they don't get old or insultingly lame.

sattelite radio (2, Interesting)

dmallery (150862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693816)

i live in a very remote area of western new mexico. the only local radio is in navajo. you can get one or two bubble gum stations from gallup. before primestar, i had to listen to the bbc on s/w for news.

i'm ready.

Re:sattelite radio (1)

S. Allen (5756) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693981)

You and maybe 10 other people in the boonies. That's not going to float the billion or so a year required to keep these loons in business.

I wanna wear diapers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693819)

Do you wear Pampers 6? They rule

I love the smell of a fresh disposeable diaper being placed against my skin, and I like to see the young girls lift up their dresses and show me their diapers, you know?

your vcr is messed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693865)

I found your homemade diaper movie

Sat. Radio (1)

Kronik Gamer (518652) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693824)

I believe that if these companies can get enough support from he customer market, that both will be viable standards in the future. I like the idea of being able to move around the country while not having to worry about switching between channels. This will probably be a major selling point for sat. radio, and barring any major outages, should keep the customer happy.

S Band (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693825)

Both companies transmit their signal on the S-band, at 12.5 MHz to radio receivers on the ground

Shouldn't that be 12.5 GHz?

Re:S Band (1)

dave3138 (528919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694003)

Sirius Radio will use the in the 2320.0 to 2332.5 MHz frequency band. XM Radio already uses the 2332.5 to 2345.0 MHz frequency
It takes 12.5Mhz of bandwidth in the S-band segment. 2332.5-2320.0 = 12.5

I'm in... (2, Interesting)

Byteme (6617) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693827)

Only if I can get every college radio station from accross the country that I desire on my presets. Until then I'll stick to CDs and my MP3 player.

Commercial radio sucks big time.

Re:I'm in... (3, Interesting)

micromoog (206608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693878)

The whole point of this is the large number of channels. Commercial radio "sucks big time" because there are only 3-10 or so stations in each market, so they must appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Satellite radio opens the possibility of having separate channels like "death metal", "doom metal", and "speed metal". This level of granularity beats even the best college radio stations (unless what you REALLY want is local music, in which case you should just buy the CDs to support them anyway).

Less interesting that it used to be (5, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693829)

Five years ago, this would have been the coolest thing in the world. Imagine being able to commute in the morning an listen to music instead of a pair of DJs chatting. Sure, you could pop in a tape or CD, but that can be a pain.

Now, it's not quite so interesting. The early adopters have been, at least in part, co-opted by car MP3 players. If I had a long commute, you can bet that's the direction I would invest my car audio dollars.

Of course, there is still a significant market for them, but it's just a little harder to get people excited about it than it would have been a few years ago.

Audio books & Howard stern on the road... (2, Troll)

disc-chord (232893) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693956)

I completely agree. I can't see myself investing in an XR or SR tuner when I have already put money into my car mp3 player. Especially when my car Mp3 player can do so much more than either of them can... such as playing pirated audiobooks. In my experience no long comute is complete without an audiobook to take you along on your journey.

Plus my mp3 collection has gotten larger than most radio station archieve's... so I'm not exactly hurting for new musical content.

The killer app of satalite is more apt to be something we can't already get. Such as Howard Stern live (or delayed for the west coast). You can grab it off the newsgroups a day late... but it's not the same thing as listening to it live. And considering how limited his and other radio personalities' markets are, satalite could bring them into alot more homes/cars.

I've been doing alot of traveling in new england lately, and haven't been able to hear howard since I left NYC. I would be more than happy to pay $10-20/mo to get Howard and other original content anywhere I go. But not just for music... you can find music everywhere you go in North America already.

Re:Less interesting that it used to be (2, Insightful)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693974)

There are only a few things that I would actually pay to hear on the radio:

News/Sport? There's almost always a news station somewhere on the AM or FM dial. No need to pay there.

Music? I rarely listen to any music station. I have enough MiniDiscs in the car to keep me happy (just like the previously mentioned MP3 players).

Sporting Events? If I'm going to subscribe to sporting events outside of my local coverage I'd rather spend my money on a Satalite TV subscription. How many games am I going to want to listen to in my car? Plus, most of the stuff I listen to I can get free over the web (Ipswich Town FC) or if needs be can pay $30 to Real/MLB for a season pass to any baseball game.

For me, that leaves unique/niche shows. If I lived somewhere where Stern wasn't syndicated I'd think about dropping some cash to listen to him. Thankfully I live in DC, so I get that for free as well.

As someone has already pointed out, its a nice idea, but I think the satalite radio companies have overestmated the demand out there for thier service. They'll have to come up with something above and beyond simply reproducing the radio experience over satelite to get lots of people to fork over $$$.

Just my $0.02

Re:Less interesting that it used to be (1)

Mr_Matt (225037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693988)

You know, I agree with this person, and I'm not trying to flame him/her, but there's a statement in there that just kind of irks me:

Sure, you could pop in a tape or CD, but that can be a pain.

Why is it that paying $10/month for radio, advertising and all, is less of a pain than "move hand to CD rack, pick up CD, put CD in slot, push play?" I find it amazing that the Western World will go to great lengths to avoid any inconvenience, especially tortuous ones like inserting CDs into slots. :) Besides, with the "granularity" everybody's talking about, what you'll end up with is a radio that plays fourteen different kinds of bluegrass on fourteen different stations - continually hitting the "next station" button to find your favorite flavor has to be at least as much work as putting in a CD, right? :)

Coverage (2, Insightful)

mini me (132455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693838)

In many cases, huge segments of the music industry get little or no coverage by mainstream radio.

Lucky them!

Seriously, if this technology is just an overglorified radio, what is the benifit? If they provide radio stations with content the people want to hear (like non-mainstream music in all genres) then you might have a winner.

Of course if this frequency is ideal for wireless satellite broadband internet access then get the radio off it immediately! You can stream the radio over the net if you have to.

Re:Coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693983)

...Well, 100 channels sounds like a lot of potential content. My local radio has about 20-30 stations, many of which are really similar. What if I could get three stations that played jazz, or 10 stations that played different slices of "rock"?

Re:Coverage (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694041)

If they provide radio stations with content the people want to hear (like non-mainstream music in all genres)
here's something people seem to be missing. MOST people like mainstream music, thats why its mainstream. This bland programing is there because people listen to it, and call in to the station.
Is this sad, yes. But then since most people never learn how to think, its not surprising.

So the question is, will sat. radio get enough oney from the niche markets to survive long enough to become a realistic option for mainstream listeners? I imagine once there put into all cars, it will be an option they throw into your payments schedule, then it may have a chance. of course all the popular sat radio stations will sound like current radio stations, but I don't really know how to end the sentence.

Cartman (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693839)

Cartman was a pioneer in satellite radio. Out his ass.

XM radio (5, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693841)

There's been lots of coverage of their system in the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] . Look for stories by (former) radio reporter Frank Ahrens. He likes XM

If you liked WHFS back in the day, one of their former dj's now works for XM.

XM handles signal fade in cities by putting repeaters up all over the place.

Re:XM radio (1)

S. Allen (5756) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694004)

They're getting all this coverage from "journalists" who's desks and cars are sporting fancy new *free* XM sattellite radios. It's not like it just became an interesting topic.

Hey, stupid moderator (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693846)

Are you sitting here patiently awaiting a troll? I know you are. You're just sitting there, foaming at the mouth. I hope I can moderate down someone's posts! I'll be so cool! Well listen, I'd hate to get you down on your little power trip, but some of us are on dialup and can randomly change our IP address to something else. Sure, it's all in the same subnet, but it's still very fun to do. Hey, isn't today Wednesday? Why aren't you at work? Don't you have anything better to do? Linux sucks. Natalie Portman. Hot Grits! Diapers!

License? (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693849)

Do the satellite companies need to obtain a negotiated license to "broadcast" these songs over this medium? I was under the impression that once you charged a subscription fee, ASCAP licenses were no longer valid.

60 channels of music... (3, Funny)

wangi (16741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693851)

Of the same music! Damn, America has two types of music - Country and Western!

Outside of radio markets (5, Interesting)

ManualCrank Angst (541890) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693853)

You in the big cities and even you in the more heavily populated rural areas may not realize what this means. But ask anyone who has driven across Montana, Wyoming, and one or both of the Dakotas: There are literally miles and miles where you cannot get any radio at all. I'm not saying "nothing but talk" or "nothing but Hat Act music". I'm saying literally NOTHING.

For this reason, I'm guessing that satellite radio receivers would be a big hit in Ryder/UHaul trucks. It would also keep them from having to reprogram the radio settings at every location.

Re:Outside of radio markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693982)

You should read the comment before you post. Did you notice the part about sirius's music channels being commercial free?

Gwad, I cant belive the crap that moderators upvote...

Even the ACs are on crack today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2694026)

He didn't say anything about commercials, you idiot.

Question about reception (2)

astrashe (7452) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693857)

I live in a high rise. My windows are on the North, and in every other direction, including straight up, there's a lot of steel.

Would I be able to receive XM signals? I can't get satellite TV, obviously.

I love radio, and would buy XM in an instant if I knew it would work. But I haven't seen very much information on reception. Most of their marketing and FAQs seem to be aimed at people in cars and trucks. I like to drive as much as the next guy (more, probably), but I'm just not on the road that often.

San Diego Blues (1)

McD!ck (444861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693871)

San Diego is so devoid of radio competition that we have 1 independent radio station worth listening to. The rest of our stations are Clear Channel or clarity or something corperate radio. Sure we have some PBS action and all that stuff, but no real choices when it comes to blues, rock, techno/electronica/trance/goa, alternative, etc. I am going to get XM radio installed if only for the divirsity of music that we SHOULD have already! Why can't I just like what everyone else likes?

Maybe that is why I am here. . . ;)
Does anybody have any realworld experiance with XM?

digital radio? (2, Interesting)

Graff (532189) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693872)

I would love this if they were broadcasting in digital radio. It would be cool to be able to have song titles listed, have the quality of digital, be able to search for a particular type of music or song being played, etc. If it is just analog then I'm not so sure if it will take off.

It's digital (3, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693973)

I don't recall the format though. But it does have the option of listing the titles. Haven't heard about searching, but the stations will be divided by genre.

Opening the door to car-based subscriptions? (2, Interesting)

quistas (137309) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693876)

"I get the feeling they want this to work, if only because it lets them get a foot in the car door with subscription-based services."


So car manufacturers want to adopt practices of other industries? I find it hard to believe that there's a great consumer need out there for car-delievered subscription services, since the vast majority of car owners spend such a limited (if regular) time in their cars that it doesn't offer the value DirecTV/cable/DSL/etc offer.


Further, the car's considered a big, expensive appliance, like a washing machine -- customers aren't going to spend extra monthly over the life of the car for something like leather seats. I think the potential market the car makers are trying to tap into is extremely limited, but look towards their attempts with fear.


-- q

I will NOT pay for XM. (5, Interesting)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693877)

I will not pay $10 a month for the 'right' to listen to more commercials. I pay $40 a month for internet, and get spammed from them. I pay $80 a month for Directv, and get more "special offer" channels instead of more movies in DD5.1 GM's OnStar deal, more cost the car, and when your 'free trial' runs out, there's another monthly fee, otherwise, you paid for some electronic gizmo in your new GM car that won't work in 5 years, and another route for more spam, crammed down our throats, on systems that WE are paying for.

And don't give me that garbage about "your monthly fee only covers infrastructure costs, someone needs to pay for content." I don't buy that for a second, if I pay for a service, don't cram ads down to consumers. That's why I am using a pay service to begin with.

This doesn't offer me anything that I don't get with free FM (which is financed by commercials, fair tradeoff). CD quality? Big deal, I can throw an mp3 player in my car for cheap these days.

They will fail and blame "poor market conditions" or have some other excuse for not making money. Funny how noone says "We didn't use common sense" as an excuse.

Economic Viability (1)

krez (75916) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694025)

Let's take a look at the internet as an example: how many of you would be willing to pay for, say cnn.com, or google, or even /. as a service? Have "content providers" on the internet learned a lesson that applies to satellite radio?

I personally think it's neat, but I can't see myself paying for something that doesnt in any way "help" me.

Re:I will NOT pay for XM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2694036)

But you get a different product than with FM. Sure FM is free, but what if you want to listen to hip-hop (real hip-hop, with it's broadcast unfriendly "adult" language) or real Latin music (and you live in Maine)? I can't hear the Cure on the radio where I live ("Friday I'm in Love" doesn't count). Maybe I'll pay for it.

Let's finish the job (5, Flamebait)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693883)

Can we finally rid the world of the middleman now? We have:

  • A limitless supply of artists
  • A limitless supply of music fans
  • Ubiquitous medium (satellite radio)
  • Music sharing services (Morpheus, etc...) and payment services (PayPal, etc...) that can be improved to be secure and can be coordinated to allow music fans to pay a fair price (read: far less than $17 per CD) directly to the artists.
  • A corrupt, outdated system in which the artist gets screwed at the time the contract is signed, the fan gets screwed at the checkout counter, and the industry's trade association lobbies for (and receives) absurd laws with draconian penalties that ensure a limitless profit stream for its minions

Someone please stop the RIAA before they ask their cronies (the gummint) to pass laws making it illegal to hum tunes to ourselves?

I predict: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693915)

that Hillary Rosen is logged in right now and she has mod points. You will be -1 Flamebait in no time.

weather permitting... (1)

jodonn (516010) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693884)

So what happens when the sky's overcast? Will the signal get lost like satellite TV? With terrestrial radio the signal only breaks when I drive under a mountain.

Re:weather permitting... (1)

Ledge (24267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693955)

Your sat line must be a lot crappier than mine. The only times I lose my signal (DSS & DirecPC) is when there is a LOT of water molicules in the air. Namely, only during really bad thunderstorms and blizzard snow conditions.

Re:weather permitting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2694027)

If you are losing your DTV signal with overcast skys, your dish is not pointed right... I have had one for 6+ years now and I only lose signal for a few minutes (as in 2-3) only during the worst of thunder storms maybe 3 or 4 times a year. Thats far far far less than the service interruptions with the local cable company.

It's not the music that will sell this. (2, Insightful)

markx16 (214251) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693885)

I see the greatest appeal in satellite radio in talk radio/news/sports, live content that you wouldn't be able to get(or at least reliably or from a consistent source) if you're on the road.
Plus, like with satellite TV, it could help you get shows from other parts of the country you'd otherwise be unable to get.

Plus, not everyone has the time or inclination to upload their music collections to mp3.

truckers (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693887)

They compare themselfd to pay tv.
I think most people enjoy watching tv more then litening to the radio. How many people want to get together and listen to the big game? ~0.
Most people are in there cars for less then 2 hours a day, almost all of them neve leave there radio area. Contray to what he says, Most dense population have a wide variety of radio programming.
The only potential market I see is truckers.

I do have an idea that would make this successful, I just don't know if it would be acceptable under current regulations.

Cruising for local radio (2, Interesting)

Tetsujin28 (156148) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693889)

For me, one of the joys of long car trips -- like DC to Boston, or DC to Denver -- is scanning for interesting local radio. Especially weird local talk radio. Same sattelite radio stations, coast to coast? Boring! No sattelite radio for me!

Re:Cruising for local radio (1)

Mondrames (242558) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693962)

Ah, but then you forget the stretch from Denver to LA - one spot in Utah or nevada (if forget) there is one (1) radio station. AM. Country Gospel.

My brother's Doors CD that I had grown sick of in PA suddenly grew in popularity.

Drive from Denver to Vegas (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694014)

Few, if any, radio stations on that stretch of I-15. Ditto for the Vegas to LA run. Good stations in Vegas, but once you are over the ridges there's little or nothing.

The $30 question is (4, Interesting)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693894)

I refuse to pay for extra receivers. THink about it. 2 receivers for your two cars (if you're married or very rich :) ) plus at least one receiver on teh Home AV system. Will it still be $10/month? If so I'd sign up - seems worth it. Or will I get charged another $3-$5 for each additional receiver? I've been a DISH subscriber for years and it just irks me to have to pay $5/month for each extra receiver for additional rooms/TVs. It makes me feel like I'm getting less value.

Nope - from XM's customer agreement:

b) Multiple XM Radios. If you add additional XM Radios to your account, you may purchase a separate subscription for each one (see Section 5).

That's $30 a month - no way in the world am I paying that - sorry.

How long before ads? (1)

conan_albrecht (446296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693895)

Cable TV had this approach at first: premium TV with no ads. While some stations had ads, most were commercial free. Seems like deja vu here.

How long before satellite radio is no different from cable TV? Sure, it's available everywhere, but the presence of ads every 1/2 hour keep me on NPR.

FCC rules & regulations (4, Interesting)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693904)

Do the same FCC decency rules & regulations apply for satellite transmissions as they do for AM/FM? It would be sweet to listen to uncensored talk radio (imagine what Opie & Anthony [opieandanthony.com] could do on the air....). I think that would be the killer app for satellite radio.

Re:FCC rules & regulations (2, Funny)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693965)

Back a couple years ago Howard Stern was talking about switching to satellite radio, to get around the FCC decency rules. I'm not sure if the rules have changed, but I would guess that since it's a subscription-only service that the FCC decency rules would not apply.

As for your Opie & Anthony comment. Ugh.

Re:FCC rules & regulations (1)

S. Allen (5756) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694037)

hell, I pay for cable and I still can't get Howard Stern uncensored on E!. damn damn damn.

XM (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693907)

Most car stereos have the ability to expand into XM Satellite recievers, as per the article, (including mine). The reciever costs more than the Stereo did, but I know that there are some great satellite radio stations out there (come on, you know you want to listen to Reggae).
Does anybody have experiance with these? How well do they work? How much does it cost per month (if it does). The main thing I see is that the stations should never fade out.

These are easy to hack (4, Interesting)

WaIter Bell (542911) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693918)

One of my buddies bought two XM radios last week and has been very happy with them. In fact, he cracked them open and found that he could "clone" his subscription onto the second radio by copying a serial EEPROM chip. So now he is offering it as a service: he will clone an XM radio onto another one for $50 and he is making a tidy little profit off of friends and neighbors by cloning his own subscription, so that they get the service for free. [microchip.com]

In retrospect, XM should have really considered a smartcard system like that of DirecTV [directv.com] . Those are crackable but they are a lot more difficult. Putting the authenticator on a damn EEPROM chip was just a stupid move, and it is certain to result in large-scale piracy.

~wally

That was my first thought . . . (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694048)

How long before it gets hacked?

I really ought to read up on them, but how are the units "enabled" when you buy a subscription? DirecTV has the phone line as a means of communicating, but I would assume these are receivers only.

$300 is a lot to pay for a radio. Yeah, no commercials (for now), and less station surfing, but a big fee upfront and a monthly fee? How long till the radio is free with a 2-yr subscription?

NPR without pledge drives (1)

FocaJonathan (163913) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693923)

  • Sirius Radio has an exclusive relationship with NPR
  • Sirius Radio?s commercial-free music service can be yours for just $3 more each month than what XM Radio charges.

How about NPR with out pledge drives. WBUR in Boston already offers a "Sustainer" program where they bill your credit card monthly. If you join you should get to hear NPR without pledge drives, now that would be technology solving a problem!

Re:NPR without pledge drives (1)

KoshClassic (325934) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693963)

This is a brilliant idea - if some local non-profit / pledge drive oriented stations (like KCRW here in LA) partnered with these guys to bring subscribers some type of solicitation free listening on their stations they'd really be on to something... IMHO a lot of these non-profit stations are vastly superior to commercial radio but every few months they do a pledge drive and listening to them can get almost unbearable...

Its the content, stupid.... (3, Insightful)

KoshClassic (325934) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693929)

The bottom line with the success of these services will be a) Is the content actually good, where they'll play a song even if it isn't on a major label or performed by Brittney Spears, or am I going to have to listen to the same 75 songs programmed by mindless corporate drones over and over like I have to do on FM today? b) If they actually get part 'a' right, will they last long enough financially for word of mouth to help them achieve critical mass?


On a technical note, does anyone know the capacity of these systems in terms of the number of seperate channels they can offer?

Which one is Microsoft supporting? (0, Offtopic)

Mdog (25508) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693934)

Because I'll look into getting the other :)

Now, many of you may see this post as a flamebait or a troll, but I'm being serious. You vote with your dollar too.

Dinner Poll (0, Offtopic)

Burritos (535298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693935)

What are you going to eat for dinner?

Please be honest. Thank you.

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email jamie@mccarthy.vg.

Single DIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693937)

Is there a Single DIN reciever out there that will allow people w/ double DIN cars and an AUX port on their Head Unit to benefit? I don't want the Star Trek looking sony thing on my dash...

Got XM. Love it. (2, Interesting)

RocketScientist (15198) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693942)

I have an hour commute every day. Combined with the occasional roadtrip, and I like having XM. When you add in the total suckiness of radio here in Kansas City, where we have one "All Pink Floyd, All The Time" station, one "Classic Rock" station and a whole crapload of Britney stations, some "Easy Listening" stations. No alternative. Not even any modern rock. They all suck.

I've got the pioneer equipment. It works well, it doesn't cut out, it sounds great. There are lots of stations with lots of different kinds of music.

I got it installed right before an 18 hour road trip. There's nothing like having music piped in for 9 hours at a stretch with no commercials and not having to change stations because "Another Brick in the Wall" came on AGAIN.

(Pink Floyd put out 20+ albums, why do radio stations insist on playing The Wall over and over and over again?)

The installation is painless, very similar to installing a remote CD Changer in your car.

Things I wish they had: Some kind of smart-card-ish way to bring a receiver into my house that doesn't cost as much as Sony's solution.

I'm very happy with the system right now.

-rs

The fate of these birds.... (1)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693950)

Will be similar to Motient's (formerly American Mobile Satellite) birds. XM Radio's beginnings actually spawn from AMSC. Some pretty top notch telecom guys in this area went to AMSC, and XM... These guys have been successful selling wires, buy can they sell birds? Hmmm...

They'll be re-positioned over Africa or some other third world nation providing them an instant communications systems, that otherwise, would be torn down by gorrillas (fighters).

If you look at their sales forecasts, they're in the thousands, in reality, should be 100's. They need millions to be listening. These birds are very, very expensive.

There's another service coming down the pike called AirTV... It's digital satellite TV broadcasted directly to Airplanes. (The EM-Wave theory has to account for the differing altitudes, Ionisphere and all that. It's complicated stuff). It was complicated in figuring out how to broadcast to moving targets... With Satellite TV, you've got to point your attennas at the birds.

Even if every /.'er got the service, it still would'nt be enough.

I hope I'm wrong, and that it works out.

Re:The fate of these birds.... (1)

Ledge (24267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693986)

Isn't the airTV thing already available in some form? I recently saw a program regarding the construction of Airstream corporate jets. In that, they mentioned that the aircraft had satellite TV service. Not sure of any details beyond that.

hackable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693960)

how long before this service is stolen? Who knows anything about the technology? I'm guessing you don't have to hook it up to a phone line...

I would NOT pay monthly for this... (2)

Controlio (78666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693975)

Sure this is great technology and all, but why should I be forced to pay $10/month for music I can get for free on regular radio? Sure it's not digital quality, but for the most part it's good enough. Plus, this new "digital satellite radio" can't be as robust as regular analog radio. What's going to happen everytime you go under a cement overpass or are sitting in a parking garage? Is my new fabulous digital solution going to "skip" 50 times on my average daily commute? Sorry, digital quality audio just isn't worth it if this is the case.

What's more, when I decide I want a song in digital quality, that's what I have my car minidisc deck for. I have an optical connection from my computer to my standalone minidisc recorder, and I record digital music (usually MP3s) to my heart's content, and take the minidisc into my car. Even in mono (~150min) it sounds absolutely perfect on my car stereo (6 speakers, 1 sub).

If they made a flavor of Satellite Radio with commercials that was FREE, then I might consider getting a satellite receiver. Until that time, I can't imagine getting one. In fact, when I hear my friends talking about getting a satellite radio, I chime in "Are you really going to pay $10 per month for radio?" and they immediately respond, "They charge a monthly fee??" It'll be interesting to see how much of the wow factor will wear off when people go to their car audio shop and find out there's a monthly fee for a car stereo.

I only see two ways for this to really take off. One option would be to add an extra $250 or $500 to each new vehicle pricetag, to act as a sort of "down payment" on the satellite radio service. That way, at least you get two years (or four) of the service "for free" with your vehicle purchase, and after that time you can decide if you want to stick with it or not. The only other option I see, is to stick some commercials in the service, and offer a free alternative. Put ads on the LCD, regular audio commercials, whatever is necessary... but I can guarantee you this, I would never, ever, pick up one of these stereos if I knew I would have to pay $10/month indefinitely just to USE that incredibly expensive receiver I bought. No way.

US lagging again?? (2)

martin (1336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693980)

I hate to brag but we've had Digital radio in the Uk for a while now..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/digitalradio/

Of course we have slightly less red tape to go through, but it's interesting wrt to broadcast/cellphones how you guys in the US seem to lagging behind other countries. I guess making the frequencies available is the main problem??

XM radio, same bad music as local radio (1)

DeMorganLaw (543089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693984)

Satellite Radio really does not provide any more advantages than regular old FM band Radio. For 150$, and 12$ a month I doubt I will be any happier than I will with what is on the free airwaives right now. No radio station will ever appeal to the music I want to hear without mixing in crap half the time. The fact is, the best DJ in the world is yourself, I just burn the songs I want to listen to onto a CD and when it gets old I burn something else from my library of MP3s. Grow a spine and start listening to the music you like, don't put up with the crap that these radio stations want to feed you as trendy or cool.

"Hype"??? (2)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693985)

I've heard about satellite radio on and off for at least five years now, but there was no "hype" (directed towards MY demographic at least :-\ ). IMHO, satellite radio is great for people in out of the way places or who are on the move all the time, but is this a large enough market to justify the amount of money it takes to pay for upkeep?

7 Dirty Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2693991)

Since this is a pay service, will the FCC still force ban the so called "7 Dirty words" or will this be like what HBO is to cable television?

This succeeds if it is sold in the car lot. (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 12 years ago | (#2693996)

This needs to be sold like leather trim, and alloy wheels...

Wrap it into the cost of the vehicle and put it into the monthly payment. (And come up with a "lifetime price" like $300 dollars).

In the course of a few years you will start seeing tons of new subscribers....

Yes and No... (2)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694001)

I honestly believe that people will pay for such a convienence.
I personally would love to have music playing that doesn't cut in and out while I'm driving a long distance. Or trying to find a good radio station that doesn't play country way up in northern vermont or maine.

And no advertisements! yes, yes, yes!

But the real question is this: "Will the satelite radio compainies get enough subscribers to sustain themselves"

This is very important and should really be looked into first. I mean, so many wireless internet companies failed. We just saw @thome go under just recently, and they had a LARGE customer base.

Regretfully, very few companies could pull this off. And I firmly believe that the only ones who will, are the ones that are already established such as Time-Warner or Microsoft. They already have the capital and the means and they can suffer the losses that will incur for the early years of this new business cycle. Not some startup.

Rock and Roll? (2, Funny)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694006)

So if they have to put two more satellites up, will they be named Sex and Drugs?

Pricing (1)

chicagothad (227885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694012)

XM Digital Radio? Does it really matter if it is digital? My freakin' Chevrolet Cavalier [chevrolet.com] is so damn loud even my CDs sound like crap. Why would I ever shell out $300 buck plus a subscription for one of these!

I don't see that many people signing up for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2694016)

I think there is a market for good radio. It's getting harder and harder to find with all the big companies buying up all the stations in markets and then using their computer generated charts to divide the market up. I don't see 60+ channels as the solution though, you still have to produce really good radio and then get people to buy it. Any more, I like a few DJs that I've listened to for years and think that it's just about perfect if it wasn't filled with so many commercials, I like the local feel. I'm not sure how you do that with national broadcast satellite radio.


The news stuff sounds kind of compelling, I could see some people going for that but $10-$12 a month seems a little too pricey seeing as how I can get probably 40 stations on my radio here, for free.


If you live in the middle of the west out in rural country or if you live in your car as a sales person it might be nice to have continuous stream all the time but that's not too many people.


A better interface is also needed. That's a different problem though but a big part of it in a car.


How many people pay for DMX?

Talk (1)

mblumber (267394) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694017)

I wonder whether WestWoodOne will allow their talk to go over XM. I can't listen to Don and Mike and it's driving me nuts.

I want a Kerbango instead (2)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694021)

I would rather that 3Com bring back the Kerbango I wanted for months and months (I pre-ordered it from Amazon as soon as it was announced) and it was canned before it was released -- a victim of 3Com's Internet Appliance division. With CDs, car MP3 players (such as a 1,000 song iPod) and 5 AM talk radio stations, who needs Satellite Radio? I would have loved to have the 1,000s of channels of Internet radio from a Kerbango sitting on my desk instead.

Very old news here. (1)

Sarin (112173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694022)

I live in Europe and have digital satelite receiver pointed at the Astra and HotBird satellites. I receive about 700 digital radio stations here for over a couple of years now - what's the big deal? Well some stations do not have any commercials and stuff like that and they sound very clear, but most likely they're inside some subscriber program.. luckely I can upgrade my seca decoder with new codes, so there are no costs involved. Nonetheless I don't listen to the radio, I'd rather watch one of the dozen discovery or national geographic channels.

Backup Satellite? (1)

shlamo (541027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694030)

"XM Radio uses two Boeing HS-702 satellites that are positioned over the East and West Coasts of the United States. The satellites, aptly named "Rock" and "Roll", maintain a geostationary orbit at 22,000 miles above the earth. XM Radio has a third back-up satellite on the ground should something go wrong in orbit."

A backup satellite that is earthbound? Hmm.. that's like having a backup harddrive lying on the floor next to your computer.

Where's my Rivo? (1)

daves (23318) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694031)

What I really want is a product that record scheduled audio programming of interest and syncs it to a portable player. The source of the audio is not important.

one place it will do good..... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694040)

is country clubs and resturants.
$10 per month is not a bad cost to get comercial free music pumped into your business.
no more tapes etc.

also, the car is probably the best place to put this system as well. the dealer can give you this option and with it, your monthly subscription is roled into your car payment. yes, you are paying for it, but psycologicly you don't feel it.

Is iPod the answer to every story these days? (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694042)

Seriously, with iPod (or any MP3 jukebox) and a little cassette adapter, my music worries are over. OVER. No need for satellite or any other radio.

What I would pay for in my car is 100% reliable, commercial-free newscasts from BBC, NPR, and CBS News. Just the news, not the music. Someone make that happen for a lower price, and I'm there.

Centralized Radio. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2694043)

Sounds like Clear Channel Communication's wet dream. Each of these companies has complete control over their airwaves and has no obligation to let other content providers into their markets. Say goodbye to any sort of programming diversity-- if the satellite owners don't like it, it gets the boot (or more likely never makes it on the air).


So we get one hundred channels, each with a ten-hit playlist selected from the latest releases that the labels want to move. Great.


I'd like to see an upside to this, but I'm not sure if there is one...

I'd get one but... (1)

MarkusH (198450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694049)

the receivers are just too expensive. $10/month for subscription isn't terrible, but I am not going to pay $300 dollars (and those are the low end versions) for just the hardware (stereo system not included).

Now, once the receivers get down to $50-$100 price range, I'll consider it, but not until then.

Awesome! (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 12 years ago | (#2694050)

Another American satellite communication that Canadians can hack legitimately!

Keep 'em coming America! We _love_ your kindness towards us!
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