Satellite radio has changed my life. I can make such a statement without any exaggeration. Since childhood, music has been the center of my life. I grew up listening to many different genres of music as well as studying the disc-jockeys who presented them on the radio, hoping one day to become one myself. A few years back, before the first satellite radio receiver hit store shelves, I already knew this upcoming format would be a huge success amongst music aficionados who had grown tired of corporate controlled radio and their restricted playlists. XM radio was everything satellite radio was supposed to be. The service tore itself away from the FM radio mold with programming that was fresh and eclectic. It is something that no other satellite or cable music service has yet to match. Of course those of us that have satellite radio will admit that the potential of this format is only marred by its limited bandwidth. This is not the fault of satellite radio, but simply what can effectively be done with the bandwidth that has been allocated to these services. Though satellite radio offers a clean digital signal superior to FM radio, the overall music quality falls short of being up to Compact Disc standard. Let me quickly note that the quality of satellite radio is so much improved over FM that on a decent audio system, the average person would probably mistake it for Compact Disc. As satellite radio has surged in growth its technology has also matured. This quarter XM announced the release of several new products that would surely take their radio subscribers to new limits of listening pleasure. This past week I bought the Polk XRT12 reference Tuner and the SkyFi2 receiver. After using both devices for the past two days I have walked away with some very positive impressions. The most intriguing aspect of the Polk XRT12 is its ability to handsomely integrate itself into your home theater rack -- not to mention the fact that it has optical and coaxial outputs that provide listeners with a direct digital connection that allows cleaner audio with noticeably less signal loss. Having previously owned a modified SkyFi, I already knew how much better XM sounds with optical output. The Polk XRT12 managed to produce the same smooth, natural sound quality I had expected from a direct digital connection. Though audio still doesn't reach CD quality, the Polk unit does manage to eliminate many of the compression issues that can be heard through RCA connections. My only major gripe about the Polk XRT12 is that the display does not support extended character readout. This is a major disappointment when you see the display advances in the Delphi SkyFi2 which has been released around the same time. How could Polk put out such an expensive receiver with display technology that dates back two years? As for the SkyFi2.... Owners of the original SkyFi, listen up! You need to upgrade. There has always been criticism about the original SkyFi radios. They were hard to read in sunlight, had limited character display, and were overall a mediocre decoder device for the XM signal. Delphi has finally upgraded this dinosaur with SkyFi2 which features a vast amount of improvements to enhance your XM experience. On the surface, the SkyFi2 looks and acts exactly like the original model. This a good thing since it is compatable with all the home and car kits currently available. All one needs to do is replace the head unit rather than the cradle. Once you turn the SkyFi2 on, you'll immediately notice that there are some significant changes going on here..... First and foremost, the display now features black text against a white background. This is a significant advantage for viewing under bright sunny conditions. New features include a clock with sleep timer; an informational ticker that scrolls stock and sports scores; a JUMP button that lets you switch back and forth between the last two stations. I saved the best features for last.... SkyFi2 has a built-in FM Modulator allowing playback on a variety of open FM channels if a direct connection to the car's head unit cannot be made. SkyFi2 also continuously buffers up to 30 minutes of programming allowing you to instantly play back any material you may have missed should you have stepped out of your car or listening room. Best of all, SkyFi2 supports extended character displays. You'll now see entire song titles scroll across your screen. How does the audio quality sound over the original SkyFi model? My first impression was that there was no improvement whatsoever....that is, until I learned of a simple "tweak" that significantly boosted the power output. What is that "tweak"? All one needs to do is go into the MENU, turn ON the FM modulation and then increase the audio output. The improvement is startling. Those who cannot make a direct connection to their car stereo will be highly satisfied with the quality of the built-in FM modulater. Tuning to my FM radio I was able to receive a very strong signal. For the most part it was difficult to tell the audio quality difference between the direct connection and the FM modulation -- that is, until I heard brief moments of underlying FM hiss and static. I imagine this can be improved by playing around with the several available open broadcast channels that are being offered. I was very surprised that the FM modulation sounded as good as it did. Trust me -- it sounded very close to direct connection quality. I must be honest -- though I haven't had the time to explore everything that's new on SkyFi2, I can immediately summize that this is a significant and necessary upgrade over the original model. To Purchase... Anyone thinking of purchasing either of these two receivers should consider MYRADIOSTORE.COM Please be aware that this review was not written for the purpose of bringing customers to a retail site. MYRADIOSTORE.COM is not an advertiser of ours and we don't get any kickbacks from bringing customers to them. All the XM exquipment I own in my home/car has been purchased from this website for well over the past year. I have gotten excellent service from these guys and my orders generally show up the next day. Their prices are usually no higher than retail store and it's far easier for me to order over the Internet than to hop in my car to get the equipment I need. I am sure many of you will be purchasing or receiving these new receivers as gifts this holiday season. I look greatly forward to reading your experiences over the nest few weeks. If you have any questions please ask. I'll make every effort to give you a quick answer.