The future of satellite radio?

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Tim Holyoke, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    I've just started looking at satellite radio, so I don't know much about it. But I was wondering, for you with lots of experience and knowledge about it, where do you see it 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now? I ask because I am considering investing in Sirius or XM.

    From the little I have looked into it, I think they will definitely both be around for years to come. I think the market has more than enough customers for 2 or more players. But I wonder how profitable they will be? How many costs are involved from their end? Will XM and Sirius cut prices to try and get more customers? What do you think about the future of satellite radio?

    Tim
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Tim,

    As long as these companies can keep their
    heads above water, satellite radio is here
    to stay.

    The concept is a no-brainer. People have
    grown to hate FM radio. Satellite radio offers
    about 100 different music channels that cater
    to an individual's taste.

    Pending on how installed, the sound quality is
    better than FM radio, very close to CD quality.

    Satellite radio is now being made available
    through most major auto manufacturers. This means
    that people buying new cars will already have
    XM or SIRIUS installed in their vehicle with the
    option of activating it for a small monthly charge.

    Advertising for XM and SIRIUS products are at
    an all-time high. Open any electronic circular
    and you'll see many different kinds of units
    offered for both home and auto.

    The BIG question is which one should you invest in?

    Well, I invested in XM Radio. I have heard Sirius.
    and definitely feel XM has an edge as far as
    content is concerned. I also like the fact that
    XM carries CINEMAGIC, a channel that plays non-stop
    movie soundtracks.

    The problem as of late is that XM has beefed up
    their commercial play on certain stations,
    particularly the ones I listen to, the 70s and 80s.
    These commercials at first were no big deal. But
    listen to the channel all day long like I do and
    you'll hear the same tired commercials playing
    every 15-20 minutes.

    Sirius has no commercials. However, I didn't care
    for their stations as much as XM. XM has a lot
    more personality to it. I like the DJs better and
    I like the way they really make their decades
    channels sound like you are back in the day.

    XM has a much larger subscriber base than Sirius.
    However, I fear that unless XM Radio gets rid of
    their commercials, people are going to pick Sirius.
    Let's face it -- nobody wants to hear commercials
    on a music service they are paying for -- expecially
    if there is an option not to receive them.

    At this point, I would recommend XM. It's the
    "grandaddy" of satellite radio. It's $3 cheaper
    per month than Sirius, and if you add a second
    unit to your auto or home, the additional cost is
    only $6 more monthly. In the long run, XM Radio
    is cheaper (unless there have been recent price
    revisions).

    Some say that Sirius can't survive without
    adding commercials. Who knows if they ever will
    have to. Some say XM Radio will bite the dust
    if they continue to add commercial play. That
    could very well be the case.

    It's a tough decision, but I give XM radio the
    edge here.

    Let us know how you did.
     
  3. David-S

    David-S Second Unit

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    (I'm not a stocks person, I just read some of the info because it's one of the best ways of learning about trends)...

    From what i've heard, both companies need between 2-4 million people to break even, and begin making a profit (XM is actually the higher one, because it has a larger debt at the moment)...

    www.siriusbackstage.com has an investor's section, where you can learn more about the financial side of things...

    But just for comparison, satellite radio has the quickest take-up of ANY commercial media (DVD, VHS, etc) yet... and that was with only 1 company for the first 9 months (which, along with their OEM car subscribers, are the major reasons for the current larger market share... from what i've heard XM and Sirius are actually running about equal in retail purchases recently...)

    ps: Sirius also offers a 6.99 for 2nd-4th subscriptions [​IMG]

    You also get 1 month free if you sign up for a full year (not sure if that's on the multiple subscriptions or not)
     
  4. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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  5. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    OK, thanks for the help guys. I originally wasn't even planning on getting one for myself, just investing in the company [​IMG] . However, I was just looking through the Circuit City add, and they have a deal on Sirius setups that seems like a good deal to me. http://weeklyad.circuitcity.com/circ...9&clicksrc=01& . Maybe I'm reading it wrong (probably), but from what I could figure out, it's $100 for the receiver, and $50 for each home or car kit, plus you get a $50 mail-in rebate if you buy 2 kits? So basically you buy 1, get 1 free kit? If anybody can explain this for me, I'd really appreciate it [​IMG] . Thanks a lot.

    Tim
     
  6. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    Here's the same deal, on the Sirius site: http://www.sirius.com/servlet/Conten...=1066068006527 . I guess now I have to figure out what receiver and kits to get. I have no idea what to look for, it looks like for receivers it's either Kenwood or Audiovox? As for the docking kits...I've not a clue. Any help is greatly appreciated, and if I'm overlooking a FAQ on this site, sorry, please point me to it. Thanks a lot.
     
  7. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Definatley go with the AudioVox PNP 2. Make sure to get the second one. If the store doesn't have it in yet, you may have to wait a few days. The PNP 2 fixes the problems that the PNP 1 had. The display is also larger. The PNP 1 is good, but the PNP 2 is an improvement in many ways. I wish I had gotten that one instead of the Here2Anywhere. They are both nice units though, so if anyone is considering the H2A, because they like the size or shape, then go for it. It performs equeally well.
     
  8. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    Thanks.
    1) So all I need to get setup is the receiver http://www.circuitcity.com/detail.js...rk_0&oid=81412 and a docking kit?
    2) So the antenna is with the docking kit?
    3) What are my options for the docking kits, it looks to me like either the SIR-CK1 or SIR-CK2 for the Audiovox receivers?
    4) How much space do they take up or where do most people put them?
    5) How easy would it be to take the docking kit out and put it in another vehicle?
    6) If I have a docking kit at home and in my car, I can use the same receiver with both?

    Thanks a lot [​IMG]
     
  9. DennisF

    DennisF Extra

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    In terms of performance, both companies have about the same nominal market cap at $2.3B.

    Both have OEM deals with auto-makers. GM (XM) started installing their sat.radio offerings with the 2003 model. Word is that about half of the "1,000,000" XM subscriptions sold were OEM trial subs. No idea how many of those stuck.

    Ford and DC (Sirius) haven't started their OEM installs yet so you don't see those numbers in the subscription base.

    Personally I prefer Sirius as a service.

    Financially, I think Sirius has more upside. But you have to realize that both of these services are risky in their dependence on space. Lose a satellite and you have a huge hit on the bottom line. I wouldn't expect regular profitability in the first 5 years. But I also think they're here to stay.
     
  10. David-S

    David-S Second Unit

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  11. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I will say this as an investor, and not a user.. Sirius, financially, has a better upside at the moment. XM's pre-installation base has already been figured into the stock value, whereas Sirius expects to get a "jump" next year as Ford will roll out expeditions and other SUVs, including all Lincoln models, with Sirius. Those aren't cumed in, so Sirius will have better "blockbuster" news next year, and like it or not, a lot of investors invest irrationally about "current news of the moment" and Sirius has more of those kind of announcements next year then XM.

    Sirius also has one other advantage: their North American scale ability is better; Sirius works in farther places (like Jamaica, about 200M into Mexico & Canada) whereas XM does not. This opens them up to a wider potential user base, and is something XM is not currently considering an expansion to.
     
  12. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Ron,

    I know you are a huge XM Fan. And I'm sure you know I'm a huge Sirius fan. But I am more than that. I am a Satellite Radio fan. I want both companies to succeed, because FM radio sucks big time. Each company has it's own set of strengths and weaknesses. I like the fact that Sirius is hits based, and commercial free. I also like their hardware! But I like some of the channels that XM has, such as Cinemagic, and I also like the fact that they dig a little bit deeper on some of their channels. I don't think I would like that on all of them though. I also think I would like the fact that you can call in requests. If I had the money, I would get XM in addition to my Sirius account. Then I would have more variety. And I am sure I could find several other channels I like on XM in addition to the ones I already know of.

    I read some of your recent posts at XMFan.com mentioning that you were considering switching to Sirius, because of your frustration with the commercial load on your favorite XM stations. I would urge you not to switch, but to get both. If you don't want to pay for two services, then you could even switch for just a little while, and then switch back. I know people that do that.

    I would also urge you to join the community at Siriusbackstage.com. The Backstage seems to be more friendly than XMFan is, in general. At XMFan, most people who post anything favorable about Sirius will get a rude reply, even by the moderators. At Siriusbackstage, many of the regulars, including the moderators, will reccomend both services to anyone who isn't completly satisfied with Sirius, or to anyone who just wants more variety, and many of them have both services themselves. I am satisfied with Sirius myself, but I sure wouldn't mind having some more variety. 200 channels/streams would be awesome. So I encourage you to consider getting a Sirius account in ADDITION to your XM account.


    Sirius has good deals on hardware too. Right now you can get thier brand new AudioVox Satellite Radio Shuttle PNP 2 for 74.99 if you purchase it from Circuit City. 74 bucks is the web price. Check my recent reply to the previous thread if you want to go this route. They will also release a boom box that the PNP will plug into.
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Joshua,

    Thanks for this information.

    I am a HUGE XM fan. I also have an open mind
    towards SIRIUS -- especially since I am fed up
    with the commercials that XM is playing these
    days.

    I'm just not sure I want to have an additional
    monthly subscription on top of my XM Radio
    subscription on two units.
     
  14. BenK

    BenK Stunt Coordinator

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    I had XM radio awhile back. I liked it initially but grew tired of the commercials and sound quality to me was just ok. I could hear the compression in alot of the channels which I didnt like.

    A few weeks ago I tried Sirius and like it alot better. Sound quality to me is clearer and more dynamic. Best of all with no commercials. Plus Sirius has three satellites compared to I believe XM's one which I'm sure helps.

    Either way I hope they're both around for awhile improving upon each other. I'm also hoping other companies join in cutting costs and making improvements. But I definitely think the format is here to stay.
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Can anyone else actually confirm that Sirius
    radio provides better sound quality than XM?
     
  16. David-S

    David-S Second Unit

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    I've never done a head-to-head (I only have Sirius), but Sirius has noticeably improved its SQ recently (they've apparently been codec tweaking)...

    There are quite a few people on siriusbackstage who feel sirius has the edge, especially in the highs (XM, IIRC, caps at ~15 kHz, while sirius doesn't)
     
  17. David Broome

    David Broome Stunt Coordinator

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    Unfortunately, the 'quality' issue is far to subjective to give a definitive answer. For every person who has done a head-to-head and liked Sirius better, there is a person who has done a head-to-head and liked XM better. I fall in the XM camp...
     
  18. DennisF

    DennisF Extra

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    I keep hearing that there is an issue with Sirius sound quality. There isn't. Most of the time Sirius SQ is very good.

    Recently it has been variable: some of the time fantastic like a good CD on a good system; other times you get odd compression effects. What is causing the variations is the Sirius engineers playing with the digital codecs. They are getting ready for a major upgrade and doing other things that aren't publicly acknowledged.

    Comparing sound quality between the two services is impossible right now because there is no fixed SQ level(s) to compare. XM makes improvements occasionally; Sirius is doing a lot of it right now. In general they're about equal, and over the long term will remain so.

    Best ask how the services compare to other sources. In general, better then FM, not quite as good as CD (although in an auto environment that difference is hard to appreciate).
     
  19. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Sirius really does good work with their bandwidth (IMHO) some channels get compressed down, and you can tell (sports, news, etc.) which is OK by me [​IMG] I like ESPNRadio all the same.. and some channels always come through sounding fantastic (like the 80s, my wife's station) in some cases, Sirius is as good or rivals any CD we can put in the deck.
     
  20. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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