XM vs. Sirius...any preferences?

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by EricSchulz, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    I am looking to buy a new car this spring...probably Mar/Apr, and satellite radio is a "must-have". Anyone have access to both or any preferences out there? I am mostly interested in Europop and dance music, but will need a good 80's station (prefereably with an alternative slant like the Cure, Erasure, Depeche Mode, etc.)

    Any comments or opinions are welcome!
     
  2. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

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    The forum now has a section for satellite radio.

    You would probably prefer XM based on your interests. It has better music channels, with more variety and fewer repeats, including dance and 80s alternative.
     
  3. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    Thanks for the link! Mods, feel free to move this to the proper forum...

    (Admin note: as you wish!)
     
  4. Aldebaran

    Aldebaran Auditioning

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    XM because the "ASK!" channel streams ART BELL all day in a loop and a few other great shows.
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I agree....

    For Howard Stern, sports and talk Sirius
    is probably your best bet.

    However, for music, Sirius stinks!

    XM has a much wider playlist with far less
    repetition.
     
  6. Michael St. Clair

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    Don't tell my wife, she loves the music on Sirius and made me buy a 2nd tuner so she can listen to it in the car all of the time. Her favorite channel is First Wave and she loves that it sticks to the hits. [​IMG]
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    My girlfriend actually enjoyed listening
    to Sirius' The Pulse for the first
    week we dated.

    Now, she complains that she hears the same
    music over and over again every time we get
    in the car.

    This comes from a channel that should be
    playing a wide variety of music of the '90s
    and today.

    Also....

    My co-worker bought his brother Sirius radio
    this past Christmas. I asked him how he liked
    it. I was told that he listened to the comedy
    channel for a few days and kept hearing the
    same "bits" being played over and over again.

    This only proves that the Sirius programming
    philosophy hasn't changed that much.
     
  8. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Same here. My wife considers First Wave all of that. They do a pretty good job with requests as well, in a 2 hour block, you're virtually guaranteed at least 3 or 4 requests.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Michael St. Clair

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    Don't forget News. [​IMG]
     
  10. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    I am trying to decide between the two as well. My interest is classical music. I've heard some XM and am impressed by some of their on-air talent since some of them came from NPR and DC's WETA. How is Sirius? I have a new BMW so Sirius is the "default" for me but installing XM is an option.
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Michael,

    It depends on your music tastes....

    If Sirius follows the programming pattern they
    implement on all their pop and rock channels,
    expect to hear the same music over and over again.
    Sirius music playlists are very tight. They stick
    mostly to familiar music. Even the comedy channel
    plays the same bits over and over.

    This may be fine for some who only want the hits.

    XM is far more eclectic. In addition to playing
    the hits, XM plays a lot of "Oh Wow" stuff that you
    haven't heard in a while. They will reach into the
    vaults and bring out something special. This means
    less repetition of the familiar stuff and a lot more
    variety in the music.

    I have both XM and Sirius. I rarely listen to
    Sirius anymore because I can't handle the constant
    repetition. Some people like it -- some do not.

    Sirius is great for news, sports and Howard Stern.
    XM is better for their music programming.

    My recommendation would be to have XM installed.
     
  12. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    Michael:

    I listen to the classical music quite a lot on XM (I was a conductor and my degree is in composition.)

    I'm constantly surprised at the unexpected things they play. Some very intelligent choices.

    They knocked me out a few weeks ago, however. I was working on a book editing project and needed some TRULY INNOCUOUS music in the background (otherwise my attention goes directly from the work at hand to the music....) Soooo, I put on the New Age channel, what could be less attention-getting than that, right?

    Suddenly, my neck snapped around to look at the XM display. "What the heck is THAT?" Incredibly, they were playing a wonderful composition by Lou Harrison, a brilliant but relatively little-known American composer.

    Now THAT'S depth in playlists. (And unaccountably on the New Age channel, too!)

    Though there are only three classical channels -- let's face it, we're increasingly in the minority of music listeners these days -- they cover a lot of ground.

    PS -- OK. Here's a good example. Right now on the three classical stations they're playing Bayer's Die Puppenfee, George Dyson's Canterbury Pilgrims, and Telemann's Concerto for Four Guitars.
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    As Bob noted above, you'll probably find
    a lot more range in music on XM classical.

    Sirius' Best of Broadway keeps playing
    the same show songs over and over again. My
    Mother even pointed it out during our weekly
    drives to lunch.

    In this area there is another problem with
    Sirius -- dropouts when going beneath an
    underpass or a gas station or bank overhang.
    Because Sirius satellites are higher in the
    sky they can't get under roofs on the road.
    If your area is not equipped with Sirius
    repeaters you will get momentary dropouts
    on the road and complete signal loss during
    gas station or bank window visits.

    Again, this all depends on your area. I
    live 50 miles South of New York City and
    one would expect better coverage here, but
    there isn't.
     
  14. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Ron and Bob, thanks for you input. A good friend of mine has XM and is a big classical music fan and he sings the praises of XM and he was the one that told me that their on-air talent were defectors from local WETA and NPR. I guess being a DC based company, XM knew who to lure in. Funny thing, even though he is big on jazz and classical, the tipping point for him selecting XM had nothing to do with music, it was XM's deal with baseball as he is a big Pirates fan.

    Now I just have to consider what type of unit to buy. I found one that allows seemless integration into my BMW even though Sirius is the official radio of BMW. There is an adaptor that allows XM to fit where the Sirius module would go.

    Right now the only thing that is preventing me from "pulling the trigger" is the subscription model for both providers. I still having trouble with the notion that a subscription is tied to the equipment and not the subscriber. If they were to say "One price and "X" number of units can be activated." I wouldn't think twice. I think most folks would want one for the car and home and they would only be listening to one at a time.
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    It's natural to assume that both Sirius
    and XM are looking to make money and their
    subscription models are based on that.

    XM lets you add an additional radio
    subscription for $6.99 per unit. Sirius
    also has a similar additional radio plan.
    I am paying for an XM subscription in both
    my car and home for about $17 a month.

    I also have a subscription to Sirius,
    though I rarely listen to it anymore.

    The nice thing about satellite radio is
    that beyond the initial equipment cost
    you are not bound to the subscription.
    You can deactivate and reactivate the
    service at any time.

    Let us know how you make out and how
    you end up enjoying satellite radio.
     
  16. Michael St. Clair

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    We have Sirius in 2 cars and never get dropouts under freeway overpasses unless stuck in standstill traffic (even driving under six to eight lanes of traffic...the most we have around here).

    I suppose if I lived in a gridlocked area this could be a problem.

    I just don't want anyone to get a false impression that you will get dropouts while driving down the highway.

    Most of the time it even works at the gas station.

    On the other hand, a friend just bought a brand new Honda Accord with factory XM and the factory rooftop antenna. He has told me that he definitely gets occasional dropouts under some overpasses, including one by our office. The XM satellites are low in the sky to the south, and this is an east-west road, so it makes sense. I suppose if we had a repeater close by that this might not be a problem.
     
  17. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Bob - I have to agree on the quality and variety of classical offerings on XM. I've long been a fan of classical music, but on most classical radio stations you tend to hear a lot of the heavy hitters and relatively little of more obscure composers. I've been very pleased with the variety of compositions offered on XM, as they play much more than Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. I've never even heard of some of the composers they play, not to mention the lesser known works of the more famous composers. It's definitely a wide cross-section of classical music. Without commercials to worry about, you also tend to hear much longer works than you would hear on a commercial radio station. Some of the works I've heard on XM110 have been well over an hour long.

    I'm definitely pleased with the classical music channels on XM, and XM in general. It's nice to see complimentary remarks from an informed subscriber, as you obviously know more about classical music than most of us.

    Steve K.
     

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