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Satellite Radio's Grinchy Holiday


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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 19 2006 - 06:40 AM

Very interesting article posted Here

Seems like satellite radio is finding itself in an end-of-year sales rut.

As an owner of XM radio and one who often keeps tabs on Sirius
through friends, I am not as satisfied with satellite radio as I
once was.

While nobody can argue that satellite radio offers a wide range
of program choices that will satisfy any purchaser, the overall
sound quality of satellite radio has gotten so bad that I tend to
favor listening to CDs during my daily commute.

The only reason I listen to XM these days is for Opie and Anthony
and to keep on top of new music that I ultimately download and
burn off the Internet because the 320kbps quality is so much better
than what XM broadcasts at (which is approx. 192kbps or less).

Even the sonics of FM radio sounds equal to or better than satellite
radio. The only thing stopping me from sticking with FM is of course,
the commercials.

Unfortunately, the complaints I have are overshadowed by the
majority of subscribers who seem to care less about the quality
of audio that emanates from their tiny speakers.

Of course, this is an opinion that has been discussed in a prior
thread posted within this forum area. I just tend to agree with
the referenced article that many people still have not found a
reason to migrate over to a subscription based radio service for
obvious reasons.

In a way, I'm hoping on an eventual merger. Though I dread the
fact that Sirius would control music programming, the upside would
be the combined bandwidth that would enable CD-quality music on
every channel. Satellite radio could finally promote itself as a service
offering the best digital content and with sound quality that rivals HD-Radio.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 6 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted December 19 2006 - 08:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein
Unfortunately, the complaints I have are overshadowed by the
majority of subscribers who seem to care less about the quality
of audio that emanates from their tiny speakers.

What's the point of it sounding great, if there isn't anything worth listening to? For me, content is king.

And even with all the channels they have right now, there are still some pretty big holes that they still don't fill.

Quote:
Of course, this is an opinion that has been discussed in a prior
thread posted within this forum area. I just tend to agree with
the referenced article that many people still have not found a
reason to migrate over to a subscription based radio service for
obvious reasons.

People are very reluctant to pay for a subscription service in general, I think. Unless they feel they need it. With radio, it seems to be a hard sell for a lot of people. I know a lot of people who have been interested in it, but the monthy fee seems to turn them off. Yet, people pay more for cable.

Course, when things like DC potentially losing the last classical station in town, people may not have a choice if they want the content they are looking for.

Quote:
In a way, I'm hoping on an eventual merger.

With each other? Probably won't happen. I think they probably both need the competition, just like DirectTV and Dish need each other.

Now, mergers could happen with other companies. Personally, I think Sirius could be a big target for that eventually, with all the high priced talent and deals they have.

Personally, I'd be fine if XM continues to be a niche. At least then they could stick by their programming guns.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael Harris

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Posted December 21 2006 - 07:46 AM

I have been very satisfied with my XM subscription. Of the vast number of channels, I seem to gravitate to just a few - the three classical (though I don't like the fact that Pops pumps out Christmas music during the holidays), Cinemagic, and XM Comedy. I have some rock preset as well as Bluegrass and that is about it. This service has been a Godsend for all my long 6+ hour drives. The classical and Cinemagic are the primary reasons I went to XM in the first place, especially since the DC area is grotesquely under served in the classical market.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 21 2006 - 09:53 AM

Michael,

No doubt, satellite radio is a godsend for commuters, interstate
travelers and people like yourself who live in cities that don't offer
all types of music.


Getting back to the XM/SIRIUS merger discussion....


A really terrific follow-up to the above mentioned article can
be found

Allow me to copy a small portion of that article...

Quote:
Should XM and Sirius Merge?
By Mac Greer

I recently talked about the future of satellite radio with business guru Seth Godin, technology commentator Bob Cringely, and Fast Company co-founder Bill Taylor.

Seth Godin: A merger's a must
Seth Godin is the author of seven best-sellers, including All Marketers Are Liars and Small Is the New Big.

Mac Greer: Seth, both XM and Sirius continue to lose money. What do you make of the marketing efforts of satellite radio these days?

Seth Godin: Well, I don't own any stock, and I don't think every day about stocks, but it is inconceivable to me that those two guys aren't going to merge. If there was ever a synergy in a merger, there it is, because then they don't have to keep fighting with each other for content and for subscribers. They both invested heavily at training a generation of people to expect that radio needs to be the way that they are delivering it.

I think the challenge they have -- and if I am an investor for the long term, what I would really want to know is -- how long before I have Wi-Fi radio in my car for free? Because once there is Wi-Fi radio, I don't get 100 channels, I get a million channels, and it is free. As cities start to blanket themselves with Wi-Fi, and the cost of a Web browser on a chip gets down to a dollar, I think that is pretty inevitable, and the question is, is it two years away or 10 years away? Because if it is two years away, then that is the end of satellite radio.

Of course, there is more to be said in the article and I suggest a read.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Ronn.W

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Posted December 23 2006 - 03:18 AM

I'd be fine with a merger as long as they still kept XM and Sirius seperate as far as programming goes. I agree with most of the comments regarding audio quality, but I'm still a content listener. The quality is not as good as I'd like it to be, but the content more than makes up for it, IMHO. I would be all for anything that raises the quality, as long as the content does not suffer.

The thing that I like about radio, whether it's satellite or terrestrial, is that it's not my programing. Sure, I can put a kick ass system in my car or home and play my stuff on it, but I've always felt that becomes a rut. Great sound, same content. And, since it's all mine, there are no surprises. One of the great things about radio is the surprise factor. When you hear that new song that knocks you out, or you hear the song you haven't heard in 10 years that you forgot about. Not to mention the chance to hear music you originally dismissed when it came out that now, years later, you end up really liking. You know what I mean. We've all had those experiences.

I'll always be a radio listener, no matter what medium it's carried over, as long as the content is there for me.

I don't think wi-fi is going to be the great satellite killer. There aren't enough major cities blanketed by it to have a customer base for radios yet, and even in cities that do have total wi-fi coverage, the coverage basically sucks. I don't see this changing anytime soon. Not this year, not next year, or even the year after that. There are major cities that can't even get full cell coverage; how do they expect to get full wi-fi? Maybe not the best comparison, but I think it's still a valid point.

And again, we're talking about major cities. Or at least "large enough" cities. What about everything in between? If you live in the same city you work, it might work out. Satellite doesn't (in theory) have dead zones like that, where as wi-fi will. For long commuters (or people who travel for a living) the dead zones are always going to be there.

Don't get me wrong, the above is more of a stream of conciousness on wi-fi than a criticism of it. I think it will be viable one day, but not one day soon.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted December 23 2006 - 09:44 AM


Quote:
I'd be fine with a merger as long as they still kept XM and Sirius seperate as far as programming goes. I agree with most of the comments regarding audio quality, but I'm still a content listener. The quality is not as good as I'd like it to be, but the content more than makes up for it, IMHO. I would be all for anything that raises the quality, as long as the content does not suffer.
My sentiments exactly.



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