Trying to decide between XM and Sirius

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Chris Miler, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. Chris Miler

    Chris Miler Auditioning

    Mar 19, 2004
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    I'm trying to decide between XM and Sirius. I'm looking mainly for use in the house but would consider getting a kit for long trips in the car. I've listened ONLINE to both. Now I don't know if the online sample is the same as they're actual broadcast and have emailed them to ask. Contrary to what I read on this site, it seems like XM (on their online "listen now") plays mostly "safe" overplayed tracks, where Sirius has more divers sets. I listen to mainly upbeat Adult Album Alternative (David Gray, Keb Mo, Nickel Creek), Worldbeat stuff (like Putomayo), contemporary Christian and the more grown up side of Alternative/Indie (The Shins rather than Nine Inch Nails).

    Sirius' "Disorder" station seems to really fit that entire mix. Sirius' "AltNation" is pretty good, but sometimes loud for me. "The Spectrum" is good, but I cannot stand the mix of 70s pop (sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone). So then I listened to XM online for a couple days. At first I really liked the xmCafe (AAA mix) and xmEthel (alternative), but it started to sound boring. XM never played anything new and everything I heard had probably been on the Billboards Top 100 at one time -- meaning it was "safe".

    Unfortunately Sirius' stream is only active for 20 minutes -- hardly easy to listen to for a couple days and get anything done. And I don't know if the XM's online sample is live or very accurate to what they actual play now.

    Last night I sat down and listened to Sirius for a few hours (logging on every 20 minutes) and XM (all the same songs that I heard earlier in the day). I thought I was set with Sirius, but then to complicate the issue more I read that Tivo (which I have) will be supporting XM. Perhaps this is another topic, but helps me to choose, do you have to have a broadband connection to use XM with Tivo? I have a new Mac laptop with a wireless network (Airport) and have no idea how that set up would work.

    Thanks for any insights.
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Hi, Chris!

    I don't listen to the channels you are interested
    in so it will be a little difficult to give you
    specific advice that relates to your music interests.

    You are able to sample Sirius LIVE through their
    20 minute webs streams. That is LIVE as is being

    You can't sample a LIVE XM broadcast. What you
    heard were samples, and that was probably the
    reason why you heard all the repeats. It's the
    same sample being played over and over again.

    I can only tell you this based on my experience....

    Sirius programming is like FM radio. It plays
    all the popular hits over and over and over and over
    again. There's a lot of repetition in the music
    because they play only HALF of what XM radio plays.

    XM on the other hand doesn't play it safe. They
    aspire to keep the music fresh and their playlists
    are twice as large as what you will hear on Sirius.

    You'll hear more rarities and obscurities on XM.

    Read some of the other threads here as well as
    my XM vs. SIRIUS report at the top of this page
    (click on the banner) for more insight.

    Most of all, visit XM411.COM and SIRIUSBACKSTAGE.COM
    to read what members have to say about their
    service -- particularly the channels you like.

    Let us know what you end up going with.
  3. Brent Moonen

    Brent Moonen Extra

    Jan 9, 2002
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    I can't speak about Sirius, but I have had XM for about 3 months right now and I absolutely love it. I have a SkyFi in the car for my hour commute and I use it at work at my desk as well.

    I can tell you for sure that the music selection is very diverse. Not just the channel selection, but on the stations as well. I spend a lot of time listening to Fred and Ethel (as well as Lucy) and hear a lot of different cuts, things I haven't heard in years. Some stations do have some repeats, but typically that is how that particular station operates, like 20 on 20 for example. I wouldn't use the net samples to base your decision since they are the same each time, it just starts you listening at a different point in a 3 hour or so loop.

    I 2nd Ron's suggestion to check out It has a wealth of information and great people too. Much like this forum.

    To sum it all up, next to Tivo (I don't use any of the XM stuff with my Tivo since I have the DirecTivo unit and not a series 2), XM is probably the best piece of electronics gear I have bought in the past few years. I kick myself for waiting this long to get it.

    Good luck!!

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