I think it was tennis great John McEnroe who made the phrase “You can not be serious” famous, but he certainly wasn’t referring to SIRIUS and the latest trend in digital satellite technology… Satellite Radio. Any discussion about Satellite Radio just wouldn’t be proper without first paying homage to its digital forerunner, Satellite TV. Since its introduction in 1994 Satellite TV has been the single most successful consumer electronics product in history. It only seems natural that on the heels of such success would come yet another form of digital satellite technology, Satellite Radio.
Satellite Radio squarely addresses the biggest problems associated with current radio technology. FM Radio signals are relatively short range and prone to static. Combine this with a healthy dose of commercials, and you have the makings for some pretty disgruntled listeners.
As far as technology is concerned, Satellite Radio leaves FM in the stone age. Multiple satellites located in geosyncronus orbits above the Earth deliver crystal clear, near CD quality audio signals to wherever you may be. That means you can get in your car and drive across the entire United States while listening to the same radio station. To top it off, your music will never be interrupted by annoying commercials! If you love music, Satellite Radio is a dream come true.
The Satellite Radio scene currently consists of two providers who eagerly compete for your business, SIRIUS and XM Radio. Both companies knew that it wouldn’t be easy to convince the public to part with their hard earned cash unless the value of their product was readily apparent. Having the advantage of starting with a blank sheet of paper, SIRIUS and XM have designed their systems from the ground up to be nothing less than state of the art.
SIRIUS operates from an ultra modern facility located at Rockefeller Center in the heart of New York City. Being in New York was an important part of their mission, as this puts them within close proximity to major recording artists, and disk jockeys. Their custom designed and engineered performance studios are frequently visited by top musicians stopping by for live interviews and performances. SIRIUS programming features over 60 music channels with ZERO commercials, along with 40+ specialized sports, news, and entertainment channels.
XM Radio’s broadcast center is located in Washington, D.C., and includes a 2,600 square foot performance studio for live recording and broadcasts. It is the largest and most advanced of its kind in the world, where artists from all musical genres come to perform exclusive concerts for XM listeners. For regional broadcasting and location work, the Washington studio is supplemented by studios in New York and at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. XM also offers over 60 channels of 100% Commercial-Free music, 30+ channels of News, Sports, Talk & Entertainment, and 20+ channels of XM Instant Traffic & Weather.
Although it’s in its infancy, Satellite Radio is begining to prove that people are willing to pay for what they currently can get for free. XM and SIRIUS Radio have been growing their subscriber base at a very healthy rate. With its roots in automotive sound, the recent availability of new hardware has truly made Satellite Radio a total solution. Walkman style units now allow you to take Satellite Radio just about everywhere, and sophisticated home units are also available that perfectly integrate SIRIUS or XM Satellite Radio into your home entertainment system.
The future looks bright for Satellite Radio. For those who spend a lot of time behind the wheel, the decision to switch to Satellite Radio can almost be a no brainer. The fees are reasonable, and the service and programming are absolutely top notch. The hardest choice you will have to make is whether to go with SIRIUS or XM Radio. All things in life should be this easy.
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