Sirius vs XM Radio

Okay, so your two big choices for service are Sirius and XM.

CHANNELS

I believe XM has a wider selection, but Sirius did a good job of quality channels, rather than quantity. They both have the same types of channels and your standard stuff(ESPN Radio, Decades, Genres, etc) but if I were to pick out the big difference makers they’d be:

XM
-PGA Tour
-MLB
-College Sports
-Opie and Anthony
-XM Live (live concerts and whatnot)
-Playboy Radio(?)

SIRIUS
-NFL Network
-NHL Games
-Howard Stern
-Jam On(Jambands, Dead, Phish)
-MaximRadio(?)

See the similarites/differences? You can also browse the Channel Listings for both here:

Obviously what swayed me was Jam On, NFL and Stern. Plus a friend had gotten it recently and highly recommended it over XM.

SERVICE COST

XM
12.95/mo
$142.45/yr (1 month free)
$271.95/2 yr (3 months free)
and up to 5 years,but the savings isn’t rediculously better as you go up.

Sirius
$12.95/mo
$142.45/yr (1 month free)
$271.95/2 yr (3 months free)
$499/lifetime

So cost is essentially the same but Sirius has the edge with the lifetime plan. But…

The lifetime plan for Sirius (which would seem like the logical choice if you’re like me and money is no object icon_cool.gif ) comes with a bit of a hitch, although not a bad one. The Lifetime plan is good for the life of the head unit you purchase from Home Depot. So when the head goes, the plan goes. Since this is newer technology, this could be a problem.

But, if you purchase the extended warranty from Best Buy, Sirius will allow you to roll over the plan to up to three heads for a rollover fee of $75. So, if you purchase the warranty, you’re good to go unless you start hucking the head into nearby ponds and whatnot.

HEAD UNITS
I went with the Sportster, which is basically the head and a car mounting setup. With this product, the head is portable and feeds into your car stereo via an FM signal boost. Works pretty well, but make sure you have ample room in your car around your dashboard or it will look awkward.

In order to use the Sportster indoor, you have to buy the additional home kit, which is an extra $50-$60. In order to obtain a strong signal, you have to face the antennae out a west-facing window(for my area in other parts of the country you face it other directions) I had the problem of a west facing window not really being close enough to where the head unit was going to be, so mine had to go outside (it’s an indoor/outdoor antennae)

Now, I bought a sick new Alpine stereo for my car last year and one of the perks was that it was Satellite Radio ready, meaning it had the jack in the back of the deck to install the Satellite component. But what you DON’T get with a Sat Ready Alpine(or JVC Kenwood, etc) is the portability. So keep this in mind if you’re also in the market for a new car stereo. All you need is an FM tuner and the Sportster head works fine.

SETUP

Can’t seak for XM but Sirius was very simple. A magnetized antennae that sticks to your car and a mounting cradle that either suction cups to a window or sticks to your dash with an adhesive. Once you put it all together, you call the number and purchase the plan of your choice and within 30 seconds, I was listening to Phish Halloween ’98 show.

Sick stuff.

All in All, it ran me $179 for the Head Unit and Home/Car mounts, plus the $499 for the Lifetime subscription. If you buy the Warranty from Best Buy, it will be about $40. So, get your credit card ready, it’s not a cheap product once all is said and done.