XM vs. Sirius

Discussion in 'Community' started by FelixDerKater, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. FelixDerKater Contributor


    Apr 12, 2002
    Nirgendwo in Amerika
    Does anyone have experience with either of these satellite radio services? If so, do you have a recommendation on which is the best?
  2. SiliconAddict macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Well I've had XM for 2 years now. Its hard to say which is the best since I've only had XM but I love XM and from what I understand its the frontrunner in the sat radio wars. Also I believe it is supported by more extensive hardware. They even have a XM boom box now where you take the receiver out of your car and slap it into an boom box housing which IMHO makes it way more useful. Right now I'm paying $10 a month for 100 channels which rocks. They do payments in quarterly installments instead of actual monthly $10 payments. Doubtlessly someone will mention that Sirius is commercial free. This is true. XM has a few commercials but they don't go overboard with them and its not on every channel consequently XM is 3 bucks cheaper then Sirius.
    At some point I'm most likely going to upgrade the receiver in my car to a detachable face so I can take it with me and plug it in elsewhere. I don't like being constrained to listen to my sat radio only in my car.
  3. McToast macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2003
    I do not subscribe to either, but have looked at both out of curiosity. I can tell you right now XM would be my choice over Sirius any day.
  4. Danger! Will macrumors regular

    Danger! Will

    Jan 30, 2003
    Phoenix, Arizona USA
    XM sounds ALOT better but I think Sirius may have slightmore more talk programming.
  5. Awimoway macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2002
    I have used XM for two years, but my brother has Sirius so I have been able to compare. I like Sirius better, and if I get the chance I will switch.

    XM Pros:
    • Cheaper monthly subscription rate.
    • Stronger market presence (more likely to survive).

    XM Cons:
    • They have been selling bandwidth to cell phone companies to make ends meet. Consequently, the sound quality has gone down. I can attest to this because I have to crank my volume a little higher now that I used to.
    • One of XM's partners is ClearChannel. I can't help but think that the playlist is less open-minded as a result. And anyone with a brain or a conscience should hate Clear Channel. Ironically, in my case this is almost more of a plus, though, because the station I listen to most is Fox Sports Radio, which is actually a Fox product in name only--it is owned and run by Clear Channel, and you can't get it on Sirius.
    • No NPR stations. This is very important to me.
    • Commercials
    • XM's headquarters is in Washington, DC. Sirius' is in NYC. Guess which station is more likely to have better in-studio guests, better culture, etc.?
    • XM does not have any stations dedicated to live sports event broadcasts. Sirius does, including the NFL.
    • XM has one generic Weather Channel station. You have to listen for 20 minutes until they get to your region of the country. Sirius has individual stations for each region. I don't think the Weather Channel radio stations work very well on either system, but I think this is indicative of the greater amount of thoughtfulness and customer service coming from Sirius.
    • Finally, and this one is hard to descibe but is extremely important to me, XM screws up its music-format stations. They will take a genre and instead of playing what the audience wants, they will go overboard in trying to push the boundaries of how the genre is defined. The result is that you hear a lot of crap that you don't want to hear when you tune in to a certain kind of station. For example, the indy music station will mix in a lot of rap that has no place there. The bluegrass station will mix in a lot of contemporary pop country music that has no place there. I hate it. Sirius doesn't screw with you like that. That and NPR are the chief reasons why I will soon switch, even at the cost of my favorite station.

    Basically, my impression is that Sirius is more customer-oriented. Or, to put it in SAT format, Sirius is to Apple what XM is to Microsoft. ;)
  6. McToast macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2003
    The Killer Channel for me between both services is the BBC. XM offers the *full* BBC World Service, with is full range of news, documentary, entertainment, music and drama programming, while Sirius only offers the BBC 24hr News only channel.
  7. Illmatic macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2003
    I've had XM for almost 2 years now and I wouldn't consider changing to Sirius regardless of commercial free radio. I mean seriously most of the commercials are so damn fast you don't even realize that they are on. As was already mentioned the XM Boombox is out and is a great device. I am a huge fan of stand-up comedy and Hip-Hop music and between being in my girlfriends car which is equipped with Sirius and my car with XM I would much rather drive everywhere than listen to most of the garbage that they play on Sirius. Anyone out there who has XM Channels 66 and 150 are always on point. Hope that helped.
  8. nitropowered macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2003
    Sirius offers a lifetime subscription of $499. Pays it self off in 3.2years. definitly cheaper in the long run(thats if they don't go out of business). Thats the only thing that makes me like sirius. however, I would get XM. Hopefully XM follows suit with sirius and offers a lifetime plan.
  9. McToast macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2003
    If I'm not mistaken XM has plans for the lifetime of your receiver.
  10. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    I've had XM from the beginning. My wife worked there for a couple years and I've had the tour of the facilities. Its awesome! I was floored when I walked into one of their sound studios - rack mounted macs (this is before the XServe) and 22" LCDs everywhere. 80 studios and they're all set up the same.

    But technology aside, I love it. They have a few commercials, but not all stations have them. I've listened to Sirius in BestBuy and its really pretty much the same. And if you find a song you don't really like, on both systems you have enough channel selections that its not that big of an issue.

    Also, I've driven from DC to Cape Cod and DC to Florida a couple times with XM working all the way, not dropping out. Sirius has had some issues with coverage in the past.

    And now different car companies are offering both radios factory installed - you need to check the websites to see which ones.

    As for the store bought units, I've got a Sony Plug and Play (original) and a Delphi Sky-Fi. The Delphi is by far the best.

    Right now XM has over 1 million subscribers, and when they made that mark, Sirius only had 150,000. XM's stock is over $26 right now, Sirius' is at $3 (although its gone from under $1 to its current value quite rapidly in the past few months). Only time will tell which one or if both last.


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