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Old 09-14-2005, 08:43 PM   #1
www
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Default Sirius vs. XM, S50 vs. Samsung, etc... Sept 2005 update

To XM or Sirius, that is the question. Just so there is full disclosure, I currently have four XM subscriptions: 2 cars, polk/home, myfi. When I got my first subscription a few years ago the financial viability of both of these companies was in question and XM had more subscribers so I figured that was the safer bet. Although XM has more subscribers today I think the market cap of Sirius is greater and regardless the long term financial viability of both of these companies can not be questioned. So I ask myself, today would I make the same decision. My primary considerations are as follows:

1. Content – my sense is that Sirius may be pulling ahead with Mel on board. Stern, Martha, and even the music channels seem more focused.

2. Hardware – Originally XM had the lead with the polk and myfi units but the S50 may have the edge over the Sansung unit. This future decision is actually what has prompted the broader question. Do I really use the live feature of the myfi much? Not really but when I do it is pretty nice. Where is XM’s big announcement of the next generation myfi which is 2/3rds the size and with 2-4 gigs? Also, as an aside, can some one clarify if Sirius has the same number of repeaters as XM? I have read that the reason Sirius will not come out with a live portable unit is that they don’t have repeater coverage. I use my myfi in my office in NYC with the docking station and althougth my office faces north I can get a strong repeater signal. Does this mean I won’t be able to use an S50 with it’s docking station in my office? Sorry for getting side tracked here but it’s important.

3. Quality of sound – I have read that Sirius has better sound quality due to their multiplexing technology but I have also read that XM is better because they use 3G chips vs. 2G. Can I get a real answer here? Also, how would the quality compare to a standard mp3? I consider “CD” quality sound as using Apple lossless technology and I suspect both fall far short but which is better?

4. What am I missing? Price is the same, etc…

Thanks for all your feedback in advance. I’m a big satellite radio fan but I’m wondering if I would make the same decision again or should diversity. I’m going to post this on both an XM and Sirius forum so it will be interesting to see the feedback.
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Old 09-14-2005, 10:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sirius vs. XM, S50 vs. Samsung, etc... Sept 2005 update

"To XM or Sirius, that is the question. Just so there is full disclosure, I currently have four XM subscriptions: 2 cars, polk/home, myfi. When I got my first subscription a few years ago the financial viability of both of these companies was in question and XM had more subscribers so I figured that was the safer bet. Although XM has more subscribers today I think the market cap of Sirius is greater and regardless the long term financial viability of both of these companies can not be questioned. So I ask myself, today would I make the same decision. My primary considerations are as follows:"

>>I subscribe to both services. I agree that the long term financial viability of either service is not in serious question. I look for 2006 to be a HUGE year for Sirius. They may not catch XM's subscriber count in 06, but I believe they will close the gap considerably. I won't be surprised if Sirius has 40%+ of the subscriber market share at the end of 06.

"1. Content – my sense is that Sirius may be pulling ahead with Mel on board. Stern, Martha, and even the music channels seem more focused."

>>Content has been and will continue to be a point of contention. I believe it ultimately comes down to personal preference. I will go so far as to say that I believe Sirius has made greater improvement in this area in the last year than XM has, though I don't know if they're "pulling ahead" per se.

Both services have their strong and weak points, which I'm sure you're quite familiar with, so I won't touch on them.

"2. Hardware – Originally XM had the lead with the polk and myfi units but the S50 may have the edge over the Sansung unit. This future decision is actually what has prompted the broader question. Do I really use the live feature of the myfi much? Not really but when I do it is pretty nice. Where is XM’s big announcement of the next generation myfi which is 2/3rds the size and with 2-4 gigs? Also, as an aside, can some one clarify if Sirius has the same number of repeaters as XM? I have read that the reason Sirius will not come out with a live portable unit is that they don’t have repeater coverage. I use my myfi in my office in NYC with the docking station and althougth my office faces north I can get a strong repeater signal. Does this mean I won’t be able to use an S50 with it’s docking station in my office? Sorry for getting side tracked here but it’s important."

>>I agree that the S50 has the edge over the neXus, due to the fact that it has a few more high tech features than the Samsung.

Sirius has ample repeater coverage in NYC. I don't see a problem with you getting reception in your office, but of course I can't know for sure.

"3. Quality of sound – I have read that Sirius has better sound quality due to their multiplexing technology but I have also read that XM is better because they use 3G chips vs. 2G. Can I get a real answer here? Also, how would the quality compare to a standard mp3? I consider “CD” quality sound as using Apple lossless technology and I suspect both fall far short but which is better?"

>>Another huge point of contention between loyalists of both services. I have both services, and I don't think there's a significant difference between the two.

There is a small but vocal minority that claims Sirius's sound quality is terrible. If you have a friend or associate who currently has Sirius, perhaps they will let you use it for a couple days in your office, so you can decide for yourself. It ultimately comes down to personal opinion and preference.

"4. What am I missing? Price is the same, etc…

Thanks for all your feedback in advance. I’m a big satellite radio fan but I’m wondering if I would make the same decision again or should diversity. I’m going to post this on both an XM and Sirius forum so it will be interesting to see the feedback."

>>Sirius offers a lifetime subscription for 500 bucks. XM doesn't offer a lifetime sub.
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sirius vs. XM, S50 vs. Samsung, etc... Sept 2005 update

Quote:
Originally Posted by www
3. Quality of sound – I have read that Sirius has better sound quality due to their multiplexing technology but I have also read that XM is better because they use 3G chips vs. 2G. Can I get a real answer here? Also, how would the quality compare to a standard mp3? I consider “CD” quality sound as using Apple lossless technology and I suspect both fall far short but which is better?
Well the chipset has more to do with power requirements and unit size than anything else, additional features too sometimes like traffic information digitally sent. But it has little to do with sound quality. This is because the signal sent from XM and SIRIUS must be backward compatable with older Generation 2 and 1 chipset devices.

A minor corrections too, SIRIUS is on Gen 2.5 chipsets, not Gen 2.

Quality also while being subjective is also based on the device actually creating the sound. I can assure you that SIRIUS sounds far better in my best friend's Lano equiped with an eclipse stereo and CDT Component speakers than in my car. Also he uses an aux input, not a fm modulator.

As for recording technology, that's a hard one. I'm not sure how SIRIUS and XM are recording their content. If they are recompressing an already compressed audio stream, you will get poorer quality - but we're not sure how the two XM and SIRIUS devices comming out will perform. But I can say that the quality is not CD quality, but it's definately very acceptable to the average consumer - which is where the device is marketed for.
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