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Old 07-23-2005, 10:23 PM   #1
WolfViper
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Some website did a review on Satellite Radio (long post)
 
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Default Some website did a review on Satellite Radio (long post)

http://www.jsonline.com/enter/tvradio/jul05/342684.asp

Plus on the link above they have a link to SBS, how very cool of them! It on the right-hand side of the website.

Satellite Radio

The sky seems to be the limit, but reality is more down to earth — lots of choices, few limitations

By JIM HIGGINS
jhiggins@journalsentinel.com

Last Updated: July 23, 2005

Once upon a time, music flowed from the sky into people's homes and cars, and the people loved it. It was called radio, and it was good.

But giant conglomerates overran the land, and choked the beautiful flow of sounds until only tiny little streamlets of oldies and some consultant's narrow-minded version of the top hits and angry bursts of political jabber could be heard through the land, and the people were sad, or too numbed to care.

But then, from higher in the sky, from Geostationary Earth orbit actually, came a new beautiful flow of sounds, many beautiful flows of sounds, and the people rejoiced again in their cars and their houses, as long as their antennas were pointed in the right direction and they weren't driving through any tunnels . . .

It's a simple fantasy, isn't it? That radio once was good, but big business turned it sour, and that satellite radio is the new manna from heaven.

But reality is more complicated and less dramatic. Commercial forces have always shaped what radio listeners have heard.

As for satellite radio, it is less like ambrosia and more, in some respects, like cable TV: a whole bunch of channels, monthly fees and the consumer rite of passage that is called installation.

But for some local subscribers, including yours truly, satellite radio is a delightful luxury that makes the car, home and even workplace computer speakers enhanced sources of pleasure and information.

"It has replaced my normal (radio) listening stations," said Sirius subscriber Barry Phillips, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court commissioner who lives on the northwest side and listens in his car.

A transplanted New Yorker, his biggest draws are the rap stations, which keep him connected with the newest music. He also listens to R&B and jazz channels. He also appreciates that Sirius gives him "a taste of New York DJs."

XM subscriber Bruce Bauer, who lives in Mequon, is such a true believer in its classical stations that he lobbies fellow attorneys at Quarles & Brady to subscribe.

The XM Classics channel "offers a much wider variety of selections than you are likely to hear on a commercial classics station," he said.

As for me, I've developed a half-dozen Sirius favorites that keep me company in the car and on the computer at work, notably Sirius Disorder, a freeform channel for grownups that I have heard play everything from Hank Williams to Maria Callas, with a healthy percentage of new music, too.

Getting started
Local listeners have a choice between XM and Sirius, which are fighting a vigorous battle with each other for growth and survival. Some observers don't think the market can support two services indefinitely.

Both services offer more than 120 channels of music, news, entertainment and talk.

Both players are making strategic deals with other companies and trumpeting the signings of iconic radio figures. XM has Bob Edwards, the popular former National Public Radio morning voice; Sirius has been bragging for months about the imminent arrival of Howard Stern. XM has the complete Major League Baseball schedule; Sirius broadcasts every National Football League game.

The core of each service is its set of music channels organized around musical genres or themes.

An XM listener, for example, can tune into Frank's Place, a channel featuring Sinatra and his ilk singing the Great American Songbook; Ethel, the gems of alternative rock (Nirvana, Interpol, Jimmy Eat World); and Raw, an uncensored channel of contemporary hip-hop and rap. The many choices open to Sirius subscribers include Underground Garage, a channel produced by Little Steven that hews to a garage-rock ethos; Faction, a blend of rock, punk and hip-hop; and Wax, featuring DJ mixes, remixes and freestyles.

Both services offer so much variety that listeners may find it difficult to choose between them. I've listened to both services, and I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

Sirius was a Christmas gift from my wife and brother-in-law; they choose it because it carried the NFL. Bruce Bauer chose XM because he had heard it in a rental car and was impressed with its classical channels. Barry Phillips joined Sirius on the recommendation of a law school friend who shares his tastes in music.

Listeners can buy the needed equipment - a receiver and related installation stuff - at local electronics stores and some big retailers.

The many choices include home and car kits, plug and play units that can be moved between home and car or inserted in special boomboxes, and, in XM's case, portable units a la the Walkman or the iPod with modest storage and timeshifting powers.

If you're not handy with wires, it's worth the money you'll pay a store or someone else to install the car receiver, which does not replace your regular AM-FM car radio.

This stuff isn't cheap. Receivers generally start about $99 for simple kits, though the tiny Delphi XM Roadyâ„¢ 2 is selling right now for $49.99. The competing go-anywhere XM units list at $299 but are sold for less by online vendors. Subscriptions for both services start at $12.95 per month, with discounted rates when you sign up for longer periods.

A big, new global village
If you're considering joining the satellite radio universe, here are some things you might like to know:

The playlists are deep and wide. Like traditional radio, satellite radio has oldies stations, top hits stations, R&B stations. But Sirius and XM define their genres broadly and play a great variety of music on each channel. Mequon's Bauer can listen on a Sunday evening to several hours of a rebroadcast of an early-music festival on an XM classics station, something he doesn't think he would hear on a commercial classical station. The music of Bright Eyes is played on Sirius' alt-rock channels as well as its folk-acoustic one. Someone as eclectic as Elvis Costello is played on about 10 different Sirius channels.

Satellite radio is not local and does not replace the best parts of local radio. Listeners don't get local traffic, news or sports, or local radio stations, through the satellite receiver. In general, people install the satellite receiver in their cars without removing the traditional radio, retaining the ability to listen to both kinds.

Don't forget the desktop. Both XM and Sirius give subscribers the bonus of being able to listen through their computers. That might make these services more attractive to office-bound people who don't spend a lot of time in their cars.

Listening can be a high-fidelity experience. Classical listener Bauer has connected his receiver to his good stereo system at home, so he can listen to the violas and shawms with concert-hall clarity.

You can take it with you, most of the time. Satellite radio reception is excellent in the Milwaukee area, though Phillips and I both encounter heavy static and interference while driving on or near I-43 between Capitol Drive and Silver Spring Drive.

It's commercial-free - in part. XM and Sirius' original music channels are commercial-free, thank heavens. But commercials can still be heard on some non-exclusive channels that Sirius also broadcasts, such as ESPNews.

It's still a work in progress. The walk-around receivers such as the Delphi XM MyFi, which can store up to 5 hours of content, have yet to reach a tipping point of popularity. As the invention and subsequent travails of TimeTrax software (www.timetraxtech.com) shows, there's a listener hunger for simple tools to record and time-shift satellite radio content; as with anything musical and digital, the licensing and ownership issues have not been worked out. Listeners are also interested in more information about what they're listening to: Bauer, the classical listener, would like to have playlists for his channels that tell him who's conducting a piece and what CD it comes from.

Until that stuff arrives, though, there is plenty to listen to.

"Right now, I am pretty happy," Phillips said. "I'm not even utilizing it to the full extent."
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Old 07-24-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
TX WJ
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The more exposure that we get the better. Good to see them do articles on Sateelite Radio.

I had a lady ask me about Sirius the other day at the Piggly Wiggly. She saw the decal on my truck and approached me.

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Old 07-24-2005, 03:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX WJ
The more exposure that we get the better. Good to see them do articles on Sateelite Radio.

I had a lady ask me about Sirius the other day at the Piggly Wiggly. She saw the decal on my truck and approached me.

Love your decal
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Old 07-24-2005, 04:27 PM   #4
TX WJ
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Some website did a review on Satellite Radio (long post)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manifest
Quote:
Originally Posted by TX WJ
The more exposure that we get the better. Good to see them do articles on Sateelite Radio.

I had a lady ask me about Sirius the other day at the Piggly Wiggly. She saw the decal on my truck and approached me.

Love your decal
Thanks
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Sirius Factory Install with JBL / Voice Activated Navigation in 2009 Camry XLE V-6

Sirius Sportser 4 & Factory XM installed in 06 Odyssey

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill. That we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
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