For music and talk fans who want more than what free local radio gives them, Sirius XM Satellite Radio provides hundreds of channels that can be heard while traveling across America. It's an excellent resource for people who want to hear continuous programming from city to city instead of static.
The age of satellite radio began with approval from Congress in 1990 for the company that became Sirius to launch satellites into space for audio programming. The original designer of the technology was a NASA engineer named Robert Briskman. Sirius launched its first three satellites in 2000. In 2008 it merged with its competitor XM, becoming Sirius XM. Here are important points to know about satellite radio for explorers beyond local radio.
How Does Satellite Radio Work?
Some of the reasons consumers are attracted to Sirius Radio and XM Radio are better continuous reception far beyond the limits of FM signals, more choices and mostly commercial-free channels. Originally called CD Radio because of CD quality audio, the company changed its name to Sirius in 1999 a year prior to its satellite launch to avoid the association with the declining CD trend. The company still emphasizes that it delivers crystal clear audio from over 22,000 miles above the earth.
Getting Satellite Radio
The signals originate from ground stations, which are sent to satellites located above the Equator. These satellites then deliver the signals to Sirius XM's radio receivers, where they are unscrambled so they can be heard in cars, homes or other places. Although Sirius and XM are under the same ownership, they have separate hardware and programming packages. However, a listener can still get much of the same programming with the "All Access" package the two entities share. For example, both Sirius and XM users have access to the Howard Stern Show in this package.
Both Sirius and XM offer different subscription services other than the "All Access" package, which includes access to over 5,000 hours of on demand programs, concerts and interviews. It's mostly the lower level packages that make Sirius and XM unique from each other. Listeners who want access to both Sirius and XM programming should consider getting a combo Sirius XM tuner, which can pick up additional channels unavailable for users of one or the other tuner. Several modern cars now have built-in Sirius XM satellite radio receivers. Both Sirius and XM offer multiple packages, as listeners can decide what type of specialty programming fits their tastes. The monthly subscription prices in 2019 for satellite radio packages are as follows:
- Sirius All Access (150+ channels, including streaming and video) - $20.99
- Sirius Select (140+ channels for car listening) - $15.99
- Sirius Mostly Music (80+ channels) - $10.99
- Sirius XM Essential (300+ channels outside the car) - $8.00
- Sirius XM Premier (300+ channels including Howard Stern, NBA, NHL, NCAA) - $13.00
Additionally, the company offers several other listening options such as A La Carte, in which users get to customize their own package of channels. Other packages are designed for fans of News/Sports/Talk, Family Friendly programming, Business and more. Another choice for music programming is the music streaming service Pandora Radio, which Sirius acquired in 2019.
Satellite radio provides listening alternatives for consumers who want deeper programming and more variety than what AM/FM offers. It's ideal for those who want continuous programming without commercial interruption such as news, sports or music formats. People wishing to become subscribers should visit the Sirius XM website to find out more information.