Satellite Radio Providers

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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If you're entertaining the notion of getting satellite radio for yourself, be advised that the toughest decision you make may not be what you're going to listen to, but who you're going to hire to broadcast it. Both Sirius and XM have great things going for them: they're affordable, they offer good equipment options from a variety of established, brand-name electronics manufacturers, and they both have an impressive lineup of commercial-free music programming, plus great sports and entertainment options as well. How you choose may ultimately rest on your personal preferences, and possibly, what kind of equipment or vehicles you like best.

Decision Makers: Cars, Cost, Service

If you're thinking about buying a new car, your decision may be made for you. XM is the satellite radio option installed in GM cars and trucks. Sirius is the satellite radio option of choice for Daimler-Chrysler (including Mercedes-Benz), Mazda, BMW and Ford.

Both providers are competitive when it comes to cost. Although XM has the seemingly lower monthly charge for service ($9.99), that basic rate does not include premium channels (add another $3.99) or allow for playing XM on your computer (add yet another $3.99). Sirius's monthly rate is $12.99. However, all Sirius channels are included in that flat rate, and streaming on the Internet is free. Plus, Sirius has a "free month" reward for subscribers who pay on an annual rather than a monthly basis. You can also purchase a lifetime subscription for $499.

It should be noted that experts consider Sirius to be the real industry leader. Sirius was the first to offer commercial-free music. They are the only provider that broadcasts NFL games, complete with pre-game, play-by-play, and post-game analysis. They also have 24-hour (not 18-hour) customer service, and they have three satellites (not just two) to provide superior coverage. And while it's true that XM has so far been the "more popular" choice, Sirius's recent exclusive contracts with Eminem, Howard Stern, and the NCAA seems to be changing which of the two providers has more brand awareness.

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