Guest Author - Kathy Fleming
When satellite radio first came out I thought it was just a fad or something rich people had. However, one day I was purchasing a new stereo for my car and chose one that was ďXM ready.Ē I did that just in case some day I might like to subscribe. Then I picked up a brochure and saw how reasonably priced monthly service was and I was sold. I have had it for two years now and still love it.
If you are in your car a lot, especially if you travel, satellite radio is wonderful. It gives you a huge variety of programming, and you donít have to hunt for new channels from city to city. Whether you like music or talk or both, you can do so without commercials (most of the time) or chatty DJís talking more than playing music.
If you like listening to music in your car and donít like to change CDs all the time, satellite radio may make you leave your music collection at home. Itís annoying and possibly dangerous to fumble with CDs or tapes while youíre driving. With satellite, itís all there at your fingertips.
No matter what you like to listen to, the variety of programming satellite offers canít be beat. I was happy just to have a channel that played 80ís music commercial-free, but once I started checking out some of the other channels, I found it hard to get out of the car and go inside sometimes. They have comedy channels, the Weather Channel, and for large metropolitan areas they have traffic alerts. And they just keep adding! (Note, they also change. Some programs switch from one provider to the other. I was sorry Discovery moved off XM. But they should stay comparable in general in order to compete).
As for which service to subscribe to, your choices now are XM and Sirius. I have XM because at the time it was cheaper and had more channels, but these days they are both quite comparable in programming, price and accessories. To choose which is right for you, the best thing to do is look at their websites and compare for yourself.
As for equipment, many car stereos now come satellite-ready. Thatís a nice option because you donít have to have a separate tuner. However, if you need the separate tuner, you have the advantage of portability. You can move it from your car to your home or office. To listen outside of your car, all you need is a boom box or other device that you can attach the tuner to and a spot to place the antenna for optimal reception.
Satellite isnít just for cars any more. You can now purchase portable personal units that are about the size of a cassette player. These also allow you to record a certain amount of programming for later playback. The price of these has dropped substantially since they were first introduced, making them a real consideration if you like your music on the go.
If you have more than one satellite radio, the additional subscription prices will be lower, so you donít have to have a separate subscription for each radio. Check with the companies to see their pricing on additional subscriptions. I have two, one for my car and one for my portable player.
Why listen to the radio at all in the land of MP3 players? And why pay for it? Itís all personal choice and what works best for you. I have an iPod which I listen to more often, but when Iím in my car itís easier to turn on the radio than to set up my iPod and FM receiver. So when I feel like listening to the radio, Iíd rather pay to hear it commercial-free and have my choice of programming. Plus, I like to hear new music. Satellite allows me to not only keep up with whatís coming out by current artists in genres I enjoy, but to discover new music and artists I never would have known existed if it werenít for listening to satellite radio.
So if youíre feeling bored with regular radio, tired of changing CDs, or just want to check out some new programming, satellite might be worth looking into.