For Christmas, I bought my wife an Xact Stream Jockey which came with a boom box and a car adapter. My daughter got an Xact Stream Jockey II, which is black and looks like an iPod. The main question about satellite radio for me to answer is “Why did you pick Sirius instead of XM?” Well, that’s simple. My wife likes to listen to Christmas music throughout December and Sirius Radio had nothing but Christmas music on two of their channels. One of them was “Country Christmas Music” which didn’t sound like our cup of tea; then again, who knows what we missed? Did XM have a Christmas channel? Probably but we have to address the other 11 months of the year, when my wife can listen the Elvis channel or any of the other 100+ channels. So since XM lacked an Elvis channel, plus I bought my daughter a Sirius radio as well, and she likes Howard Stern in addition to music, Sirius was the winner.
Satellite radios themselves are about $50+. The real expense is the service at about $150 (including tax) a year for the first radio subscription and $90 for the second. As a subscriber, you also can listen to some (not all) of the stations over the Internet as well.
I’m willing to bet that the demographic for purchasing satellite radio falls squarely in the Baby Boomer area, of which I am an AARP card carrying member. So! Where’s the BEATLES channel on Sirius or XM? Huh?
Here’s the lesson I learned about satellite radio:
1. Satellites are in space.
2. Space is above the sky.
3. The sky is outside.
4. To get satellite radio in your home, you need an outside antenna.
No problem, I bought an additional 50 feet of Sirius antenna cable at Best Buy, drilled a small hole in the living room wall, ran the antenna out, checked its positioning for signal strength (that is built into the radio) duct taped the antenna into position, and filled the drilled out hole with some weather sealant. That took care of the boom box for receiving satellite radio at home.
Car installation is pretty simple. The car antenna has an ultra strong magnet to hold it to the car roof. You then run the antenna wire into your car, tucking it up under the rug or the side panels as well as you can. The radios have an FM transmitter in them so that you simply find an unused FM channel on your regular car radio, set the Sirius radio to transmit on that channel and you have close to CD quality sound coming through your car radio in no time. The only hookups in your car are the power cord from your car’s cigarette lighter and the antenna. All units have an earphone jack too.
I have to admit it’s pretty nice to listen to commercial free radio. The other plus is being able to drive across the country (or in my case from Sacramento to San Francisco) and hear your favorite channels without interruption.