Satellite heaven

It’s great news that Sirius and XM have agreed to merge — and the FCC has every reason to approve the move. Without this, one of them would likely fold anyway. With it, we get the best of both their talent and technology and they can compete with terrestrial radio — which, Lord knows, needs the competition — and iPods. I’m a Stern fan and Sirius stockholder and satellite user and I’m all for this.

  • Jim

    I’m an XM subscriber. I love satellite radio and never listen to terrestrial radio. I’m also the owner of a brand new car with XM built in. My concern is if the merge goes through, I won’t be able to take advantage of both XM and Sirius. They use incompatible signals. And what happens if they decide to use Sirius’ signals? What’s that going to cost me to change over? I hope its just a swap out of head end units. I’m sure this is good for satellite radio, but I wonder what this will cost consumers.

  • countertop


    My father (An XM subscriber who was jealous about Sirius’s Opera, Elvis, and Sinatra content) and I (a Sirius subscriber and Stern fan who was jealous about XM’s baseball content) had a long conversation on this matter tonight.

    Our takeaway: the radios reception is controlled by the software programmed within it. The combined company could either broadcast over both frequencies (if thats the right word) or send an update to the radios to accept whichever signal they decided on. They would also have to upgrade the software to accept all the new stations (assuming duplicate content – rock radio, etc is merged) each would pick up.

    All in all, we are both ecstatic as any satellite subscriber would be.

    Good for satellite, good for America, bad for terrestrial radio (which, therefore, must also be good for America)

  • i’m starting to wonder what this will mean for podcasters who, like me, have the opportunity to be on Sirius every week. will we survive??? :)

  • angrytrousers

    Hate to burst your bubble countertop, but the hardware is NOT compatible. Sirius and XM have said today they’re working on a unit that will handle both signals.

    In the meantime, assuming the deal goes through, they may offer some MLB games on Sirius or Nascar on XM so listeners don’t have to miss out while waiting for a new dual-signal radio.

  • Brian

    I am an M subsciber that has a built in and a pop out radio in two cars. I will stay if I don’t have to pay for a radio upgrade. If I do have to pay, I’m gone.

  • echy

    While the radios may be incompatible right now; all the companies would have to do is pump the content through both systems.

  • This is not a regulatory slam-dunk. In their license agreements with the government, there is a clause forbidding XM and Sirius from merging.

  • angrytrousers

    There’s a limit to how many channels they can fit on either signal. Their goal is to offer the combined bandwith of both companies, which would require a new dual-signal radio.

    While it’s possible the old radios may be able to continue to pick up half of the combined channels, the rates are most certainly going up and you’d end up paying for more than you’d be getting on your half-signal, old radio.

    It’d be like sticking with AM instead of buying a brand new, exciting AM & FM dual-signal transistor radio. I don’t need stereo, dammit!

  • Jeff, I fail to see why this would be good news for consumers. Competition is good for consumers. Your assumption that one would fold without a merger, well, I don’t see it. That’s what they would say, of course, by why would consumers be better off with one service rather than two to choose from? I’m sure a combined company would raise the price, among other things, that is usually the point of a merger. I just bought a Sirius radio; it serves my needs much better than an iPod and I bought it because I drive a lot in areas with terrible terrestrial radio reception. To say that this isn’t anti-consumer because people have other audio choices, well, that’s the kind of thing prospective monopolists always say. In fact, satellite radio is a pretty unique service and competion keeps them honest, as it does in all businesses…

  • I Have Both

    XM’s delivery system is more robust; let’s hope Sirius adopts it (those wandering sats are a pain). Sirius is anxious to put video in the rear seat of cars; so don’t look for better sound quality from combining the bandwidth licensed by a combined company.
    I fear the unique human-designed programming on some of XM – like Deep Tracks, Fine Tuning – will succumb to the (apparently) research-designed programming on Sirius – which is so much more like FM radio, minus commercials (but not minus copious promos) – due to lack of competition.
    Put Stern (and O&A if you must) on both systems – please. Don’t mess with the music programming – Sirius is where you won’t hear something you’ve never heard before, which makes lots of people happy; XM can keep channels for people who listen to hear something unusual and eclectic.