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Sirius or XM? Who do I sign up with?

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Although Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Radio are now one company there are still a few differences between the two services. For many people new to Satellite Radio the choice can be confusing and most would assume the same content is available on both services. This may come true in the future but right now you still have an important decision to make on which service to sign up for.

I will go through some of the many options you have with both services from Station choices to hardware.

The First thing to note is that no matter what service you choose you will be paying the same price per month which after all of the fees usually comes out to around $15.00. Both Sirius and XM offer their customers the option to pay for service up front for a longer term which saves money. They both also offer a Lifetime subscription. Since both services have identical pricing I will not bore you with all of the different package details I will just let you know that both Sirius and XM offer a plethora of different options to get you Satellite Radio fix.

So the big question is what’s the difference in programming between these two services?

I will start with the Sports Channels since this is often a hot topic among listeners and a main reason why a customer may choose one service over the other. This is also one of the last things that really set Sirius and XM apart programming wise.

With The Sirius Everything package, which is their basic service you will receive Sirius NFL Radio and NASCAR Radio. Although Sirius only has two professional sports there are a plethora of sports channels to choose from including ESPN Radio and Mad Dog Radio.

With XM Radio Everything your choices include MLB, NHL, NBA and College Football games. As with Sirius you will also have access to many other channels devoted to sports programming.

As you can see this can be a tough decision to choose a service for any sports fan, luckily both Sirius and XM can make the decision a little easier with their new Sirius/XM Everything Plus Services. With the Sirius Everything Plus XM plan you get the ability to listen to NHL, NBA and PGA channels. And if you are an XM Subscriber you can get the XM Everything Plus Sirius package which includes NFL and NASCAR. I would just like to add that the Everything Plus plan’s will cost an additional $4.00 a month but if you you can not choose between both services $4.00 is much cheaper then adding a second $12.95 a month subscription and having an additional radio. Besides the sports channels you will also get additional programming that I will discuss a little later in this article.

Now that Sports programing is out of the way what else is different about each service?

To be honest both Sirius and XM radio offer more than enough channels to keep anyone busy and entertained. I have been a subscriber to Sirius for the past 6 years and I’m still discovering new channels all the time. From Music to Comedy, Talk Radio to Children’s programming you will never have a reason to listen to “Free” Radio again. And if you ask anyone who is a true fan of satellite radio if they listen to terrestrial radio 98% of the time you will get a no. I also find myself having a hard time when I’m a passenger in a car that does not have Satellite Radio. That may sound weird to some but any true fan will tell you that is normal.

Now that we got that out of the way lets talk about music choices. Both Sirius and XM Radio offer so an extremely large amount of choices when it comes to music programming. Before Sirius and XM radio merged the differences in channels was more apparent then it is now. With the merger came the dropping and merging of most music channels so choosing a service based on Music Programming is not a big deal as it used to be.

Both Sirius and XM offer music channels dedicated to different eras from the 40’s all the way to the 90’s. They both also offer specific genres including Country, Pop, Hip-Hop, Dance, Christian, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Musicals, and International. As you can see there is a wide variety of choices to choose from, the list actually goes on and on since every genre has an average of 4 stations and I’m sure there is something I missed!

In all honesty now that the merger has occurred if you are only interested in music you cant go wrong with either service. Sirius and XM also have dedicated channels for some of the most popular artists past and present. A few examples are Elvis Radio, Radio Margaritaville, E Street Radio and Shade 45.

Talk Radio, Shock Jocks and Other Specialty Programming.

Both Sirius and XM have spent a good amount of money hiring big names to become part of Satellite Radio. Unless you have been hiding out on a deserted Island for the past 5 years you have no doubt heard that Sirius signed the largest voice on radio…The King of All Media, Howard Stern. For some this may be a deal breaker on deciding on which service to sign up for. The good news is that with the XM Best of Sirius Package you have the ability to add Stern to your service although at an additional cost. I would also like to mention that another favorite and controversial DJ featured on one of Howard Sterns channels is Bubba The Love Sponge.

The good news for XM Subscribers is that Opie and Anthony have their own station on XM called The Virus. The Virus also features Jim Norton and the popular Ron and Fez. I know that talking about Stern and Opie and Anthony in the same sentence can turn out to be quite the “Flame War” but this article is not about that debate. The great thing about Sirius and XM is that as a fan you can choose who you listen to and which service you decide to sign up for, something Terrestrial Radio really can’t match.

While we are on the subject of Shock Jocks there is one more show that I would like to point out. If you have not heard The Jason Ellis show on Sirius Faction (28) (52 on XM) I would recommend you give it a try. It may not be for everyone but if you are a fan of Stern or Opie and Anthony you may be surprised at what you hear.

So what are some other high profile names Sirius and XM have to offer?

Sirius Subscribers get Martha Stewart Living Radio (Also available on Best of XM channel 157). XM Subscribers receive Oprah Radio (Also available with Sirius Best of XM). I could go on and on for day’s about the content on these two services but I recommend everyone who is not a subscriber to take some time to check out Sirius or XM’s website to see all that is offered. If you are interested both Sirius and XM are now offering a free 30 Day Trial, you have nothing to lose and can cancel at any time. I can almost guarantee that before the 30 Days are expired you will be hooked to the service. It’s well worth the $12.00 per month.

A few more Features that Sirius and XM offer subscribers.

Not everyone is sitting in their Automobile’s 24/7 so what are the options for listening outside of your car?

Both Sirius and XM offer a good portion of their channels online at an additional cost. Although this service used to be free you can add Premium Internet Streaming for only $2.99 per month. If your like me and work around computers a good portion of your day the additional money is a no brainier. I would like to mention that some channels are not available online so it’s a good idea to check first before you sign up for the service.

In addition to online streaming Sirius XM Radio have also released an App for the iPhone and iPod Touch. You will need to be a Premium Internet Subscriber and additional channels are currently missing from the application.

Finally both Sirius and XM offer some great choices when it comes to Portable, Home, and Dock and Play products. A very popular option for Sirius Subscribers is the Stiletto 2. XM Subscribers have a few more options with the Inno, newly released SkyDock and the XMP3. In my opinion if you are looking for more options in receivers and radios XM has always had superior choices, which may be a determining factor in choosing a service provider.

Now on to Sirius Backseat TV. This is one product that I have no experience with but I do know that this is exclusive to Sirius. Basically you are getting 3 channels (Nick, Disney and Cartoon Network) to keep your children occupied while riding in the back seat. If someone reading this article has any experience with this product I would love to hear your thoughts. You can click the link to read more or watch the video below to get a good idea of this service.

Both Sirius and XM offer services for small businesses, you can check out the links Here and Here. Even though Sirius and XM offer dedicated channels for Traffic which come with a regular subscription, Sirius offers a product called Sirius Traffic and XM offers XM NavTraffic. There are a few more services that both companies offer but most consumers are mainly interested in their regular Entertainment Packages. If you would like to see additional services you can check out the individual sites.

Is that all? Is there more?

I could actually go on and on about both Sirius and XM and all of the Products and services they offer but I could be writing for weeks. If you are having a tough time deciding between Sirius or XM I would recommend you take the time to visit each site and do some more research. Before the merger Sirius and XM used to be totally different services but as you can see each service has almost melted into each other allowing subscribers of both services the Best of Both (Pun Intended!)

In closing if you found this article helpful please sign up at Digital Radio Central to leave some feedback. If you would like to add anything that you think would help out anyone contemplating Subscribing to Sirius or XM please do so. And finally if you decided to finally sign up for service, Congratulations and welcome to the future of radio!