Sirius versus XM: What's the better satellite radio network?
Regarding satellite radio, which is the better service, XM or Sirius? How do the channels compare?
What a splendid and interesting question! I keep chewing on the question of whether it's worth paying a monthly fee at all for radio service, but I can understand where others find it appealing!
In terms of your specific question, both Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio offer roughly the same programming regarding music. Both feature many channels with commercial-free music from almost every genre. The main difference comes in sports and other talk programming.
If you are a baseball fan, then XM is the right choice. You can listen to every MLB game. If you're a Red Sox fan in Phoenix, you could still listen to every game. If you are more of an NFL fan, then Sirius is your best bet. You can listen to every NFL game with Sirius, and you can even choose to listen to the home or away broadcast. Sirius also features a lot of college football, NBA, and NHL games. Overall, Sirius is better for sports except for baseball. Both also have lots of options for news, traffic, and weather for major cities.
Another feather in Sirius' cap is their recent acquisition of Howard Stern. His show will begin airing "uncensored" on January 9th on Sirius.
The hardware options are similar. You can buy portable devices or have them installed in your car. My colleague Stephen Rahn, who helped with this question, actually owns one of each since he can't live without baseball or football. Each also offers you the ability to listen to their music stations online from your PC at no extra charge
For fans of Bruce Springsteen and Elvis, Sirius has 24-hour all Bruce and all Elvis channels. XM has its own version of the "raunchy talk show" called Opie and Anthony. Their show caters to much the same
audience as Howard Stern does.
For talk radio, both have ESPN radio and ESPNnews. Sirius has E! Entertainment Radio, a channel for truckers, Sirius RIght and Sirius Left for your political preferences, Fox News Channel, NPR Radio,
C-SPAN radio, CNBC, Bloomberg News, BBC radio, Court TV, Maxim Radio, and ABC newst/talk. Sirius also has Martha Stewart's talk show.
XM has Radio Disney C-SPAN, Bloomberg, Sporting News Radio, Fox Sports Radio, E!, NASCAR Radio, The Weather Channel, Air America, Family Talk, Fox News, and PGA tour network.
Both services constalntly add or update their programming, so you may want to check out their websites for the most updated lineups.
Hope that helps you decide!
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Reader Comments To Date: 35
You failed to mention that Sirus tends to play just the hits where XM will go deeper into albums and play songs that didn't get radio play.
I have to disagree with your comment that XM and Sirius are the same for music, and comment on the reply from Danny.
I could care less about talk, Howard, Opie and Anthony, NFL, MLB. etc. I have satellite radio for one reason, ROCK.
There is a big difference between XM and Sirius at least in ROCK. XM's rock stations are boring and lame. The only one worth listening to is Top tracks. I dumped XM in my GM when it was still only $9.99 a month and went to Sirius which was more. My idea of good music includes rock from the 60's - today. Beatles, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Alice cooper, Metallica, Green Day, Nickelback, Tom Petty, Stones.....
On XM the choices are limited. Top tracks is a good station but when they play junk (all stations do from time to time) there is nothing else to change to. On a rare occasion you may catch a good song on another station but rest assured that garbage will follow it.
XM has nothing that comes close to Classic Vinyl, Classic rewind, Buzzsaw, The Vault (deeper tracks) Hair nation and more
Danny notes that Sirius play hits and XM goes deeper. That is true to a point. Sirius has stations that go deep too (the vault, Spectrum) but for the most part people are not looking for that. Why do you think those songs are Deep? They do not make money! Which is why they are seldom heard on commercial radio. If those songs were worth it people would have discovered them long ago. I remember Pink Floyd had No air play. The people found them and these are now some of the biggest selling albums of all times.
(I believe Danny might refer to these as Hits) Floyd never had a #1 hit until Another brick in the wall. It was a fluke. The deep cuts are nice from time to time but for the most part they are songs that most people could care less about.
I have removed XM from both of my GM's and have never looked back. I never even activated my 2nd XM unit. ( I would not have purchased it but it was lumped into the car and would have had to wait 8+ wks to get the same without XM). When I canceled (early termination) the XM in my other GM they asked why. I told them their Rock stations were boring and the person on the other end said, Yes, we hear that all the time.
Thanks this was helpful. So on Sirius I can get U of Michigan football, How much NFL, NASCAR, and NHL?
Sirius is much better!
Good write up :O)
XM is a whole lot better than Sirius. XM has better equipment than Sirius. XM has 3 portable devices with which you can listen to LIVE radio or recored radio. With Sirius they only have one portable device and on that you can't listen to live radio on the go only radio that you recorded. Sirius messed up big time there. Stern is washed up old news. O & A are much better. XM has more sports than just MLB and NASCAR they also have NHL, PGA Tour, and a lot of College Footbal and Basketball games. Who wants to listen to Martha Stewart. She is boring on t.v. Just imagine how boring it is when there is no moving picture. XM has Ellen and the food network and The Early Show all on the same channel. Also XM is in Canada and is Sirius... NO! Sirius only has what less than 2 million subscribers and XM has over 6 million. Sirius wasted their money on Stern. It would take about 1.5 million more subscribers for Sirius to break even on what they are spending on Stern. Sirius has been around longer wouldn't you think that they would have better equipment and more subscribers? Sirius spent too much on Stern and not enough on equipment research. XM did a good job balancing research and programming. An example XM 3 portables that can listen to live radio on the go and Sirius 1 portable with no live radio on the go. I rest my case.
Sirius needed 1.5 million subscribers alone just to break even with Stern's deal, huh? How about 2.6 million! Just wanted to make sure but I think 2.6 million is alot more than the number you noted. So I guess they broke even, huh? XM cannot even keep NASCAR! Lets compare their sports choices: Sirius->NFL, NHL, NASCAR, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Football, Barclay's English Premier League Soccer, Arena League Football. XM->MLB, and.....um.....oh, just MLB! sorry, you decide.:) My Red Sox games are all on tv and everything else is on ESPN, which also has 2 channels on Sirius. I wouldn't have time to listen to every Baseball game with all the other sports content on Sirius. I'll just get the MLB final scores on Sirius' ESPNRadio Ch.120 or Sirius' ESPNNews Ch.121!
Sirius really is the premier service in the satellite radio field. As most of the posters above have noted, when it comes to talk, entertainment, sports, and news, Sirius comes out on top.
Sirius not only gives you the NFL, NHL, NBA, soon NASCAR and the NHL, but it also gives you great talk options like Howard Stern or Martha Stewart. If you want news, Sirius has you covered there as well, they have the BBC, 2 NPR stations, 1 Public Radio International stations, FOX News, and it goes on and on.
I actually went out and bought one Sirius receiver and one XM receiver just to compare...needless to say I got a refund for the XM, and kept the superior Sirius. The customer service people at XM actually offered to send me a free radio if I would stay at XM... I turned it down. Life is just to short to not enjoy the best service out there...Sirius.
I've had Sirius for 5 months now, but don't have XM to compare. Since all things change, some of the earlier comments here are way out of date by now. Sirius has crossed the 4 million subscriber mark, adding 3.4 million since Stern was announced. Its really a shame that he's "washed up old news". Sirius is also on in Canada now, and while Sirius initially volunteered to keep Stern out of Canada, they have since lifted that restriction. Many Canadians were signing up with US addresses in order to receive Stern's 2 channels until the voluntary ban was lifted.
Anyway, I bought in mid-November so that I could spend a couple of months getting to know the service before it became "All Stern, all the time" in my car. While we are gaining NASCAR for 5 years, we are losing the NHL for ten years, and that really hurts. We really lost out there. I travel a lot on business, and am a Flyers fan. I can only hope that 610 will still carry the games free on Radiomat, and not drop the games on the Internet feed like WCBS 880 did for the Yankees. The Sirius NHL coverage left a lot to be desired, anyway, carrying half the games on a typical night.
To contribute some value, here are two points no one else has brought up. 1) O&A come with a separate charge for premium content while all Sirius channels are included (even the new Playboy Channel), and 2) If you really want Sirius but can't give up baseball, order the Gameday Audio package from mlb.com. You'll get home & away coverage for every single game in the pre-, regular, and post-season for a one-time charge of $15!!
Whoever said Sirius isn't in Canada is mistaken. Even in 2003 when I drove to Alaska from the Texas, I got crystal clear Sirius reception all the way into Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory. It even worked in Alaska when the skies were clear.
IS XM GOING TO HAVE ELVIS CHANNEL TO LIKE SIRIUS WHEN THEY JOTIN TYOGATHER
Sirius has Mike Feder. XM doesn't. Sirius is my choice. And yes, I have signed the petition at satellitestar.com.
2 words describe why Sirius is better ...Hair Nation...
Does anyone know if the portable mp3 player for either sirius or xm also have an fm tuner?
XM radio story. I live in Wasilla Alaska. I picked up XM receiver from Anchorage Sam's Club last week. (Funny package was in clearance, covered with dust) So...I was curious if I can make it work. Before you get excited, I must tell you that it will NOT work in your car in Wasilla area. I was able to listen broadcast in Wasilla only when I was driving Palmer-Wasilla Hwy east or Trunk road south. Everything else was pretty much "no signal". However at home and office I have antenna outside (3.5" came in package) pointed south and I can listen all channels without problem...so to have something else other than crabby Alaskan radio stations, I listen to XM radio at home and in office without problems. Hopefully one day I can take my receiver into my car and have music I like.
I had XM in my old car and just last week bought a new car which has Sirius... In my opinion, Sirius, in terms of music destroys XM. It's profoundly better, not just by a little. I've found 5 or 6 channels that I've preset and the music is constantly amazing... I'm never bored in my car now. When I had XM I was mostly listening to CDs because the XM channels were boring. One thing though, in my community (which has an unusual amount of trees) the reception with the Sirius cuts out to "Load". It's a split second and doesnt bother me, but with XM that never happened.
If you are not willing to subscribe to these services, then you are not an authority on the matter of which one is better.
The difference between the music stations on XM & Sirius are like night and day. Sirius is more like FM radio, with repetitive play-lists and cheesy DJ's. XM is more like a music service, with minimal music interruption, less talk, and deeper play-lists.
If you are going to tell people which one is better, then you'd better know what you're talking about. Anyone can pick up a brochure and read what they offer. But you really need to hear what they offer to make an informed decision.
SIRIUS sucks!!! I purchased one of their portable units and the reception is absolutely TERRIBLE!!!!
Good programming, but TORRID reception.
Hope the merger goes through though!!!
Hey, after the merger, then we'll have the good times, right? throw out the programming we don't like and keep selected packages we do, more choice, more or less channels, variable prices, etc. Increased subscriber growth, etc. may be great if choices are expanded as Big mell has said they will be. And here's hoping the stock hits $ 9.00 again, soon, for SIRI.?
when you say home versus away broadcasts, do you mean they are biased either towards the home team or visiting team? so when GreenBay plays Dallas, there's a Dallas based broadcast and a green bay based broadcast?
Yes, it means you have both the home and away announcers for each game.
I'm getting Dish Network next week that has Sirius with it. I'm hoping Sirius is as good as XM on my Direct TV. I've had Direct TV for 8 years, and XM started appearing on Direct TV about two years ago.
I have XM in my car and at home, and the boss installed Sirius at the shop, so I used to listen to that most days. XM kills Sirius in virtually every category. I brought my XM2GO player in to work and hooked it up to our P.A. system. I converted the boss in about 3 hours. The people who prefer Sirius just don't know any better and want to defend their purchase.
My mom recently got a new Dodge Charger and it has Sirius. We've had XM for a couple of years. Both on our TV and a portable one for her old car. I have to say that XM is WAAY better than Sirius could think about being. I don't like sports but XM has a much bigger selection. They also offer a lot more channels, both in music and talk. Sirius plays squat in the Top 40 category. They have 3 stations claiming to play hip hop and only 1 actually does. But most of it is old stuff, or not even hiphop. It also has only 1 hit music channel and it plays old stuff like Kiss XM. There is a difference between hits and old hits. Sirius has crap selection. The only reason why people defend it is because they are too loyal to say otherwise, or they love Playboy and Howard Stern. XM has better selection and anyone who has ever had it can't honestly deny the fact.
I do not want this radio for my car, but to listen to all night. I've been listening to the classidal station in my city and they have recently changed and added some weird things (especially on Sat. night). what will an XM set-up cost me? An approximate figure is fine.
I started listening to the AM radio before the Beatles and have listened to rock for the last 44 years. I was a college DJ. Sirius has some good channels but their "Vault" offering is supposed to be deep "classic rock". The vault is repititious and boring, They do not not know the music. The XM Deep Tracks is far superior with real variety. If you want an intelligent and interesting approach to rock and roll XM is way ahead of Sirius.
Thanks, Greg Hamby
Programing has gone downhill since the XM/SIRIUS merger. You can't take an excellent station like XM's once very cool X Country and mixed it with a Nashville deluded pop country SIRIUS station and call it new and improved. The whole point of this technoloogy was to offer "specific" genres for "specific" listners as a choice away from simple minded music programing that we call "commercial radio".
I recently rented a 2010 Ford Escape which had Sirius Satellite Radio built in. I have to tell you the reception was excellent,and there were just so many great channels to choose from. I don't know enough about satellite technology to distinguish the quality of sound between built in radios or those added later, but this unit was perfect. Also, I have never owned XM or Sirius, but people I know who have owned XM have wished for the Sirius packages. To be fair, it was simply a programming choice. If at all possible, borrow a unit of each from a friend to decide which is best for you. I was skeptical at first, but my neighbour is loaning me his XM unit so I can judge for myself. He is one of my "Pro XM" friends and he suggested listening then deciding for myself. Either way, I believe that even at $15 per month, they are both a great value. I will keep you posted.
HELP...I am JUST starting to research satellite radio and am very confused. I want to listen to satellite radio in my home, basically because my smooth jazz station has left the area. Questions: 1. Do I HAVE to have an OUTSIDE antenna to get reception in my home?
2. Does ANYONE know about the Ipod Touch...I know I sound techn. challenged. I see I can use satellite radio on the Ipod Touch. Is the Ipod Touch like the Ipod or is it affiliated with a phone service? I am sorry to sound so dumb. I am thinking if I purchase the Ipod Touch and then subscribe to satel. this way, I can listen in my home...I AM DESPERATE. HELP.
I WANT XM BACK!!!! SIRIUS SERIOUSLY SUCKS! I wish they would have never merged. The DJ's were better and the music was too. I hate my sirius and canceled my service.
PLEASE XM owner, mangers, founders please come back, we need you. Even DirectTV got rid of Sirius!
listen to both on their websites free for 7 days. compare them there.
I got sirius and i wish i got XM, the hits channel plays dif categories where the one on sirius plays just pop.
I like XM for a true mix channel and they have it, among more channels for the same price
wish i went with XM...
Is there really a difference between Sirius and XM, Chad?
Sirius Canada has poor customer service. They DEMAND a credit card be kept on file and they unilaterally charge this card as they wish. This is an antiquated policy as too many businesses are having security issues with their customer information being compromised by hackers. No business, including Sirius Canada, is immune to online security threats. We as consumers need to make it perfectly clear to those businesses who DEMAND that a credit card be kept on file, that this practice amounts to an invasion of privacy. When someone from Sirius, supposedly called us it was from an "UNKNOWN NAME" "UNKNOWN CALLER" the lady asked for a valid credit card. Now what kind of an idiot would give this information out over the phone to an "unidentified" caller. Not long after that call, Sirius had the audacity to stop our radio feed. Having spent a total of 87 minutes on HOLD over the past 3 days amounted to a total waste of time as I have better things to do. I still had a credit on my Sirius Canada account and yet they still cut off our satellite feed. This amounts to pure "GREED" on behalf of Sirius Canada as now they can charge a bogus reconnection and/or activation fee. Seeing as they have a monopoly on satellite radio, Sirius Canada feels they can do as they like, cut off service with a credit still on the account. THIEVES!
I live in Catemaco, Mexico, about 100 miles SE of Veracruz. Would I be able to get satellite radio here?
Also, to do away with monthly payments, how much would a lifetime subscription cost?
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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