Sirius To Carry March Madness

Sirius just inked a deal to air the NCAA men’s tournament through 2007. They’ll be broadcasting every game of the tournament for the next 3 years.

Though I watch the majority of it on TV, I think it’s a great move by Sirius to try to gain some ground on XM. After comparing both for months a year ago, I’m SO glad I went with Sirius. Has been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. The NFL package on there helped sell it for me but getting the NCAA package makes it even better.

I can’t even remember the last time I listened to a local FM station. Whether you choose XM or Sirius, I highly recommend making the switch.

Hey jcl, I am thinking of getting a subscription to one of the radio satelitte services… maybe you can help me out with a couple of questions.

What kind of player do you have? (ecost has a good deal (I think) on a jvc right now.) Do you have one of the ones you can use in the car or take inside?

Did you install everything in the car yourself (antenna, tuner, etc.)?

What kind of reception do you get indoors? I get tired of listening to the same stuff over and over so I would really like to be able to use it at work. I couldn’t put an antenna outside and my office is about 10 ft. from the closest window. I probably couldn’t pick anything up, could I? I have heard that indoor reception is pretty bad. I know Sirius has free webstreams for the music channels but not sports/talk/entertainment channels. I would like to be able to listen to them at work too.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

I’m your man for satellite radio. :stuck_out_tongue:

[b]What kind of player do you have? (ecost has a good deal (I think) on a jvc right now.) Do you have one of the ones you can use in the car or take inside? [/b]

I bought my setup early, when there was only one product available for Sirius which was the Audiovox. They have since moved to the “Sportster” version which is similar but just not as bulky. With that particular one, you will need the car dock to listen in your car and an additional home dock to listen at home. However, you can usually find a packaged deal these days. And many of the head units will pop right into a boombox, that you can also buy. This applies to both Sirius and XM. XM is also doing a portable (walkman) version but Sirius has one in the works as well. I’ll clue you in more on the pros/cons of going with a stand-alone unit in a second.

[b]Did you install everything in the car yourself (antenna, tuner, etc.)? [/b]
Yes and it's a breeze. With the stand-alone units, you simply plug the adapter into the cigarette lighter and that covers your power. There is a small, magnetic antenna that you will run from the back of the head unti to a preferred spot on your car. The wire is super thin so it's no problem to run it under your molding. You can't even locate the wire I ran on my vehicle...you just see the antenna magnet. You can go from opening the box to listening to satellite radio in literally like 10 minutes.
[b]What kind of reception do you get indoors? I get tired of listening to the same stuff over and over so I would really like to be able to use it at work. I couldn't put an antenna outside and my office is about 10 ft. from the closest window. I probably couldn't pick anything up, could I? I have heard that indoor reception is pretty bad. [/b]

With Sirius, you get a free password so that you can get all the MUSIC feeds online for free, in perfect reception. I cannot honestly say if they will allow their talk/sports stations to be picked up that way. But personally, I LOVE sitting at my desk at work and listening to all the satellite music stations on my PC. And you can share the password. My wife logs in from her workplace and listens to the music as well. As for the other option, depending on where you place the antenna and structures around your home, you may get decent reception from a home-based unit but it will vary. It’s not bad though.

Now back to the auto. Here’s the thing. With both XM/Sirius, you are listening to the stations via a FM frequency in your car. So you’d bascially turn you CD player to like 88.1FM. Then Sirius/XM transmits their signal through that frequency. This is not the greatest concept simply because the quality of the signal isn’t constant. Sometimes it’s super clear and sometimes you can hear some faint static coming through. This isn’t exactly great when you’re paying for a service like satellite radio. Not to mention, most of the stand-alone units are pretty bulky and just don’t look good mounted. That red JVC one you link is actually designed for truck drivers because it attaches to your windshield with a suction cup. But you can buy a mounting kit (if the one that comes with the unit doesn’t suit you) to help with the mounting but for me, I just couldn’t find a location where I was happy with it.

So…enter FM transmitter but this requires a CD player that is Sirius or XM-Ready. People tend to be mislead on this. They think that if they buy a CD player that says Sirius-Ready on it, that they just install it and can start listening to their satellite radio through it. NOT the case. I recently bought a new CD player that’s Sirius-ready but the only way to utilize that feature was to buy a Kenwood FM transmitter through Crutchfield. (Don’t buy it locally…will run you $79.99 and it’s $20 less on Crutchfield). This is basically a thin, black box that you discreetly mount in your car. I mounted mine under the passenger side dash. This completely emliminates having to listen to satellite radio through your local FM stations. It sends a direct feed straight into your satellite-ready stereo, if it’s equipped for that. Not only does this eliminate the need for the bulky stand-alone satellite tuner but it gives you crystal clear reception for all your satellite stations. And everything is then controlled/displayed directly on the screen of your CD player (or remote control).

Just my opinion, but I would highly suggest getting a deck that’s satellite-ready and getting the transmitter. Just the quality of the reception alone is worth it over using the stand-alone unit.

Which provider you choose is up to you but I really did my homework when trying to decide and I couldn’t be happier that I went with Sirius. Both offer similar packages but I’ve used both and I definitely made the right decision. But either one is better than local radio.

Let me know if you need any help with anything or have any other questions.

I will probably end up going with the stand alone car dock unit that braocasts over fm radio. My car is relativley new with a (factory) 6 disc bose changer and I’d rather not take it out. Why do you say the sound quality isn’t as good with the stand alone broadcasting? Is this what you have? In an old car I used to have one of those stand alone CD changers behind the seat that broadcast over fm and it sounded good to me.

I am aware of the internet broadcasts (^^see my edit in the last post - I think I was editing while you typed your respnse). I am listening to The Spectrum now with the free 3-day trial I just found out about on their website. :stuck_out_tongue: The problem is, I want to be able to listen to the sports/entertainment stuff at work too. I’d really like be able to listen to The Dan Patrick Show in the afternoons. I know they stream it from espnradio.com but our firewall blocks it out. I’m afraid they would eventually block out the Sirius webstreams too. I guess I will just have to try it and see what kind of reception I can get here.

If I decide to get one, I think I will go with Sirius too. They seem to have all of the sports except for baseball. I also hear that Howard Stern (not that I am really a big fan) will only be on Sirius starting in 2006. XM charges extra for webstreams and premium stations. :frowning:

Thanks again for the help. :smiley:

[b]I will probably end up going with the stand alone car dock unit that braocasts over fm radio. My car is relativley new with a (factory) 6 disc bose changer and I'd rather not take it out. Why do you say the sound quality isn't as good with the stand alone broadcasting? Is this what you have? In an old car I used to have one of those stand alone CD changers behind the seat that broadcast over fm and it sounded good to me.[/b]

The pro to going with a stand-alone is that you DO have the option of taking it with you into your home, work or anywhere under the sun if you buy the boombox. Since I bought the Sirius-ready deck and transmitter, I can’t relocate my feed into the home other than the online music feeds. I definitely think it’s the way to go if you don’t plan on listening to the feed strictly in your vehicle.

As for the sound, I initially had the stand-alone that had to broadcast over 88.1, 88.3, 88.5 or 88.7 FM. I’m not suggesting that the quality is going to be terrible. It’s really not at all but you WILL notice some light static here and there. It has nothing to do with the satellite signal as much as it does the local FM signal you’re broadcasting through. For me, I found myself having to flip through from 88.1 on up to 88.7 every once in a while just to get a clearer reception. I’m pretty picky with my audio so anything less than a perfect signal is going to bug me a little but most people probably won’t mind the sound they get from the stand-alone. I listened that way for almost a year before I went with the transmitter so it’s not bad, but you will notice it is all I’m saying.

As for the online streams, you’re not going to get the ESPN feeds on your computer because the satellite providers won’t broadcast it now. I’m not sure why but I’m sure it’s a licensing issue. See, the music stations on Sirius/XM are all orginal to Sirius/XM. If you put Sirius on Shade 45 (Eminem’s station), you’re listening to a station that is broadcast directly out of the Sirius studios so they can put that feed online for free since you’re already paying them for that service. But with something like ESPN, it’s a whole different ball of wax since that feed isn’t exclusive to Sirius/XM or their own personal station. But like I said, this could very well change in the future but don’t be surprised if it’s a premium service for both XM/Sirius. But you can also expect each provider to create their own talk shows which will be available for free online. Sirius already has one or two. But for now, you’ll have to live with just all the music stations for the online feed unless you’re using a home dock.

And yes, Stern cranks up in 2006 on Sirius with no FCC implications of course. That first day on the air should be interesting to say the least…lol. Sirius is definitely more sports-oriented. They have countless sports stations that I can’t even keep up with. I’m usually on NFL Radio, ESPN Radio, ESPN News or listening to a game. They broadcast most of the college football games and all the NFL games, with scoring/time displayed on the screen. They have some good fantasy shows on there too if you’re in to that.

You may not be in position to do it but if you go with Sirius, I would strongly consider just coughing up the cash for the lifetime subscription. If you think you’ll be using the service for a long time (and trust me, you will), it’s a cost-effective decision in my opinion. While I think $12.95 a month is a great price for what you get, it adds up quickly and pretty soon, you’ll surpass the lifetime price.

One other suggestion…if you go with a stand alone, really check out the interior of your car before you buy a unit. You need to get an idea for where you want to mount the dock because the location may dictate what unit you go with. The one I had worked great in my Blazer but when I sold it and got a Maxima, I quickly realized that there was NOWHERE to mount it and that’s one reason I went with the transmitter/satellite-ready receiver.

I see that Sirius has Maxim radio coming too… I have no idea what that is, but it sounds cool.

It looks like there is a huge variety of stuff to listen to, so I can’t wait to get hooked up. I spend about an hour driving each day (total) plus 8 or more hours at work listening to the radio (or mp3s)… the same old songs and commercials get really old really fast.

I am a little leary of the lifetime subscription for a couple of reasons. One is it says “the lifetime of the radio.” I haven’t read the fine print so I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I don’t like the sound of it. It sounds like when your unit dies and you have to buy a new one that you would have to pay again. Second, I’m not sure that XM and Sirius will both be able to survive. Kinda like the old Betamax/VHS battle… Sirius certainly seems to have the upper hand right now and signing Howard Stern could be a big blow to XM. I guess we will see how things unfold in the next few years.

Thanks again for the advice. I’ll let you know what I decide.

I think they’re both be able to survive/coexist just fine once more people make the switch. People right now just don’t want to pay for radio since it’s free but it comes down to what you want to hear. I don’t care for local radio and only having a handful of options. And if I want to hear sports talk radio, I certainly don’t like being limited to WFNZ. It’s easily one of of my better technology purchases in recent years.

Maxim Radio was supposed to air in October but when I surfed by the station a week or so ago, they were still doing the promo loops. I’ll have to check again today but from what I read, it sounds like a really good station for men.

As for pay plans, there’s also no commitment with Sirius. You can subscribe for 1, 2, 5, 12, or 100 months with no penalities for canceling. And they don’t charge you anything if you upgrade your components and need to switch the service to another/newer source. If you do suscribe, activate you service online. It’s only like $5 to activate that way but $15 I think over the phone.