Sirius Satellite RadioJeff and I spoiled ourselves this Christmas by buying a Sirius Satellite Radio.

Here are my thoughts so far:

When Travelling: This thing is excellent for roadtrips. It comes with a remote and I can sit in the passenger seat and flip through channels all day .. er.. until Jeff snaps and makes me pick one to stay on.

Installation: We opted out of the installation. With the receiver just on the front dash of Jeff’s truck, we can get decent reception. The problem is that it transmits the sound to the radio via an FM transmitter. On Christmas Day when we were driving back to Jeff’s family’s house it was foggy. The fog brought in a station on EVERY single notch on the FM dial. Therefore every channel had interference so we couldn’t select one to have a clear play back from the satellite radio. We will probably get the radio directly installed for this reason. It isn’t a problem in Northern Ontario, but it was definitely in Southern Ontario.

Internet Play: Since we got home, I’ve discovered that our subscription allows me to listen to many of the channels streaming online. Now this is way cool because I spend a lot of hours working here on my computer so I can have fresh content. Unfortunately none of the news stations Sirius carries are transmitted this way and so far I’ve listened to some really horrible talk radio shows. Last night I listened to several and they all seemed to be aimed at idiots who enjoyed listening to zero value blabber.

Music: There are all kinds of music stations, more than I’ve even fully sampled yet. I really enjoy the Bluegrass station. We listened to the Classic Vinyl station a decent amount too. Right now I’m listening to a 90’s Alternative Rock

Commercials: I’m THOROUGHLY annoyed by the amount of commercials on most of the channels. They all seem to be for Sirius. HELLO SIRIUS – we already bought your product and signed up for a year’s subscription, quit the sales. It is repetitive and irritating. There also seems to be a DJ on every music station that comes on to babble to you briefly every once in awhile.

Information Display: The radio has a text display that is really detailed. It displays the current song and artist. You can even browse the channels by scrolling through the current songs or artists playing rather than the channel. If you have a favourite artist, you can select it and it will notify you when they are playing on any channel. Unfortunately the internet version doesn’t display the name of the current song or program.
There are also 20 minute delayed stock quotes on Bloomberg radio. Oh and if you are a sports fan, you select your favourite teams and it will notify you if there is a game on, and if you choose not to listen to the game, it’ll still display the updated score to you when someone scores.

Selection: There are ALOT of channels – even ones I’ll never touch like French music, Latin, and Religious. There are three comedy channels and we listen to those a lot. They don’t seem to play an entire comedy set though – just bits from stand-up shows, but it displays the comedian on the radio so you can flip if you don’t like their jokes.
I’m a talk radio/news junkie. The Internet has just turned me into such an information fanatic. I wish there was a Canadian all news channel but there isn’t (I swear I read that there at least used to be). CBC is on there so I can tune into the news on the hour at least. There is also a handful of American news stations – a couple from CNN, Fox, Bloomberg, ABC, BBC, NPR, and others.

Sound Quality: Don’t be misled to believe the satellite radio will deliver CD quality sound because it still sounds very radio like – not even as good as a local in-stereo FM site. Perhaps that will change when we have the antennae receiver on the roof and direct wire it into the radio.

Our Radio: We got the Sportster 4 which allows you to record up to 40 minutes of radio if you want. Here is what it looks like:
Sportster 4

So far, I’m enjoying Sirius Satellite Radio. The only FM station I’ve listened to in the last 7 years is CBC radio so this adds some much needed variety.