Monday, March 13, 2006

Satellite Radio, continued

Posted by Picasa Here is a photo of the satellite radio receiver that I purchased – it is the only satellite radio on the market (that I am aware of) that includes a regular FM radio tuner (needed because someone else in my house likes to listen to the Steve Dahl talk radio show in Chicago in the evenings) AND Sirius, along with an auxiliary input (for you to insert your iPod). The receiver looks good in my living room with its wood tone and it is very unobtrusive. I also purchased a "side speaker" so that it comes in stereo (the base unit comes with one speaker like a clock radio) and a matching wood subwoofer that I hide away under the shelf. This system gives surprisingly good sound, is cost effective, and takes up hardly any room in our house. One (minor) gripe is that the remote doesn't let you control sound - for some reason the satellite (Sirius) remotes let you change the channel but NOT control the sound level This is probably because the unit can generally be removed from the player so they have generic units and different player types and the volume is tied into the player. You can mute it, but it would be nice to be able to adjust the volume.

Finally, something else to think of is the fact that satellite radio is a distinct challenge to CD's and recorded music, even downloaded tunes for the iPod. Why is that? It is because people typically buy CD's (or download songs) to have the songs they want because they can't generally find the songs they want on the radio. This is a general statement, but I'd bet that this is a common driver of music purchase. Once you get involved with satellite radio, however, it instantly becomes a strong challenger to the iPod and the CD. If you pick a station, you pretty much know what you are going to get, and it won't be interrupted with commercials. It is easier to just flick on the satellite radio than it is to sit down and think about what you want to listen to and set up a playlist. If you get bored with what you are listening to, just change the channel and something new pops up instantly.

I think that over time you will see satellite radio seriously dent music sales because it is simpler and cheaper than buying even 1 CD / month. Think about that - for the price of one CD / month you get 100 stations of music, much of it brand new, all at your fingertips. Bye bye, terrestrial radio. Another bullet in the already broken-down business model for recorded music sales. Even the iPod is going to see some serious competition once portable satellite players go mainstream, mark my words.


Dan from Madison said...

Something I heard about and can't wait for - podcasts from satellite radio. You would be able to just download the poscast and dump it directly into your iPod and off you go. By the way, with XM you can also listen online at no additional charge, which I do frequently in my office. Also, XM gives access to practically all sports at any time. I listened to an Illini basketball game while working late one night. Try finding that on terrestrial radio.

Carl from Chicago said...

agreed on the sports. I think that another next step is going to be a "dual" sirius / XM tuner because they split football / basketball / baseball / NCAA games between them. I also listen to them on satellite radio whenever I can.