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How To Decide Which Satellite Radio Service Is Best For You

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There are two Satellite Radio services available: XM and SIRIUS. They're both good, so which one is right for you? By spending a little time reviewing their differences, you will no doubt see which one should be your particular choice.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: varies

Here's How:

  1. Check the programming: XM has 150 Channels. SIRIUS has 120 channels. Out of SIRIUS' 120, 65 are commercial-free music channels and the other 55 are "talk, news, sports and entertainment programming". XM offers 67 music channels, many commercial free, with 30 others that stream a similar variety as SIRIUS. (Note: amount of channels changes.)
  2. Review the cost: XM is $12.95/month but you can lock in lower rates for longer commitments. SIRIUS is $12.95/month and also has lower rates for longer plans. You can cancel either one at any time when going month-to-month. XM offers a pro-rated refund on longer plans. SIRIUS has a $75 dollar cancellation fee on prepaid subscriptions.
  3. Decide what equipment you want: Both companies offer various equipment options including satellite-ready radios for permanent installation and portable options for listening in the car or home. Each service offers comparable products in similar prices ranges.
  4. Review the websites: Both XM and SIRIUS have very functional websites where you can find out information, see programming schedules, read news, see subscription plans and even activate subscriptions. SIRIUS subscribers can listen to all streams across the web once issued a log-in password. XM offers looped samples of each stream to visitors.
  5. Also see:

    XM Satellite Radio Hardware and Receiver Product Tour

    SIRIUS Satellite Radio Hardware and Receiver Product Tour

Tips:

  1. Do-it-yourself car installation for many units is not terribly hard. You can save money going this route.
  2. Although the satellite antennas for autos are small, they still "mark" you as having expensive equipment inside. Having a good car security system is helpful.
  3. Check each website for current specials on equipment, activation and subscriptions. It's very competitive and you can save money.
  4. If you're still debating whether the cost is worth it, remember: if there is just one channel you LOVE with programming you cannot find anywhere else, that can make the expense worthwhile by itself.
  5. If your work takes you on the road often, you might be able to deduct some of the expense. Ask your accountant or tax professional.

What You Need

  • Satellite-ready radio or receiver
  • Appropriate satellite Radio installation kits
  • Satellite Radio subscription
  • Credit card

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