Satellite radio services have been in the news for quite a while, and the two main providers in the United States have gained millions of subscribers. There are still billions of people who haven’t experienced the difference between a satellite radio system and a traditional radio, though. It may cost a few extra dollars, but satellite radio services offer much more than AM/FM radio.
The most obvious difference between satellite radio services and traditional radio is the hundreds of channels that are available. The two main satellite radio providers in the United States, Sirius and XM, each offer well over 100 channels to choose from. The channels are also practically commercial-free, save for a few station identifications. With so many channels available, the satellite radio services can cater to every niche market all at once. Listeners can peruse music stations from every decade and every genre; whether it’s alternative country or mainstream top 40 or anything else they are in the mood for. There are also news, talk, traffic, weather, sports and other types of entertainment channels.
All those choices do come at a price, but the cost of a satellite radio subscription to Sirius or XM makes it possible for them to offer commercial-free broadcasting. There are also opportunities for consumers to win free satellite radio through great satellite radio sweepstakes on the Internet. Whether consumers win satellite radio or purchase a satellite radio system with a small monthly fee, they will have a whole new world of radio to listen to. Consumers can either choose a monthly or yearly subscription fee to enjoy one of the satellite radio services. Sirius and XM are planning to merge by late 2007 or early 2008 as long as they can get clearance with the FCC. If this occurs, many of the services will probably be universal as well.
Automobile dealerships and manufacturers have also begun offering different types of incentives for consumers to get auto satellite radio. Many car dealers are giving three months or even up to six months of free satellite radio services to get car buyers in on the technology. Having an auto satellite radio allows drivers to get a clear station anywhere they go without switching around, which is safer. Drivers can listen to the same station or hundreds of other stations ranging from news, music and news in better quality than AM or FM bands. To receive the digital audio streams they just need a satellite radio antenna and receiver.
It may soon even be possible for satellite radio stations to broadcast pictures and videos directly to a car or home stereo with digital broadcasting. Receiving a satellite signal is completely digital; and digital signals sounds clean static-free. The satellite radio signal is encoded and sent to the satellite, then sent back to a receiver which decoded and plays the sound. The only reason listeners may lose the signal is because the satellites are traditional on the horizons, and drivers move along the Earth’s round surface. The signal never goes out on a satellite radio system for more than a couple moments, though. And the technology will just continue to improve as time goes by.