Bookscan -- Week Ending 12/4/05
Moving from Print to Digital

Sirius Is a Joke

Earlier this year I took a test drive with the XM2Go satellite radio device. I returned the system the next day due to the fact that it didn’t perform as promised. For a few weeks now I’ve been reading up on the competing Sirius S50 unit. It’s a very nice package and offers the capability to store 50 hours of broadcast recordings as well as your own MP3’s. Heck, if I put enough recorded songs/shows on there I might not even have to take my MP3 player on the road. The S50 is kind of pricey ($330 before $50 rebate), but I figured it would be worth the investment. Again, I was wrong…

The more I dig into the S50 the worse it gets. Despite paying a lot more for the hardware, the S50 doesn’t come with all the required accessories that the XM2Go box includes. The biggest problem: The RIAA has apparently intervened and prevents you from recording more than one song at a time. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to sit there for several hours pressing “Record” just so I can capture enough songs for replay on a coast-to-coast flight.

Here’s the funny part… Enough time has now passed since I tried the XM2Go system that the price has dropped and is now much more attractive, flaws and all. I can get an XM2Go for $150 after $50 rebate. Plus, the XM system comes with all the various antennas you need for home, office and car – Sirius forces you to pay an additional $100 for a home docking/antenna system. XM also now apparently offers a much smaller and powerful handheld antenna for more portable uses. I figure even if I can’t use it walking around town, it’s now cheap enough to justify for use at home, office and in my car.

One way or another, I’m determined to completely walk away from the limited choice of local stations. It looks like XM will be the winner after all.


Jim Minatel

Joe: You might want to check our Wrox-star author Scott Hanselman's review of this $14.99 XM receiver.
Price is currently $49.99 - 35 "coupon" so $14.99 without having to rebate hassle. (However, Staples, where Scott's link goes to for this, is currently out of stock.)
If you are looking at this as a toe dipping experience rather than a plunge, why blow $150?

Joe Wikert

Jim, one word: Portability. The model Scott talks about is one of many that can be used at home or in your car, but it's not designed to be carried around with you and is unable to hold/store songs. I like the idea of a small satellite radio device that can not only work at home or in the car, but would also allow me to play back recordings on a plane, for example. The ideal unit would be much like the S50, which is able to hold up to 50 hours of recordings, but without the limit of not being able to do scheduled recordings. For now, I'm stuck with just loading up my MP3 player with as much as I can find, but I'm hoping one day either XM or Sirius will come out with the perfect device...

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