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Satellite Radio Options

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by: Gary Brikowski

Imagine listening to commercial-free radio channels devoid of the hiss and distortion of standard radio stations. Satellite radio makes it all possible, and you can stream it in your car with a satellite-ready car stereo, tuner, antenna, and subscription. Since satellite radio is provided nation-wide, you can drive cross-country listening to one station, and you won’t have to deal with low quality playback or feeds cutting in and out.

In terms of subscribing, even though satellite radio providers XM and Sirius have merged, they continue to offer unique programming under the SIRIUS and XM brand names. Both slates offer numerous music, news, sports, talk, traffic and weather stations, as well as exclusive content. XM Radio offers more than 170 channels, highlighted by MLB broadcasts, PGA Tour coverage, NHL, and both NCAA football and basketball games. On the other hand, SIRIUS offers more than 130 channels, including NBA and NFL coverage as well as English Premier League soccer games. Supplementary subscriptions such as ala carte programming and "Best of SIRIUS" or "Best of XM" are also available now that these companies have merged. For an additional $4 you can get the best of SIRIUS if you are a XM subscriber, and vice versa.

Satellite radio is also available in dock-and-play receiver format. These portable plug-and-play satellite radio players are compatible with home kits, boomboxes, car stereos and other docking stations. It is an easy way to add satellite radio to your vehicle. Simply use a kit to connect these receivers to your car stereo. You can connect the car kits through a wireless FM transmitter, and the satellite radio programming will broadcast over an unused FM channel. A better option is a wired FM modulator, which operates in a similar fashion through an unused FM station, but will not produce as much distortion. The best option is to plug the dock-and-play unit into your in-dash car stereo’s aux input. While this gives you the best signal, your stereo may not have an aux input and some might require an additional adapter.

You can also stream satellite radio with portable satellite radio players. Like iPods and MP3 players, portable satellite radio players can be brought along anywhere, as long as you are within the satellite’s signal range. A neat way to save your favorite songs and programming is the record and playback feature. Much like TiVo, you can set your player to record and store your favorite broadcasting for future playback. Song memory allows you to store the names of song titles and artists, which it uses to alert you whenever your favorites are being streamed. You can also store MP3s and WMAs, just like a regular digital music player.

To summarize, you can choose from plenty of options when it comes to satellite radio. Whatever you decide, you will be sure to enjoy the original programming and exclusive content.

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