Is Sirius lifetime subscription a good idea?
August 5, 2005 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Sirius subscription: Lifetime, month-to-month, or other?

I've decided to take the plunge to Sirius radio, but I hate the monthly fee I'd have to pay. I'm wondering if I'll feel better by plunging in for the $499 lifetime (of your radio) subscription so I don't see those nasty bills every month. What are your experiences with that sort of thing? Will I regret being tied to the radio for so long, or is Sirius pretty lenient on upgrading should the lifetime radio get old?
posted by Gudlyf to Technology (10 answers total)
Lifetime of your radio sounds like a bad deal. What if your radio craps out? Can you transfer it? If so, then it's your lifetime, not your radio's.

If it is your lifetime, then maybe it's worth it. What are they now, $12.95/month? If you buy a multi-year, maybe you can get 2 years for ~$220 or so. So, think of the service as costing about $110/year and base your decision on that.
posted by eas98 at 7:37 AM on August 5, 2005

Personally, I wouldn't do the lifetime. But if you're absolutely sure you'll be listening for 3.2 years or whatever, then go for it.

I'm pretty sure you can transfer your membership from one radio to another. You might want to call them up, or ask the guys at Siriusbackstage.

Editorial content below.

I have Sirius at the moment and I've been pretty disappointed with it, to be honest. It's kind of like Cable TV: you get a lot more channels but there isn't really anything on. A lot of their channels repeat songs beyond the point of irritation (the indie rock channel is horrible), the sound quality isn't great, and I get a lot of dropouts in my car due to overhanging trees.

I rarely listen to it anymore. I listen to vastly superior internet radio at home (through itunes) and carry a brace of CDs in the car.
posted by selfnoise at 7:39 AM on August 5, 2005

I really enjoy Sirius but continue to pay quarterly because I just don't know that they'll be around, and without the company, the product is useless. With TiVo, on the other hand, I'm confident that 48 hours after the company is shuttered my TiVo will be fully functional, thanks to the internets.
posted by piro at 7:47 AM on August 5, 2005

One thing to consider, and I don't by any shape or form mean to make this into a political thread, is whether the stations you listen to on Sirius will continue to be carried by the company. Air America listeners were unpleasantly surprised to find one morning that the station had been completely dropped from the broadcast, even though many people specifically bought their Sirius radios to listen to the station.

So, there's no real guarantee. You're at the mercy of the company. That, to me, is the only potential downside to getting the lifetime subscription. And, well, the potential for the company to go completely bankrupt, you know.
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 AM on August 5, 2005

I have Sirius, and to be honest I am quite happy with it.

With that said, I opted for the six month subscription. Basically, I think that their hardware is very first-gen at this point, and I don't want a lifetime subscription on a unit that only cost me $38 and that I will hopefully replace in a year or so.
posted by hummus at 7:53 AM on August 5, 2005

We have a one year (gift) subscription to XM which is fine. It seems that the satellite radio field is still up for grabs in some ways like odinsdream says, with XM and Sirius being the major players, but I wouldn't be suprised to see others coming in. If you want to avoid monthly payments you could just give yourself a one year-ish subscription and then evaluate at the end of the period to see if Sirius - or even satellite radio - is the way you want to go. On the other hand, your lifetime radio will be resalable should you change your mind. On the other other hand it will probably not be resalable for anything like what you paid for it.
posted by jessamyn at 9:36 AM on August 5, 2005

One way to look at it would be to frame it as a time-value of money question. Sirius would like to be able to book the revenue now for services that you'll consume in the future. You forgo the revenue now. From an economic point of view, the question is what else could you be doing with that money instead of paying Sirius? For example, $100 invested today would be worth $105 in a year's time if you assume a 5% return on your investment. Subsequent years would be worth more, because you'd be earning interest on your $105 and so on. You can bet the finance folks at Sirius are aware of this logic and so are the marketing folks. Similarly, you won't have the money available to buy other goods--whatever they may be.

Similarly, as Jessamyn notes, you're also not only buying the subscription, you're buying into their technology and may be less inclined to switch if something better comes along. So in addition to the one-time expenditure, you're likely to have additional Sirius hardware purchases over time.

All of these tradeoffs may be insignificant if you love what you get from Satellite radio--if that's the case, then the lifetime subscription may be money well spent.
posted by teddyb109 at 11:17 AM on August 5, 2005

I heard some scut on a business program about the possibility of XM buying Sirius so you might want to scrutinize the terms of this deal as far as change of control of the company.
posted by phearlez at 1:20 PM on August 5, 2005

Unless you know for sure that you're gonna love having Sirius, I'd go for no more than a year. I paid for one year up front, and am a bit underwhelmed with it. There are a couple of channels I like, but overall I don't think it is a great value -- yet. I realize it will take time for them to build, and my hope is that it gets better.
posted by spilon at 1:56 PM on August 5, 2005

I highly recommend XM Radio. The ad-free 150 stations are fantastic, although I find myself listening to 2 or 3 stations mostly. The coverage is better than my father's Sirius deck, and the price is less ($9.99).

I strongly recommend that you check out XM (including such stations as 50 -- the Loft) before you take the Sirius plunge.
posted by richardhay at 1:55 PM on August 7, 2005

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