Opinions on XM radio and PC kit
March 31, 2004 6:12 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone here tried out XM radio? After listening to dead air and buffering delays all day today, I figured I might just break down and get an XM radio for my home office to hear Air America Radio and whatever else they may have on the dial. I'm thinking the PC kit looks cheap and I could use my exisiting good-sounding computer speaker setup. So is it worth the ten bucks a month? Are there good selections of indie music on the dial? Anyone tried piping sound to their PC with this kit before?
posted by mathowie to Technology (6 answers total)
My brother has XM radio and loves it but it is in his car and he commutes in the DC area. Sorry, no experience with piping to pc or indie music. At first I was really skeptical about satellite radio. If I could have gotten actual radio stations around the country (WXRT from Chicago) I would have been all over it, but it just sounded like designer elevator music. I am slowly starting to see the the appeal. But I don't have the answer about indie music, for example.
posted by noether at 7:32 PM on March 31, 2004

I'm a Sirius subscriber, so I'm biased towards them, but staradio in general is worth looking into, if only for commercial-free music stations.

If you'll forgive a self-post, I run a small news aggregator for satradio info that might provide some info: http://satradioblog.com
posted by o2b at 8:30 PM on March 31, 2004

Best answer: I've got XM. It's sweet. I don't know anything about the PCR, since I've got the SkyFi and shy away from things that require Windows to work;> That's a damn tempting price, though.

There's a lot of indie music. Unsigned, for example. I'm not totally sure what kind you're interested in, so I hope you look through the XM website first. You can browse through channels' descriptions and get a short list of some artists each channel plays. There's a lot of very eclectic music. Every time I turn it on I hear a song I've never heard before, and which I know I'd never hear on traditional radio, no matter what channel I select. Well, except for the few that specialize in Top40 fare. There are channels where you can tell the programmer reads Pitchfork Media. World music galore. It's like there's a channel for every possible listening situation. Their hip-hop and rap selection is a little weak, but there's all sorts of jazz and blues. The news is great. You can listen to C-SPAN, the cable news channels, BBC World, every talk radio station imaginable (I'm probably going to have it permanently tuned to Air America now). There's always someone on doing stand-up. There are always old-time radio plays on. Showtunes. Soundtracks. Cool live concerts. Channels that don't shy away from playing epic-length tracks. Music playlists for every decade--going back to like the 30s I think. The sound quality's amazing, except on the talk stations, where you can hear the compression like a low bitrate mp3. Sirius used to have an upper hand by being all ad-free, but now XM's doing the same with their music.

Satellite radio is sort of like listening to someone else's iPod on shuffle.
posted by jbrjake at 10:51 PM on March 31, 2004

I have XM and love it. I have the car and home stereo adaptor both so I can listen at home and in the car.

XM is in a golden age right now. No commercials (music stations only) and lots of obscure playlists. It's like cable TV in the early days when it was subversive before it went mainstream. XM will eventually go mainstream and suck but right now the DJs are great, the play lists are great, theres a real feeling of being part of something revolutionary and groundbreaking.

I also notice a lot of artists love XM they come on for interviews because they get airtime for the first time in years.. old punk rockers, bluegrass, 60s etc.. they are all getting a revival of sorts a second chance to be on the air. Like I say though I don't think this spirit will last forever so catch it now while its new and fresh.
posted by stbalbach at 12:31 AM on April 1, 2004

I've had an XM for nearly a year, and I've enjoyed it. I've considered how much longer I'm going to keep it, as Clear Channel has an ownership stake.
posted by Dreama at 1:38 AM on April 1, 2004

My parents have XM and love it. They listen to the comedian channel while stuck in LA traffic and it keeps them from killing their fellow motorists. If you spend a lot of time in traffic, XM is for you.

There's a lot of content that you wouldn't find on radio stations.

Personally, since I have high-speed broadband, I listen to internet radio stations, and what I like from there I buy from the apple music store and burn to CD or my iPod.
posted by SpecialK at 8:12 PM on April 1, 2004

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