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The recent development of satellite radio received a lot of newspaper and web page space, as well as plenty of attention from traditional media channels. There are a few things that are changing rapidly in satellite radio, changes that may or may not affect the future of the XM and Sirius Satellite Radio companies, as well as the consumers. A few major steps towards the dynamic development of satellite radio have given consumers and financial analysts different perspectives from which to analyze this phenomenon. With the MLB moving away from terrestrial radio and heading for digital radio transmissions, with a Playboy Satellite Radio channel that has over a million subscribers and several other impressive developments, we can say that satellite radio is on an ascending path. An abrupt one, filled with shock news and unexpected developments, but ascending nevertheless. An interesting idea is the one that XM and Sirius are working on a single receiver unit that can receive broadcasts from both major satellite radio broadcasters. Another event that rocked the satellite radio world was Howard Stern’s online streaming on Sirius. His appearance on the Sirius Satellite Radio gave a new light on the Sirius company, as one that offers more than radios and broadcasting means – as one that offers genuine content.
Terrestrial versus satellite
One of the problems XM and Sirius have had is with making the satellite receiver something desirable, cheap and effective. In the beginning the satellite receivers were large and expensive, and performed poorly on moving vehicles. Of course, the modern satellite receivers are much better, very small and compact and offer excellent reception in any area. The digital quality of the satellite radio has some amazing benefits on its own since there are no noise disturbances that were traditional to FM and AM broadcasts. Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio can be picked up on all the US territory and they are also available in some parts of Canada and Mexico. Since the direct line of sight from the satellite to the receiver may often become obstructed by landscape or buildings, land based devices were installed in order to eliminate the lack of direct satellite transmission The broad range of broadcast and the superior sound quality have taken satellite radio high in the preferences of the consumers. On the other hand, terrestrial radio has some strong points of its own. To begin with, it’s free and readily accessible to anyone. Also, terrestrial radio is so common, widespread and easy to use that anyone can enjoy it and most people don’t find it hard to actually create their radio stations. Many people are reluctant to move on to satellite radio, which is more complex and complicated.
The end consumer – the real winner
In this battle of the radios, the end consumer is the one that gets the most benefits. And since the competition got even fiercer when satellite radio started taking away subscribers of regular radio, things have gone one step further. Also, the competition between XM Radio and Sirius is in the benefit of the subscribers. An interesting aspect of the competition between the two satellite industry giants was realized by Interoperable Technologies - a joint effort funded by both Sirius and XM Radio, with the intention of bringing dual-subscription satellite radios to the general market. Analysts expect to see even more development in this direction, with XM Radio and Sirius entangled in a strange relationship, where they are working together on one project and battling it out on the satellite radio broadcasters market. In order to understand the way online streaming develops and the changes in the way satellite radios work we have to keep an eye open to the industry giants but also to the companies looking to obtain a license from the FCC. One thing is certain, however – no matter if satellite radio or terrestrial radio come up with new ways of attracting customers, the end users are the ones who will always come on top.
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