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Print 15 comment(s) - last by wolrah.. on Jul 25 at 11:11 PM

New pricing structure allows customers to pick only the stations they want

XM and Sirius have announced proposed price cuts and new plans for post merger services, despite the fact that a merger between XM and Sirius is far from a done deal. A XM/Sirius FCC filing (PDF) reveals the company has a new pricing structure with new packages starting at $6.99 and going up to $16.99 per month.

This programming is a la carte, offering subscribers more service options. At $6.99 per month, customers can choose 50 channels and add additional channels for $.25 per month. Under the $6.99 package, the subscriber would have to choose all 50 channels from either XM or Sirius. The company does not allow mixing and matching between both services with the $6.99 package. This represents a 46% decrease in the price of the current lowest cost subscription rate from either provider.

Another a la carte option gives subscribers 100 channels and the option to pick from the best programming of both XM and Sirius for $14.99 per month. Other new service packages include two family friendly packs that block adult themed programs like Howard Stern and Playboy.

Customers will also be able to get all programming from both XM and Sirius on their current XM or Sirius hardware post merger for $16.99 per month. The proposed a la carte programming would be available within one year of the merger.


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Can current receivers pick up both frequencies?
By 91TTZ on 7/24/2007 9:48:12 PM , Rating: 3
Currently, Sirius receivers pick up the frequencies that Sirius uses (2320.00MHz - 2332.50MHz) and XM receivers pick up the frequencies that XM uses (2332.50MHz - 2345.00MHz).

The article says that under the new proposal, you can choose to get all of the channels that both Sirius and XM offer. Obviously they can't broadcast duplicates of each other's channels on both Sirius and XM's frequencies, since they're already bandwidth limited with their current channel lineups.

Is there any technical limitation preventing current receivers from picking up both Sirius and XM signals?




By mikecel79 on 7/25/2007 8:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
It's been stated that new radios would be needed to pickup stations from both services. I believe it's in the document that DT has linked to.


By mikecel79 on 7/25/2007 9:10:39 AM , Rating: 2
Here's a link to a Reuters article reporting that new radios would be needed for the combined plans.

http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articleinvesti...


By Wolfgang Hansson on 7/25/2007 9:29:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Here's a link to a Reuters article reporting that new radios would be needed for the combined plans.


The PDF linked in the story clearly says no new radios will be needed.

quote:
Best of Both Packages Will Be Available on Existing Radios

Today, if consumers want the best of both XM and SIRIUS, they need two satellite radios and two separate monthly subscriptions totaling $25.90. Following the merger of SIRIUS and XM, consumers will be able to obtain the best of both SIRIUS and XM, on any of today’s satellite radio devices with one monthly subscription.


By mikecel79 on 7/25/2007 10:24:04 AM , Rating: 2
Further down in the document under the table explaining the differences is this note.
quote:
*Available only for subscribers using next generation receivers who select channels via the Internet.

It looks like there is some discrepency in their document. You'll also notice they word the document very carefully.
quote:
XM customers would continue to receive their existing XM service, and be able to obtain certain SIRIUS programming. SIRIUS customers would continue to receive their existing SIRIUS service, and be able to obtain certain XM programming.


Notice they say certain, not all. They may be rebroadcasting channels from the other service on new channels. I really hope that can do it without replacing current radios but there is no clear cut answer to this question. I really like the idea of a $6.99 a month plan and I'm hoping this merger does go through.


How's the quality?
By Netscorer on 7/24/2007 7:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
I once wanted to get sattelite based on their advertisement of all-digital ad-free radio.
I've read however about 3 years ago that all-digital actually means sub FM quality and ad-free means loads of ads on talk shows.
Did they get better or worse since then?




RE: How's the quality?
By stevenplatt on 7/24/2007 7:42:57 PM , Rating: 2
The quality is decent. I am sirius subscriber. I have a quality after market setup with pioneer, kenwood and infinity components. The sound quality is better than that of FM, but far from that of a CD.

These new pricing plans make so much sense my main gripe as a subscriber is that much of the channels are crap. Yes, there are a ton of talk radio channels. Even the standard channels have DJ's that chime in after every other song. I would love to be able to select stations and save money, because of the 100+ stations, i may listen to 10 frequently. I do not know if this will be sufficient to save their business however. I noticed that i channel surf and just as with regular radio when i commercial comes on i change channels, with Sirius a song is played that i don't like, I change the channel. The ease of radio presets makes commercial free music not that important to consumers. Only those who make frequent long distance trips (truck drivers ect) will enjoy the service. I have a lifetime subscription, if i had to pay monthly i would discontinue service.


RE: How's the quality?
By therealnickdanger on 7/24/2007 7:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a Sirius subscriber - I have been for several years now. IIRC, the best quality any channel gets is roughly 160K, but they use some proprietary compression scheme. Different songs also seem to receive different compression, judging strictly by ear. I can certainly tell the difference between Sirius and a 320K MP3 in my car, but honestly, the awesome variety of content makes up for it, IMO. So long as Sirius doesn't inherit XM's commercials, I'll be a subscriber for life.


RE: How's the quality?
By PolPot on 7/24/2007 9:17:30 PM , Rating: 2
I have XM and must say that it's a sanity saver as I have to travel through rural Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri on a daily basis. Really, the selections are pretty disappointing. Mostly, I just leave it on CNN or XM Comedy. If you are relying on the built-in FM transmitter, it will definitely sound worse than an FM radio station. The interface on my Roady XT could stand a lot of improvement and simplification.


RE: How's the quality?
By AlexWade on 7/25/2007 7:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
I have XM, had them since almost the beginning. My XM radio goes directly through my Pioneer head unit. The sound quality is equal to a CD. Not superior, like HD radio. Of course, some stations have too much DJ chatter, but my favorites have none at all. There are commercials on talk radio, but only because talk radio is a re-broadcast of something with commercials.

If you want satellite done right, avoid the FM radio attachments and get it direct to the head unit.


Cost is more!
By EglsFly on 7/24/2007 11:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Another a la carte option would allow subscribers 100 channels and give the option to pick from the best programming of both XM and Sirius for $14.99 per month.


Well of course you can pick the restricted option of 50 on one service for less, but I already have over 100 channels for $12.95 per month on Sirius. So for me to keep the same amount of service I already have with the new plans, its going to cost more! There is absolutely nothing I want on XM (we have XM at work so I know the lineup).

This is a good example of why a merger is not in the best interest of consumers and I hope the FCC shoots it down. It is always best to have direct competitors so that the consumer has "choice". I'm not talking about choice of plans from one provider, but choice of providers.




RE: Cost is more!
By RjBass on 7/25/2007 1:40:34 AM , Rating: 2
But won't those of us who are currently subscribers be grandfathered in with the old rates?

I have two Sirius players that I pay for with the full Sirius lineup. I would like to keep it that way as XM only has one music channel that I would even be remotely interested in.


RE: Cost is more!
By GaryJohnson on 7/25/2007 1:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
There was a critical point in the press .PDF that didn't make it into the DT article.

quote:
A La Carte – 50 Channels ($6.99) – Currently the only standard package offered by either company is $12.95 a month. Under this new option, for only $6.99 per month – a savings of 46 percent – consumers will be able to choose either 50 SIRIUS channels from approximately 100 SIRIUS channels or 50 XM channels from approximately 100 XM channels. Additional channels can be added for 25 cents
each, with premium packages priced at additional cost. However, no one choosing this option will pay more than $12.95 a month.


Hehe
By Polynikes on 7/25/2007 12:18:56 PM , Rating: 2
Even at that price point, satellite radio's hundreds of channels still can't beat my quality CD collection.

Better music, better sound quality, and it's been paid for already anyways. The only reason I'd listen to the radio is for local information, like weather or sports, if I was into them, but satellite doesn't have that kind of locally tailored content, yet.




RE: Hehe
By wolrah on 7/25/2007 11:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
Better music is subjective, but obviously your CD collection is going to have what you like to listen to so making a comparison on that is pointless.

If you don't spend much time in the car, I'll admit that it's hard to justify satellite, but since I got Sirius (on a whim back in early 2006 when the cheapest receivers hit $50) I've fond a ton of new artists that I had never heard of before and never would have through regular radio and/or my circle of friends. It's also amazing for me since I regularly spend hours traveling all over the state and occasionally out of state I don't have to deal with hunting for new stations every two hours or being in the middle of nowhere forced to listen to some hillbilly crap to keep from getting bored.

The Midwest justifies satellite radio is basically my point. If you live in an area where there is musical diversity on the FM dial or carry a crapload of CDs, you don't need it. However if you're like me and don't carry your music library in your car while being often stuck in areas where the radio selection is two country stations, two hip-hop, one top 40, and one classic rock, it sells itself.


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