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A monopoly in satellite radio is a big no says FCC

According to several reports, FCC chairman Kevin Martin said that it is very unlikely the FCC will allow Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. to merge. Both companies represent the two leading satellite radio entities currently in business in the U.S. and unfortunately, a merger in the eyes of the FCC is an obvious road to anti-competitive grounds.

Both Sirius and XM have been battling it out for the last several years, and in 2006 both companies saw their revenues drop as well as subscriber numbers drop. This peaked a notion in the industry that it was very possible that the two companies were in negotiations to go through a merger.

Share prices from both companies had dropped significantly in 2006, with Sirius shares dropping roughly 38-percent and XM shares dropping a whopping 46-percent of their value. Despite the shares dropping, the two companies continue to operate on speculation of a merger, which was also fueled by remarks made by XM CEO Mel Karmazin and chairman Gary Parsons. With their remarks, shares of both companies jumped last month but have since declined.

It is very unlikely, less than 50-percent chance, that Sirius and XM will receive FCC approval for merger, according to Martin.  Even so, both companies will have to pass anti-trust regulations and audits. "There is a prohibition on one entity owning both of these businesses," said Martin.

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RE: Sirius FTW
By Chudilo on 1/23/2007 3:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the data stream is about 48k per channel, and they do use a compression method that is slightly better then MP3.

But you're absolutely right, any MP3 over a 64k MP3 will sound noticeably better then Sirius and XM.
FM ALWAYS, not sometimes will sound better then Sirius (with the exception of talk, where it doesn't matter), as it has no compression whatsoever and provides a much higher bandwidth.

To this day I still can not understand who thought people would be willing to pay monthly fees for new technology that sounds a lot worse than something that's been out there for so many years for free.

Free radio in US is worthless, which is why it's free.
And yes many of us would love to have something better to listen to, but until that something provides a service that would be so much better, that would render conventional free radio obsolete, who in their right mind would Pay for it.

Satellite technology needs to be improved to beat the quality of FM, plus provide content that I would conscientiously switch to, I will not even consider it until then.

By providing the extra content, they may have achieved the first part of the minimum necessary to get people to switch.
Meaning they got people to buy the equipment to see(or listen) if it's really that much better for themselves, but once people heard it, they don't feel like it's worth the extra money because content alone is not enough.
Thus once the initial contract ran out, the customers were gone as well.

RE: Sirius FTW
By Chadder007 on 1/23/2007 4:58:02 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously? I always though that Satellite Radio was all about Quality and No Commercials. If the quality really sucks like you say, then why in the world are people getting it, unless to listen to some rare finds that don't play locally on FM.

RE: Sirius FTW
By WxGuy192 on 1/23/2007 5:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
I signed up with Sirius just under 1 month ago. Like someone else, I like it but don't love it. The biggest downside to me is the sound quality. Unfortunately, that's a byproduct of the larger number of channels available (you only have so much bandwidth, so more channels means less bandwidth per channel).

Again ,however, I do like it. I like having a ton of channels available. In my local area (Oklahoma City), there's only 4-5 stations that I'd ever listen to, unlike the 15-20 stations that I frequently listen to on Sirius. I also like being able to instantly get artist+song name information, and I like being able to browse the channels by artist or song. Yes, I know digital broadcast radio gives artist and song information (RDS has been available since the 90s in some markets), but I haven't seen a radio that lets me quickly and efficiently scroll all artists playing like I have with Sirius (Sportster 4, which also has artist alert, song alert, and game alert). I'm a college football fan too, so satellite radio comes in handy! I can't turn to my local stations and expect to listen to 4-5 ongoing games, particularly if a local team is not playing.

I certainly find that there are far less "promotional commercials" on the channels that do have them than regular commercials on broadcast radio. The majority of music stations I listen to on Sirius have no commercials or promos, while a few of the talk stations (ones which simulcast from TV, like CNN Headline News and CNBC) do have 'regular' promos (but then again, they need to use the time that the TV stations are on commercials).

Why choose cable TV when you have broadcast /over-the-air TV? There isn't really a quality difference unless you live in the boonies where broadcast is difficult to receive; in fact, the compression artifacts I see during sports on satellite TV drive me crazy! Sure, there are many programs on cable TV that aren't on broadcast TV, but that holds true for Sirius vs. broadcast radio as well. In the end, I think many people choose cable TV because for the variety and choices. More stations mean more variety (generally!) -- I can usually find SOMETHING to watch on cable TV, even if there's nothing on broadcast. Similarly, I can usually find something good to listen to on Sirius when the 4-5 stations I'd otherwise listen to over-the-air are playing commercials or songs I don't like. Again, the cable TV - satellite radio metaphor doesn't hold perfectly, but I also pay 1/4 of the price for Sirius as I do for my Cable subscription. I spend 90 minutes in my car every day, so I'll pay for the variety Sirius provides.

RE: Sirius FTW
By EglsFly on 1/23/2007 11:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
I agree 100% with WxGuy192.
People complained when cable came out that they wouldn't pay for TV when it was free over the air. Well we all know how that turned out. When provided with choice, that is NEVER a bad thing. If you don't want to pay for more channels and no static, then don't. Stick with your local channels.
Maybe if my area had some decent programming I wouldn't have tried satellite radio. Fortunately I had a choice, so I tried it and won't be going back.

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