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Satellite Radio FAQs

There are lots of things to know about Satellite Radio. Please e-mail us if you have additional questions that are not answered here.

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Satellite Radio FAQ

What is Satellite Radio?

Satellite Radio is essentially like normal radio except that the signal is coming from a satellite over 22,000 miles up in space. Unlike normal radio, however, the signals are all digital meaning you'll almost never hear static. But you can still loose the signal when driving through tunnels, for example, or if there is a major obstruction. The almost all music stations are completely commercial free.

What will I hear on Satellite Radio?

Both major satellite radio companies carry well over 100 different radio stations (also call channels or streams) covering music, news, talk, sports, weather, traffic, entertainment, featured personalities and much more. The music stations are almost all 100% commercial free. Other stations have commercials, but not as many as conventional radio.

What's the difference between XM and Sirius Satellite Radio?

Although there are some superficial differences, for example, XM Radio has two satellites while Sirius has three, the major differences between them is the programming. The downfall of satellite radio is that each company has exclusive rights to certain shows. XM Radio, for example, has Oprah and Friends, major league baseball and NASCAR. Sirius Satellite Radio has Martha Stewart, NFL, NBA and NHL. For a more in depth answer, read more at Sirius vs XM Radio.

For a complete list of stations, see the XM Radio Stations Guide and the Sirius Radio Stations Guide.

Does Satellite Radio have commercials?

Almost all music channels are 100% commercial free. Most talk radio and Traffic/Weather channels have some commercials but much less than normal radio. Did you realize that many FM stations have more than 15 minutes of commercials per hour?

What equipment do I need to get Satellite Radio?

You will need a special satellite radio receiver to listen to satellite radio. The receivers can be very small and portable with many features that increase your listening pleasure.

Who will install my Satellite Radio in my car?

Your local car audio store can install your new satellite radio. In general we don't recommend that you install a satellite radio yourself unless you're prepared to route cables from behind the dashboard to the trunk. Spend the $60 to $100 to have a professional installer do it. They've done it before and know how to remove the plastic panels without breaking anything.

The FM modulator satellite radios are easier to install, but it is still worth the money, especially if you wait for a good sale.

How long does it take to activate my radio?

Activation is easy and covered in the manual that came with your radio. It usually only involves turning your radio on and waiting 15 minutes or less.

How much does Satellite Radio cost?

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Currently Satellite Radio is $ 12.95 per month or less for longer term contracts. Additional radios, for example, a radio for your boat, are not as much, usually about $6 per month. A signup/activation fee of about $15 over the phone or $5 - $10 via the Internet. Commercial accounts are more, usually less the $30 or so per month.

How hard is it to cancel my service?

We have heard that canceling, which you cannot do over the Internet by the way, normally takes at least one very long phone call. You may find you've signed up for an automatic "opt-in" program that will automatically keep charging you until you cancel, a la AOL and others. It doesn't seem too bad as long as you understand that when you sign up.

Is Satellite Radio available over the Internet?

Yes. Both XM and Sirius have added the ability to listen via the Internet.

TROUBLESHOOTING

I hear static on my satellite radio.

This is a common when you have a satellite radio receiver that transmits via FM to your existing car radio. Usually this isn't a problem with the satellite radio itself. The problem is interference with an FM station. Try adjusting the frequency by changing both your car radio and the unit. If this continues to be a problem, for example, if you drive cross country often, you can try disconnecting or unscrewing your normal antenna, although this will make it essentially impossible to receive FM channels.

My satellite radio is cutting out.

Unfortunately, interference from tall objects like trees, buildings, etc., can cause interference.

My satellite radio is heating up.

We have only hear about this problem but have not experienced it ourselves. One person said they turned the brightness of the display down and that helped. Give it a try.

Do you have a comment or question about your Satellite Radio Service?

 


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