Info & Answers
The Real Price of Home Satellite Radio
If your home stereo or entertainment system produces top quality sound, then the satellite radio will also. Or will it?
August 24, 2007 by John Pike

Millions love cruising in their cars to the huge channel lineups of music, news and sports with one of the two satellite radio companies, XM Satellite Radio Inc. or Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

But for home use, some see satellite radio with ambivalence.

Satellite radio is digital and uses a binary code of ones and zeros. This means your radio either completely receives it or not at all. There is largely no in between, such as a signal marred by static, which often occurs on terrestrial (traditional) radio. But there can still be some distortion.

So for some, satellite broadcasts can be can virtually the only non-Internet radio available, especially for those who live or work within or near tall buildings. Living in urban skyscrapers, for example, might prevent you from receiving barely any local terrestrial radio.

Of course options exist to improve the signal, among which is changing the antenna or placing it either near or out the window.

Another option is ditching the traditional radio for satellite. Often its digital signal will get through when analog broadcasts will not. Sometimes the radio has to be moved around a bit to pick up a signal, but once it does you will never need to miss another erudite Howard Stern lecture on American sociology.

In case you can’t pick up Howard’s signal on the first try, Sirius sells an antenna with an option for an extension cable to place either near or running outside your window. A south-facing window is best for receiving a satellite signal. It also sells a gizmo called an echo signal repeater that allows you to place your radio where you want it most. Even in interior rooms, without restrictions due to antenna placement.

To listen to Sirius at home, you can purchase a Plug & Play Universal Home Kit, listed at $50 on its web site. Of course, you will need to purchase one of their radios, listed at between $40 and $120. The radio plan, or subscription to the broadcast signal, is another $13 monthly. Sirius also just announced a partnership with multiroom music system provider Sonos to conveniently stream the satellite’s Internet stations throughout the house.

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