Saturday, October 01, 2005

Just another happy XM customer..

I was first exposed to XM when I rented a car in Las Vegas and had a 6 hour drive home. It was fantastic because I had 150 channels to choose from, no commericals (almost) and could listen to whatever station I wanted no matter where I was between Nevada and California. For my birthday my wife got a pretty good deal on a used Delphi MyFi receiver.

I happen to like the XM service because they carry all the MLB games. It's difficult being a Dodger fan who's not in the LA area because the Dodgers typically broadcast their games in their local market stations and you rarely get access to them on syndicated TV networks like Fox Sports.

XM has multiple channels for most music you can imagine, pop, rap, country, jazz, etc. Oddly, they don't have much (any?) classical. They also have news and various type of talk radio. My favorite is the (uncensored) comedy channel.

You can go to XM's web site and sign up for free trial access to most of the same programming you can get on the radio.

This is a sattelite signal, so you're not just going to get reception any place you want. The funny thing about these high frequency signals is that reception can be inconsistent from location to location. In my office at work I can get a signal no problem, but in my house I have to set up the antenna just right to receive.

Also, keep in mind that the signal is highly compressed--so the sound is not CD quality. They seem to vary the quality such that news/talk radio is lower quality than music. In general, the music quality isn't any worse than your local FM station. But it's not some earth shattering digital quality you might expect from a digital service.

Personally, I hate the crap they play on commerical FM radio--there never seems to be a channel that has what I want to hear--and it seems like they play commercials 50% of the time. The "morning show" crap they have every morning is the last thing I want to hear during my 40min drive to work. So XM is a great addition to CDs.

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