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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Now, XM Satellite Radio Has Gear to Match Programming


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#1 OFFLINE   John Corn

John Corn

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Posted 25 January 2003 - 07:07 AM

One of the great things about the fast-moving technology field is that companies can improve their products in major ways fairly quickly. Today's example is XM Satellite Radio, the leader in the nascent business of beaming numerous channels of music and talk to subscribers with special radios.

When I reviewed XM last year, I gave high marks to its 100 channels of programming (now 101), which feature dedicated stations for everything from classic country, folk, comedy and oldies to multiple flavors of rock, rap, jazz and blues. With each song, XM displays the singer and song title. The service is a fabulous alternative to the increasingly stultified choices on the FM dial.

But I panned the actual radios that were being sold to receive all this stuff.

I found them cramped, hard to use and a poor fit for the service. They were mainly based on existing FM radios that were never designed to navigate 100 channels quickly or to display XM's song information properly. I also noted that they were expensive -- $400 to $600, including installation.

Today, however, I am pleased to say that the hardware has caught up to the content. XM's rich programming is now available through a new, very well-designed radio that works in a car or a home and is much less expensive -- around $200. And that makes XM Radio a service I can wholeheartedly recommend.


The factor that changed my mind is a product from Delphi, the Detroit auto-electronics giant, designed in close collaboration with XM. It's called the Delphi XM SkyFi Radio. The SkyFi system consists of a small, palm-size modular satellite receiver you use in conjunction with various home or auto adapter kits.

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