You may like your good old fashioned AM/FM radio set up just fine. But haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to experience a whole host of static-free stations 24/7? If so, then the world of satellite radio is definitely one that is worth exploring.
Bestselling SiriusXM Models
- Subscription sold separately by Sirius. Channel lineup varies based on subscription package.
- To activate your radio: Call 866-587-4225 or go online to SiriusXM.Com/activate now.
- To get three months Free service you must subscribe to the “all access” package. Provide your radio ID when activating and mention “never miss a beat.” a $15 activation fee and credit card are required for this offer.
- Sirius all access subscription package allows you to listen in your car on this radio, Plus on your phone, online and at home. Listen to 150+ channels in your car and over 300+ channels online and on the app.
- Store up to 20 of your favorite channels for one-touch access.
- For use with SiriusXM Ready Stereos
- Connect, control and enjoy SiriusXM through in-dash audio system
- Compact size hides discreetly behind the dash for a fully integrated look
- Single interface cable connection to SiriusXM-Ready stereo simplifies installation
- Subscription required
- ForYou home page is filled with your favorite and recommended channels and shows.
- Easy ways to listen to live and past programs with “Jump Back In” and “Episodes You've Missed” carousels.
- Recommendations automatically update based on your listening preferences and history.
- SiriusXM video
- Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora
Here, we will look at some of the ins and outs of car satellite radio as well as a few things you should keep in mind before ultimately making the switch.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Satellite Radio?
There are several advantages, but also a few disadvantages to having a satellite car radio. First, let’s start with the advantages. For one, it is broadcast over completely static-free and clear satellite frequencies. Also, you get the same stations pretty much wherever you go in the United States and Canada, and you can almost never go out of range of a particular station (save for when you are driving under the occasional tunnel). Basically, if you are in direct range of a satellite, then you are good to go.
According to most consumer surveys, satellite radio users experience high levels of satisfaction and for good reason. SiriusXM (the major satellite radio provider) has hundreds of stations, more than half of which are commercial free. Pretty much every genre and subgenre of music is covered, and there is also a wide variety of news, sports, traffic, weather, and even comedy stations. Sounds pretty great, right?
Now, here come the disadvantages. For one, you have to pay a monthly fee. Now, a basic package will not set you back much more than about $13 a month, and most cars come with satellite-capable radios and offer starter subscriptions ranging from three months to a year. But here is the other thing: If your radio is not equipped to handle satellite reception from the jump, then you will have to go out and buy the necessary hardware, which could end up being quite costly. But more about that coming up.
How to Add Satellite Radio If Your Vehicle Is Not Already Equipped
If you do not have a car stereo with satellite radio built in, you have several options moving forward.
First off, you could get a dock-and-play satellite model. A major plus of this is that you can use this radio both in your home and in your car and only pay one subscription. All you need for this is, of course, a satellite radio, a satellite radio antenna for your car (this usually comes with the radio), and a SiriusXM subscription.
Another option would be to get a satellite receiver that directly connects to a factory-installed audio system. You could also simply get a complete in-dash head unit, though this tends to be the most expensive option.
Since not all cars can appropriately house aftermarket head units, another potential option is to simply download the SiriusXM app on a smartphone or tablet. You would still need to buy a Sirius subscription, but this would be the most portable option and would remove the hassle of you needing a separate satellite antenna. You would also need to use up your phone’s data plan if no Internet connection was available and some installed satellite radio features (such as live sports) would not be included, but the app option is certainly better than nothing.
3 Portable Satellite Radios That Would Be Perfect for Your Car
Now onto the actual hardware. There are a great variety of portable satellite radios to choose from, but here are three to get you started.
- Sirius XEZ1H1 Onyx EZ
- Enjoy SiriusXM at home or in the office.
- Easy-to-read blue display allows you to view artist name, song or program title and channel information at the same time.
- Browse what's playing on other channels while listening to the current one, Store up to 10 of your favorite channels for one-touch access.
- Easily lock and unlock channels with mature content.
- One-Touch Jump to traffic and weather for the city of your choice, or back to your previous channel.
Fairly cheap and easy to install, this radio lets you store 10 of your favorite stations as well as check to see what is on other stations while simultaneously listening to one.
- SiriusXM subscription required. Not Compatible with Al A Carte package.
- Starmate 8 Radio with Vehicle Kit
- Pause, rewind and replay up to 30 minutes of live satellite radio
- Choose from six different display colors to match your dash lights.
- View artist name, song title, and channel information on the large color display
If the Onyx EZ offers a more bare bones version, the Starmate 8 is the exact opposite. It comes with six different display colors, is boombox compatible, offers easy-to-use parental controls, lets you pause, rewind, and replay up to 30 minutes of live radio, and has a one-touch jump to weather and traffic stations.
Sirius XM Commander Touch
- Enjoy SiriusXM through your vehicle's in-dash audio system* with controls on the color touchscreen display
- To Activate Your Radio: Call 866-587-4225 or go online to siriusxm.com/activatenow.
- To Get Three Months Free Service You Must Subscribe to the “All Access” package. Provide your radio ID when activating and mention “Never Miss a Beat.” A $15 Activation fee and credit card are required for this offer.
- The “All Access” package is SiriusXM best programming package including both Satellite and Streaming service.
- Full-color display with album art, artist name, song title, channel logos and program information
With 480 by 180 pixel display, this radio’s touchscreen is where it really shines. The Commander Touch’s TuneMix feature also allows you to mix songs from some of your favorite music stations.
Making the Switch from Terrestrial to Satellite Radio
With a plethora of station options and crystal-clear quality sound, satellite radio is the future when it comes to radio and has been for quite some time now.
Like with any car purchase though, you will want to do your research to make sure satellite radio is right for you. Once you do commit to that decision, investing a little bit of time and money to make sure everything is up and running properly is essential to getting the most out of your experience. Hopefully, when everything is said and done, you are thoroughly happy with your decision to switch from terrestrial to satellite radio.