Satellite radio is growing in popularity |

Satellite radio is growing in popularity


A new technology is quietly gaining ground – satellite radio. Launched in 2000, satellite radio has grown in popularity, despite still being in its infancy. For a nominal monthly fee, subscribers get 100-plus channels of digital quality music, news, sports and entertainment – much of it commercial-free. Finding a favorite station isn’t a problem. The music channels alone offer incredible variety: pop, rock, country, hip-hop, R&B, electronica, jazz, classical, gospel, show tunes, Latin and world music. And best of all, subscribers needn’t worry about losing the signal on those long summer road trips. The signal can be picked up anywhere across the country. But is satellite radio all it’s cracked up to be?We road tested Sirius Radio – one of the two main providers – and have the following to report. We love the 24-hour access to so many channels of programming, especially the news and entertainment streams which include familiar favorites such as Fox News, CNN, ESPN, E!, Court TV, Discovery Channel and Radio Disney.

While listening to music, we also appreciate the fact that song title and artist are displayed. And we’ve found the continuous signal to be a blessing on long drives (though on trips to and from Denver, we lost the signal through every tunnel). As with all technologies, though, a few annoyances do exist. If you listen to a favorite entertainment channel long enough, you end up hearing the same programs over and over.

You’d think it would be easy to solve this problem by switching to one of the 60-plus music streams. While these are a great feature, we find ourselves listening to only one or two, as our music tastes don’t span quite as wide as the streams. Another annoyance for many (though not necessarily for us during our test) is frequent antenna problems. Faulty antennas are easy to replace, but you’re without your service while waiting for a new one. Annoyances aside, satellite radio is a definite winner. If you’re interested, you have two options: XM Satellite and Sirius Radio. They offer similar programming with slight differences in price. Once you’ve decided on the service you want to go with, you simply need a receiver and antenna.

Installation is easy to do yourself and you can run the sound through your car’s existing speakers. We tested the Brix Stream System. It was incredibly easy to install – taking no tools and just a few minutes — and includes nifty features such as the ability to search by stream name, artist and song title. You can also preset up to 30 favorites. E-mail for more information.

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