The Benefits of XM Radio
Over the years, many people all over have listened to the radio for entertainment and information. Radio supplies news, sports, music, talk, and many other options with great ease. However, since television has become so popular lately, people look to it as an alternative to radio for the previously stated options. The reason for this can be linked to the redundancy that radio has encountered by not offering anything new and exciting for people to become interested about. Now, XM radio has solved this problem by giving people something new to look forward to by offering their services to anyone who wants to try something new. XM Radio uses satellites positioned in space to allow people to listen to the radio across the United States without having to be bothered with changing stations. This luxury has gotten consumers and analysts very excited and has been receiving a lot of hype in the media lately. The advanced methods of broadcasting will supply XM Radio with more appealing features to listeners than existing entertainment. As a result, those who are bored with the current condition of radio entertainment may use XM more than FM and AM radio.
The advanced technology that XM Radio uses is a big change from the old fashioned ways that FM and AM radio are broadcasted. XM Radio uses satellites in order to broadcast across the entire country with a clear signal. XM satellites fixed orbits ensure a focused and consistent signal (Satellites 2002). If the satellites need to be moved for any reason, no problems will occur with the broadcasting and ensures that the signals will not be lost (Satellites 2002). The ways in which were they were manufactured plays a big role in the quality of the signals that are sent to Earth. The satellites were built by Boeing Satellite Systems, which is the worlds leading commercial manufacturer of satellites (Satellites 2002). This was a smart decision by the makers of XM Radio because Boeing is such a well-respected company that it will ensure the confidence of needed consumers.
Instead of having thousands and thousands of radio stations across the nation, XM radio uses a broadcast center in Washington, D.C. for the majority of its broadcasting. This will cut down costs of office space and employees, which in turn would decrease their budget. This center has 20 multi-function production suites and 310 audio workstations in addition to 82 studios (XM Studios 2002). XM also has 2 studios in Nashville, Tennessee and mid-town Manhattan, New York from which it will air daily shows and interviews with music stars on the country music channels (XM Studios 2002). Using fiber optics and computer servers for digital audio signal processing proves another improvement in technology (XM Studios 2002). This will replace traditional metallic wiring that FM and AM radio uses (XM Studios 2002). The overall sound quality of the music will be increased due to this change because there is less chance of the wiring becoming damaged by the weather and normal wear-and-tear.
There is an abundance of genres of music and information that FM radio supplies already, but XM Radio will supply the people with an easier way to access their favorites. There will be over 300 channels available for the units, which will be separated by the genre of music, news, and comedy. These music channels include jazz, blues, classical, rock, pop, folk and others (Programming 2002). Lee Adams, XMs Chief Programming Officer and Ringleader says that there will be multiple 24-hour business and financial news stations from Bloomberg News Radio, CNBC, CNN, USA TODAY, CNET, and BBC (Programming 2002). This multitude of well-organized stations will allow listeners to pick and choose the specific station that they want to listen to because of the displayed station on the unit. These displays will make it much easier for people to choose what station they want to listen to, unlike radio today that makes you search for channels while never really knowing which specific one it is. This comes in handy to those who travel across the country because they will now not have to find new stations every time they enter a new broadcast zone. One aspect that FM radio is not known too well for is a supply of comedy channels. XM Radio will supply listeners with channels strictly programmed to play comedy. These stations include National Lampoon, Firesign Theatre, and XM Comedy a completely new take on radio humor (Programming 2002). Some areas of the country, especially the Midwest, mainly play particular genres of music on the majority of their available stations. I know that when I drive through these areas, I cannot find a station that suits me because the majority of the music is country. With XM Radio, I would never have that problem because I would just be able to pick whatever genre of music that I wanted to listen to no matter what part of the country I was in.
Another appealing feature of XM Radio is the ability to transfer the receiver from the car to the home with no problem. The Sony DRN-XM01C Satellite Radio Receiver can be used in both of these locations (Howard 24). This $300 street receiver uses the new XM Satellite Radio to provide channels for a $9.99 monthly fee (Howard 24). The Sony receiver is small, about the size and shape of a radar detector, which could be a problem until thieves learn its not a detector and has no value if stolen, because the service can be cut off (Howard 24). Although television is usually used in homes today instead of radio because of its overall appeal to the public, XM Radio would be useful to those who just want to listen to whatever type of music they want. It would be extremely useful to those who are tired of being limited to the radio stations that their area provides them. With XM, these people will be able to listen to all of the stations in any part of the country. The consumer can install the receiver, but it is recommended that an audio shop perform this task to hide the wiring and such (Howard 24). When installed into a car, an antenna is attached to the roof in order to receive the signals from the satellites (Howard 24).
The future of XM Radio will most likely bring more accomplishments due to integration with multiple major corporations. Companies like Alpine, Pioneer and Sony are manufacturing XM Radio, which displays song titles, artist names, and other information for each separate channel (Car Units 2002). It will be available in select 2002 model Cadillacs installed by the factories (Car Units 2002). This may not sound like a great accomplishment, since only one car company is currently installing the units in their cars, but more vehicle brands will be equipped with them this year (Car Units 2002). This intertwining of entertainment and transportation will provide XM with more of an audience because the people who purchase automobiles with the receivers already installed will be witness to this new creation. Satellite radio becomes a much easier sell if its embedded in the cost of a new car along with the leather interior, air bags, and floor mats (Mclean 31). These units are able to be undocked from its shell for home or in another car with little hassle (Howard 24). Sonys XM Satellite Radio Receiver DRN-XM01C is the way to go without replacing the car radio outright with an XM Radio/CD unit (Howard 24).
Some analysts are concerned with the quality of the sound that the XM Radio transmits, but changes have been made to improve the clarity. The cars will also be equipped with some of the best-known names in car audio. These companies include Delphi, Delco Electronics Systems, Alpine Electronics, Clarion, Audiovox, Visteon, Pioneer, Panasonic, Sanyo, and Motorola (Car Units 2002). These audio systems will definitely help in the performance of the overall radio because the speakers are top of the line and provide better quality than any others. Also, it will most likely improve the sale of the systems since the name brands will attract more buyers.
The improvements in radio will most likely attract people who are irritated by the difficulty of finding a station that suits their interests. It may take a while for this new product to become popular, but with the information that I have researched it is likely that it will catch on in the near future. Also, if this does catch on, then the number of people who listen to the radio instead of watching television should increase as the years go on. Some people think that XM Radio could take over FM and AM radio because of its overall superiority to them. Whether or not this happens, it is definitely a step forward in creating more luxuries for those who feel the need to be entertained.