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Portable Satellite Radio Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a portable satellite radio.

Getting Started

Satellite radio has become increasingly popular since its launch in the consumer market in 2001. For those who don't know what satellite radio is, it's time to turn off your home radio and your car stereo and step into, what feels like, the future.

Satellite radio allows listeners to enjoy hundreds of radio channels provided by, you guessed it, satellites. News, sports, entertainment, talk-radio, and music are all brought to you in crystal-clear, commercial-free audio. Until recently, satellite radio had been dominated by two separate satellite radio providers- XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. In 2007, a merger between the two companies was approved by their respective shareholders. In late 2008, the FCC approved the merger, and now Sirius XM Radio, Inc., is the holding company for the two satellite services.

When satellite radio first came out, a receiver was needed along with an antenna to accept and play the signal. These were available to listen to at home or in your car. As always, technology evolved and now listeners can enjoy their satellite radio on the go. Portable devices allow the listener to enjoy their tunes and talk shows while on a plane, exercising in the gym, or simply enjoying a stroll through the neighborhood.

Buying a portable satellite radio can be both tricky and fun. Ask yourself such questions as, "Where will I be using this the most?" and "Is it light enough for all my on-the-go needs?" 


 Just as with cable and satellite TV, there is a monthly fee. XM and Sirius charges $12.95 per month. (Prices subject to change). These fees are paid directly to the satellite radio companies. For an additional $2.99 per month, subscribers receive Sirius Internet Radio.

XM and Sirius offers a family plan with up to 4 additional radios for only $8.99 each per month.

XM and Sirius offer commercial-free music channels with genres like: Rock, Hits, Urban (Hip-Hop), Decades ('40s through '90S), Jazz, Blues, Classical, Christian, Latin, and more.

Just like listening to a brand new CD, the sound is usually flawless and does not carry static like regular AM and FM signals. However, like a TV satellite on your roof, satellite radio CAN be affected by large objects directly blocking the signal. Also, traveling through a tunnel or heavily dense woods can deteriorate the signal. Things like highway overpasses and tress won't usually cause any problems.

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