Sorry, I should define my terms. XM is a satellite direct broadcast CD quality radio system that is currently being deployed nation-wide. XM is one brand of system and Sirius is another. Both allow you to drive across the country and listen to one of 100 different programs (music - all types, sports, news, other stuff). If you are interested visit your local Best Buy, Circuit City etc. They are all selling car XM electronics. Cost is about the same as any other CD receiver ($600 installed) but you pay a $10 a month subscription fee. Consider it a radio version of Direct TV on its for mobil receivers, not homes.
I don't know anything about the technology, and there are plenty of free radio stations here in SF. But if you're inclined to go XM, my advice, based on my experience w/my former wireless ISP (Metricom) -- to whom I prepaid 4 annual accounts and got whacked when they went Ch11 and disconnected the network altogether -- is to do a month-to-month plan.
I hear you. New technology can often become road kill. However this company has fairly deep pochets and has two funcitoning satellites up and running.
I don't think you need XM in the San Fran area either but when you travel down the coast, up the coast or worse yet, east of Tahoe your in the "vast waste Land" I'm from Colorado and as soon as I plung into the mountains FM goes away and all the AM stations are south of the border. Its strange how Denver AM is probably easier to pick up in San Francisco then 50 west of the station.
I'm still wondering when Accura will to offering an XM option and or upgrade of '01 models.
Pioneer and Alpine is spear heading this technology. The Pioneer I think cost 300 plus and the Alpine at 399 at the local Good Guys here in the Bay Area. I did not see any Sonys yet. Some select older Alpines and Pioneers also is XM compatible via a XM receiver
plug in. They had some functional demo models at the Good Guys and they do sound very clear with good fidelity.
Sony is coming out with an XM receiver which can be removed fromt he car and connected to your home entertainment system. This allows you to enjoy the satellite radio in home as well. There is no extra charge for this since you are already paying the $10 a month or so charge.
I don't mind it and by then prices should come down a lot.
I saw an article in the December issue of some magazine at the Doctor's office last night.
I highly recommend XM radio. I have an Alpine 7977 + Alpine XM radio module. It's a bit pricey to get started but it's great to have. I rarely ever bring any cds in my MDX anymore. Be aware though that the sound quality is more like MP3 or Direct TV Music as a result of the compression. Other than that it is way worth the $9.99 and I never have to listen to my crappy local commercial filled stations. You can get an FM modulated unit if you just want to add it to the factory stereo.
From what I hear the prices won't change much as XM Radio is not subsidizing the equipment the way Direct TV, Dishnetwork and all cellular companies do. From what I have been told starting in 2002 and fully in 2003 all new cars will be XM and Sirius radio ready and that is where they are expecting the subscriber base to really come from.
BTW crutchfield.com is already selling the Sony unit that you can take into your home. Although I wonder what type of antenna you would need to mount on your house?
Go get one installed and start enjoying it.