Sirius XM Users Get Best of Both Worlds, No Change Needed

Xmradio

Last year, when Sirius and XM first discussed their brave new merged programming, the companies said users would have to get new hardware to access it. Now that the FCC has approved the merger, though, there’s new information — consumers will get their beloved satellite signals just fine with no changes needed at all.

Rick Lee of GM’s OnStar division confirmed that all 8.5 million GM vehicles with XM Satellite Radio will continue to receive their signal as they always have. The same is true of Sirius Satellite Radio-equipped vehicles, as well as all aftermarket systems.

That means pricing for current subscribers to either system will stay the same, and they’ll continue to get the same channels they do now. What will change is that both groups of subscribers will be able to upgrade to new packages that include premium channels from the other service, added to their existing channels. So XM users will get Howard Stern and Sirius users will get Oprah — which sounds like a fair trade — for a higher package fee. Otherwise, rates will remain unchanged for current content. The “Best of Both Worlds” packages will be available in about three months. 

Now, not all is rosy in this new deal.

While there will be more packages to choose from for both groups of current subscribers, which we detail below, the much-touted a la carte options of either 50 or 150 channels will not work with existing hardware from either company. The FCC has mandated that aftermarket units able to utilize this new system must be on the market in nine months. In short, getting to pick your favorite 10 Sirius stations and 40 XM stations, or vice versa, won’t be a reality for many anytime soon.

Lee said new hardware that’s compatible with the a la carte system would most likely make it into GM products for the 2011 model year, because most 2010s have already been planned. We’d expect a similar time frame for other manufacturers as well. 

Packages

  • Existing packages for XM and Sirius are $12.95 per month, with discounted rates for long-term subscriptions.
  • New “Best of Both Worlds” packages will be offered in three months for $16.99 a month.
  • “Mostly Music” package and “News, Sports, Talk” package will be offered for $9.99 per month within the next year.
  • Family-friendly versions of both services must be offered for $11.95 per month, or $14.95 for a family-friendly version of the “Best Of” package. No time frame mentioned. 
  • A la carte options will be rolled out in the next nine months. No pricing has been officially announced.
By David Thomas | July 30, 2008 | Comments (3)
Tags: Car Gadgets

Comments 

My problem is: Who decides what the "Best" channels are? Some executive, or the customer?

What I really want to know is whether I'll be able to get a Sirius-only unit integrated into my 2005 SAAB. Right now, I can only get XM (its a crappy integration to, thats another story.) I don't want XM AT ALL, which means right now I have to use a plug and play unit that I have to route 3 separate wires through the car.

Adrock,
no you won't be able to get your GM built XM unit switched to all sirius. You'll just be able to pay $16.99 and get some sirius stations.

You will be stuck with a 3rd party unit but if you wait the 9 months you can do the a la carte thing.

Jnik,
The companies will list what stations come with best of packages when they go on sale. The most popular will be the personality stations like Howard Stern and Oprah along with the professional sports leagues.

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