What do I need to get satellite radio?

By

Dave Delamere

Dave was born in Buffalo, NY, but spent the majority of his life in central and northern Virginia. He began his collegiate career at Virginia Tech, but completed my education with a degree in teaching from Radford University. His Crutchfield career began in 1997 as a Sales Advisor. His father had been a satisfied Crutchfield customer since the '80s, and when Dave saw the job opening, he knew it could be a good thing. In 2013, the Crutchfield creative staff grew tired of the corrections and suggestions Dave always threw their way, so they decided to give bring him on as a copywriter for the mobile electronics division.

When not dealing with these corrections and suggestions, Dave enjoys watching and playing ice hockey. Cooking intrigues him, although cleaning up after does not. Movies, music, and art take him away. Crime and forensic shows bring him back. History makes him pause. His interest in electronics stems from fond memories of making mix tapes from vinyl, radio, and the newest format at the time, the compact disc.

More from Dave Delamere

There are several options when it comes to choosing your satellite radio. What you need depends most on where you're primarily going to listen to it. You should take radio design and sound quality into consideration as well. Currently, satellite radios can be divided into three categories: dedicated, Dock & Play, and Internet-based.

Dedicated car and home radios

Dedicated car satellite radios work with in-dash car stereos only. A special antenna connects to it, and sits on the roof of the vehicle. Similarly, dedicated home satellite radios work only indoors. They connect to your home stereo system, and also use a special antenna, which usually needs to be mounted facing a window or outside.
siriusxm sxv300

Dedicated car satellite radios like the SiriusXM SXV300 keep a low profile.

Dock & Play radios

Dock & Play satellite radios are compact units that work with sets of accessories to play over both your car and home stereos. The advantage of a Dock & Play is you can transfer it from the car to your home stereo, and only pay one subscription. A Dock & Play radio will often also work with a compatible boombox.

To get satellite radio service with the dedicated or Dock & Play option, you'll need the following:

  • a satellite radio (also called a tuner or a receiver). The radio you get connects to and plays through your car or home stereo, or both, depending on the radio you select and accessories you get.
  • a satellite radio antenna (most radios include the antenna).
  • a subscription to the SiriusXM service.

XM Onyx EZ

Dock & Play radios like this Onyx Plus are extremely versatile.

Mobile or Internet-based radios

This is the latest option for getting satellite radio. With a computer or a network-capable product, like a Blu-ray player or television that has an Internet browser, you can use your high-speed Internet to get your SiriusXM programming.  You can also use a downloadable app that SiriusXM offers for tablets and smartphones, which lets you log into your account and enjoy your music on the move. When an Internet connection isn’t available, these devices will use the device's data plan. 

The advantage of this SiriusXM option is that you don’t have to use a separate antenna. You can also use it in your home, car, office, and as a portable option. Internet-based SiriusXM programming may not include some specialty programming that other options do, like live sports action, but does offer extra channels that aren't available on a lot of older satellite radios.

To get satellite radio service with Internet-based products, you'll need the following:

  • a computer, network-capable product, or a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone.
  • an app or Internet browser to access the SiriusXM service.  
  • a subscription to the service.
Sonos Play:3

Wireless music systems, like those from Sonos, let you listen to satellite radio just about everywhere.