What Do I Need To Get Satellite Radio?
To get satellite radio service 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. A few work as stand-alone radios.
- a satellite radio antenna (most radios now include the antenna).
- a subscription to the service, XM or Sirius, of your choice. The two companies have merged, but for now things remain pretty much the same.
- One thing to remember — the hardware you buy is service-specific; you can only play XM over XM gear, and Sirius over Sirius gear. In the future, radios may be able to receive both signals.
There are several options when it comes to choosing your satellite radio. What you get 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 portable.
|Dedicated home radios look and sound great.|
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.
|Dock & Play radios are extremely versatile.|
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.
|Portable radios let you listen to satellite radio just about everywhere.|
Get Everything You Need
You'll need a car kit to listen in your car.
A vehicle-specific mount provides a sturdy, convenient platform to mount your Dock & Play radio in your car.
You'll need a home kit to listen at home.
A boombox lets you take your Dock & Play satellite radio just about anywhere.
You can think of a portable the way you would a Walkman™, except that it plays satellite radio instead of CDs, cassettes, or regular radio. A portable satellite radio has a rechargeable battery and a built-in antenna, and can be listened to via headphones anywhere the satellite radio signal can be received (objects such as trees, buildings, and even your body can interfere with the signal). A portable also comes with the accessories you need to use it as a plug-and-play radio.
There are even portable satellite radios that can store and play back MP3 files for even more entertainment diversity.
If you plan on listening to satellite radio in your car, you can choose a dedicated car radio, a plug-and-play, or a portable. For listening in your home, you have the options of a dedicated home radio, a plug and play, or a portable.