Can satellite radio succeed?

It’ll take quite some time before this is affordable, though.

Today, you can hook your cell phone up to a laptop and drive across the state listening to all your favorite internet radio stations. It’s not difficult; I was actually considering it before I found Sirius. Problem is, mobile internet access costs a fortune when you’re using it that much (listening to internet radio just on the way to and from work would cost me about $200 a month), and I doubt it’ll ever be as inexpensive as satellite radio.

It simply demands more resources - each listener needs his own transmitter, and the network has to carry a separate signal for everyone who’s connected. The more listeners you have, the more bandwidth you need. Compare that to satellite, where you only need to broadcast the signal once for it to be received by every subscriber in the country, and the receivers don’t need to transmit a thing.

We’re moving closer to made-to-order entertainment all the time. Cable TV, home video, music downloads…satellite radio is the natural progression. Particularly when you factor in the censorship rules that forbid people from hearing what they really want to hear. I’m not subscribing yet, but I’ll bet all the good entertainment moves there sooner or later.

I’m not a Stern fan, but I predict this guy is blazing the trail of the next big wave in entertainment. His fans have every right to hear him in all his glory, unencumbered by the FCC.

Something close to this was announced by Motorola at the CES just last week: Motorola’s iRadio. I don’t know if it will be successful–as the article points out it’s essentially a “vast podcast network”. You set up your cellphone for the channels you’d like to receive, download them overnight, and ply them from your phone the next day in your car/stereo (there is some limited support for up-to-the-minute data such as news, weather, and stock quotes).

And what can this setup do that a satellite radio receiver with recording capability cannot?

Actually, I’m afraid that Stern may sink Satellite Radio, or at least Sirius. His contract is worth more than $100 million over five years, which means that 2 million+ Sirius subscribers (more than half of their listeners) go to paying just for him and his PR and staff. That leaves more than 100 other stations to pay for out of the remaining 1 or 2 million subscribers, and considering that many of us loathe Stern and never plan to listen to him, it may not have been such a wise gamble. (Though I will admit I’d listen to Stern fart the theme to Bonanza before I’d listen to the Ah-mahzing Seth Rudetsky call 911 to save my life- SIRIUS, I BEG OF YOU, FIRE THAT FRUITWHIP NOW BEFORE HE TRANSCENDS!

That’s 2+ million subscribers for about 4 months, isn’t it?

If 300,000 people sign on to Sirius because of Howerd Stern (including those who were undecided between XM and Sirius, and choose Sirius because of Howerd Stern), and if they stay with Sirius for an average of 2 years, Sirius comes ahead. And that’s not even counting the publicity and the effects on stock price. Even those who hate Howerd Stern recognize his name, so the deal helps establish the public perception of Sirius as a major player.

I just poped in to say that I think Clear Channel, Infinity and the Mother F###'n FCC will be the death of FM radio. Much like am is today.

Satelite will be a success. especially when they learn to send images to potrable media devices.

I’m guessing that if his show gives 'em what they want, word of mouth alone will get more people to sign on.

My understanding is that he has absolute, complete control over content. He’s a pretty smart business man and I think people are going to begin talking pretty quick once he hits the airwaves. I’ll be looking on these boards over the next few days to hear the reviews.

Well, start looking today, because this is his first day on Sirius. I can’t tell you, because I have XM, plus I don’t like Stern.

I started a thread. A couple of responses so far.

Another slight nitpick. It’s actually 100 million per year for five years, for a total of 500 million. Half a billion dollars. Seriously:

Plus, he got over 200 million in stock for meeting some sort of subscriber goal.

The difference is that radio capabilities piggyback on items people will possess anyway, rather than requiring a separate piece of equipment (and separate subscription).

What’s the situation with digital radio in the states? Has it been rolled out, and if so what’s the choice like compared to the normal analogue fare?

I don’t think it likely that everyone will own portable audio players and be willing to carry it between their home and car. It’s not just a matter of price; a Walkman costs maybe $15 but not everyone uses one.

And even if you own an iPod, a car power adapter may cost $20, and a cassette adapter another $20. $30 or more if you want to use a FM transmitter instead. Whereas an XM Roady 2 receiver costs $50, and that includes a power cable, cassette adapter and an FM transmitter.

And the satellite radio subscription cost isn’t all that expensive. It’s about the same price as a TiVo subscription, which doesn’t give you any new content - just an easier way to access existing content.

Then if you can just broadcast those images in motion . . . we’ll have re-invented television. Whee!

Pretty much any mobile phone on the market nowadays has MP3-player capabilities, with memory capacity only going to increase over time.

Some cars are now appearing with direct connections built in (I think the VW Golf now has a USB connection?)

Interestingly, Tivo (and the similar Sky+ system, tied in with the ubiquitous satellite TV supplier) hasn’t generated great interest in the UK.

It’s not just commercial free music with seemingly infinite variety. It is also the comedy channels, and all the talk channels, and all the sports channels and all the other stuff at the touch of a button.

Push a button and I can go from Reggae music to hard rock to classical music to left talk to right talk to truckers talk to a football game to current traffic reports--------

---- to listening to “The Shadow” or “Amos and Andy” or “The Lone Ranger” radio programs from the 30’s thru 50’s. -----------Tell you what, getting a little sleepy while driving and those old radio programs will flat out wake you up!!

Can anything else in the near future compete with that for a lousy $13 a month?

Maybe I just like variety. I get easily bored.

This is exactly why Hubby and i decided to go ahead and try XM Radio as an Xmas present to ourselves (that and the fact we picked up a Roady2 receiver on Black Friday for 15 bucks).

We’ve not listened to regular radio since, we adore our XM. Hubby and I have very different tastes in music for the most part (he’s a little bit jazz and classic rock, I’m a little bit 80’s, blues and metal grin) , but we can always agree on Frank’s Place (Sinatra-era lounge music) or the 40’s station. The old-time radio station is a real hoot too. We both listen to the uncensored Comedy channel constantly, as well.

I don’t see us ever going back to listening to regular radio. XM has us completely hooked. The fact that it’s so cheap is just a bonus. I’d quite honestly pay for it if it cost twice what it does now (we pay 12 bucks a month for our car receiver and we’re buying another receiver for the house, which will add another 6 bucks to our monthly bill).

re: predicted future internet ‘radio’ devices.

For one just say:
“Ipod, please access the 80’s music and play “I think we’re alone now” by Debbie Gibson” and getting a reply from the device.

Other advantages is that this ‘uber’ device you will have already paid for. This will deliver telecomunications, email, video, navigation, and other information. It should be far cheaper to just add a internet music service over the net then via satalite.

Also 2 way access, the ability to ask the device for more songs by the same artist.

The ‘uber device’ you describe is one that is in part already incorporated into many mobile phones. It’s in every new car (sat-nav). All this can be sent by mobile networks as they exist…
I guess it’s the same as in the 90s, when mobile phones took of in Europe, but struggled in America for a variety of reasons (coverage, silly billing structures, etc.) Satellite radio has provided something that was lacking in America, but maybe this doesn’t apply elsewhere

Actually it is nowhere near $200/month, but still quite a bit more then current S.R… Verizon wireless offers this for IIRC $59/month for their unlimited 144kb/s service with a ‘qualified cellular plan’ and they are building a faster network, which this price also accesses where available.

Once this is widely available it’s quite simple (and cheap) to add services, including music, news, and calls over the internet all using the connectivity of the cellular connection.

I think that mobile connectivity to the internet will become the ‘norm’ just like cell phones are today (it will take the place of cell phones).

I agree with these points and they are real issues to overcome. The transmitting power requirment issuse i don’t see as a major one, and one easially overcome with a large storage ability and fast connections (i.e. download all you need in a few minutes or so and have hours of music), but the limited bandwidth will be hard to overcome.

It could very well sink Stern also. Without the ‘restrictions’ imposed on him he can go to the very limit of ‘trash talk’. Once there this can get old really fast. Just like how some see a scantily clad women more intriguing then a fully naked one.