XM and Sirius financials

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Dave Siciliano, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. Dave Siciliano

    Dave Siciliano Final Approach

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  2. TMetzinger

    TMetzinger Final Approach

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    Boy I hope that they (and the investors) take a longer term view - aviation benefits aside, the radio product is something I'd hate to do without. It's very nice to be able to get the programming I like no matter where I am.
     
  3. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    That's one of the reasons I opted for a cheap portable XM receiver and I just tolerate the wires. I really like the programming!!
     
  4. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sirius is gonna sink on the Howard Stern deal. He already came out screaming (at his fans - good move) because not enough of his imaginary ratings followed him and subscribed to Sirius.
     
  5. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In the end, these services will survive, but it may not be the current shareholders.

    Everybody wants to be a broadcaster...
     
  6. Dave Siciliano

    Dave Siciliano Final Approach

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    Yes, it's my understanding that several celebs got stock deals in addition to some pretty high income; that's why I was referring to dilution.

    When one stops and thinks about all the potential users and uses, it has phenominal potential, but big outlays to get there.

    I love my 396 and would hate to go back to flying in marginal or bad weather without it, but they are pretty stretched!

    Dave
     
  7. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I bought a Sirius radio early last fall so I could listen to NFL games on the road. There's not a lot of differences between the two - XM has college football, Sirius has NFL. XM has NASCAR now, but Sirius gets it (and XM loses it) next year. Sirius does have one thing I really like: The "Super Shuffle" channel, where they play pretty much anything except classical. (I wouldn't mind some of that thrown in too, but...) They'll play some Dolly Parton, then some Metallica, then some Smashmouth, then some Madonna, etc. Very cool for someone with widely varied musical tastes like me. :)

    Anyway... When they started making such a big deal about Howard Stern, I damn near switched over to XM. I hate Howard Stern. He is the epitome of everything that's wrong with American entertainment programming. And he gets TWO channels, twenty-four hours a day!?!?! :dunno: :mad:

    Dave, I wouldn't worry about them long-term. Almost every trucker in the US (2.5 million+ by my rough estimate) has a satellite radio, and it's gaining acceptance elsewhere as well. People are tired of their commercials being interrupted by music... Uh, you know what I mean. "Local" radio stations aren't even local any more. Now when I'm around home and listen to the radio, the DJ is in St. Louis and has an 800 number. Without that local flavor, what's the point of listening to local stations? Tom Petty's song "The Last DJ" pretty much hit the nail on the head. The media conglomerates have shot themselves in the foot, and that can only be good for the satellite radio companies.

    Now, hopefully Garmin has made the 396 relatively platform-agnostic and could switch from XM to Sirius with a software update if necessary. Hopefully.
     
  8. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not to mention podcasting and music on mp3 players. There are already millions that don't listen to broadcast radio at all.

    That could be solved by buying some national legislation to outlaw fair use and make it mandatory to listen to broadcasts, as long as you don't even hum the tunes you hear because that is outlawed by the new IP laws bought by the RIAA.
     
  9. DeeG

    DeeG Cleared for Takeoff

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    We got XM in the Element. Pete liked it so much he went out and bought the Delphi XMtoGo portable unit. I almost bought one, but I'm waiting for the new version where you get the XM and you can download MP3's into it as well. I think they go one sale next month. yeah!!
     
  10. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    As it is illegal for restaurant staff to sing "Happy Birthday to You" for customers.
     
  11. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    I've got the XM2Go and the 396 in the airplane. Makes for great x-c music. :)
     
  12. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Adam Curry reported how the ASCAP/BMI of Holland charges all businesses - even a mere office - a flat annual fee that they have to pay in case an employee turns on a radio. Then they report that have $2M in adminstrative overhead, which comes out before the cut goes to the artists.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2006
  13. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    I doubt it. XM and Sirrius really are two completely different technologies.

    Sirius has three satalites in geosynchronous orbit. These satalites are about 26,000 miles out. These are at about 60 degrees up (changes by location). They move in relation to a point on the earth through the sky.

    XM has two geostationary satalites at about 22,000 miles. These are going to appear to be in a "fixed" spot in relation to a point on earth. They are at a lower angle, your best bet is an antenna pointed to the south (similar to direct TV).

    Because of this Sirius generally gets better signal due to the angle.


    The FCC has mandated (or so i've heard) that the two companies technologies are compliant with eachother ( on the reciever end) in the future.
     
  14. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    If that's true, XM hardware should easily recieve Sirius signals. However, without an omni directional antenna, making turns in the car/airplane/etc would lose signal.

    Also FYI:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geosynchronous_orbit
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostationary_orbit
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2006
  15. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    I might have mixed it up slighty, but for the most part I was spot on. I don't really claim to be a rocket scientist. But the geostationary will appear to stay in one spot relative to a position on the earth..whereas the geosyncronous is going to appear to "move" around the sky..in a figure 8 like pattern as wikipedia says.

    Both XM and Sirius use an omnidirectional antenna. I would also imagine that they are near the same frequency. My guess as far as to why they are not compatible is they probably use a different form of compression...I'd imagine the protocal is also different..
     
  16. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    XM has a deal in place with DirectTV so that as DTV customers, we get XM radio on the 800 level channels. Not sure if that will make a difference in long term viability or not.
     
  17. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    The way I understand the two is that a geostationary orbit is a geosynchronous orbit above the equator. I'm not going to say they're the 'same' but related.

    I'm pretty sure Sirius has a similar deal with Dish.
     
  18. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    Chris you are correct.
    And I can claim to be a rocket scientist :)
    geostationary orbit has enough speed to make 1 revolution every 23 hrs 56 minutes or whatever and is in an equatorial orbit
    geosynchronous just makes an orbit every 23 hrs 56 min, could be inclined to the equatorial.
    So the Sirius Satellites spend part of the time over the northern hemisphere, part over the southern.
    I imagine the orbits are fairly elliptical so that they spend most of their time over the Northern Hemisphere.
    XM Satellites have circular orbits.
    God i miss Astrodynamics.
     
  19. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Pretty much what I said.

    Sirius satalites though are going to be at a higher angle. IMHO It is a better way to do it.

    Which is the reason why they have three satalites and you won't always be reaching all three, but the idea is, you won't have buildings and trees and houses interferring with your signal like what can happen with XM.

    IME Sirius signal strength in normal use and driving is superior. I have maybe once had it cut out for half a second.

    I have a friend with XM..and well. It's fairly common..it happens about everytime you drive and listen to it.
     
  20. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    I can't speak for Sirius, but XM reception is great except when you're down in a canyon or close the the north face of a hill.

    Strangely enough, my XM2GO worked inside the Oakland International airport terminal.
     
  21. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    XM & Sirius put repeaters in large metro areas. If they didn't do this..well. You would lose signal constantly due to buildings.

    My guess is that you were actually getting the signal from a repeater and not a satalite..as you really need line of sight.
     
  22. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    YMMV, I guess. I had frequent dropoffs with the xm2go internal antenna, but with the external antenna on the dashboard of the Toyota -- or on the glareshield of the Bonanza -- it's near perfect.

    I picked XM mainly for baseball. Listening to Vin Scully call a game from Dodger Stadium while I'm flying over Idaho ... it doesn't get better than this! :)

    -- Pilawt
     
  23. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yeah. I ended up taking the install a bit farther then most people.

    I hardwired the Sirius receiver directly into my vehicles aux power. I also hard wired it to my car's stereo. I then mounted it on my dash. I mounted the Sirius antenna on the roof of the car, came in with the wire, and then pulled all the paneling and dash off inside the car and ran it under that to the receiver.

    It was worth it. Works perfect.
     
  24. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Jesse,

    Thanks for the info... Interesting.

    All right rocket scientists... With three satellites in geosync, will Sirius *always* have one at a higher angle than XM's? I guess if they're approximately evenly spaced out, they'd almost have to, especially at the higher altitude.

    You sure? They seem to work a lot better when flat. A true omni would work just as well no matter how it was mounted. Try flipping your antenna on its edge and see if it still works as well. (I'm assuming you have the same disc-shaped antenna I do?)
     
  25. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I know a buch about this. Will have to remember to respond tomorrow...
     
  26. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    True.

    I'd imagine it's some type of circular polarization antenna..perhaps two dipoloes at an angle..I guess I'm not sure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2006
  27. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It is correct that Sirius uses three satellites in an MEO orbit. XM uses geostationary birds. The XM geostationary birds generally have a higher "look" angle, or angle above the horizon, on a consistant basis. For Sirius, that angle changes, depending on where in the orbit the satellites are. Sirius keeps 2 satellites looking at the US at any given time.

    In theory, then, XM should have less dropouts in many areas, except when the Sirius satellites are at a high angle.

    What is more important in metro areas, though, is the terrestrial repeater networks. XM has a far better network of repeaters. There are less XM dropouts in urban areas due to these repeaters.

    XM's deal with DirectTV is a result of the deal that XM made for DirectTV to handle much of the customer service, billing, and authorization functions. Quid pro quo.

    The FCC mandated interoperability, but both companies dragged their feet. With GM being a huge investor in XM, it installed the radios in cars (and had zero incentive to make Sirius available). GM wants the recurring services income along with a share of the activation fees. I doubt you'll ever see Gm installing Sirius radios, unless the FCC cracks down. I don't see it happening - too far into the game.

    As for rights fees, broadcast stations in the US are covered by a compulsory license with payments to ASCAP/BMI. There is no mandated payment for performance rights (in other words, the record companies/artists don't get payment for airplay). Satellite companies are NOT covered under the broadcast compuslory license, but rather are covered under the digital provisions, meaning they pay for each song played rather than a blanket payment. Europe is different for broadcast, there are payments to both the writer/publisher and the record company/artist... therefore costs are higher to radio stations (and restaurants) over there.
     
  28. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    I don't know for sure, but circular is a good guess for satelite-based transmissions. Dipole? Could be a helix array.
     
  29. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nothing with a lot of directional gain. It's amplified & generally of the same type of design as a GPS antenna.
     
  30. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    Sorry meant the satellite, not the receiver antenna.
     
  31. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Satellite? Yeah, CP, IIRC. CP tends to work better in multipath situations.
     
  32. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    FWIW, that's because CP reverses polarity when the signal is reflected (once) and a CP receive antenna will seriously attenuate the reflection (a good thing). And the antenna used is no doubt a "patch" antenna which can have CP. They are also "omnidirectional" in that they receive equally from all directions in the horizontal plane (just like a single element vertical dipole) but aren't designed to receive from the bottom.

    The two XM receivers I own have a display mode that shows the signal strength from satellite and terrestrial sources. I had some trouble with dropouts when I had the antenna on the dash of my car, but with it mounted on the roof it's been nearly dropout proof. Out in the fringe suburbs where I live there is no terrestrial signal at all, but as I get closer to downtown that signal increases to a useable level. Also I did have signal loss problems late last week when XM was changing the program lineup (adding channels) and was told by the service folks that this might have been due to the changeover. Then again the same service rep thought that sending an authoriztion signal might help my intermittant signal loss (which was nonsense) so she might have just been making up the bit about the channel changes affecting the signal bandwidth, but it makes some sense that the bandwidth and related redundancy being affected.
     
  33. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    More likely, during the changeover they reduced the number of error correcting bits in the stream (error correcting is a substantial overhead on the satellite signals). Doing so would increase BER, and thereby increase the dropouts.

    THat's as good of a description of the benefits of CP as I've seen. In deep multipath situations (e.g. little or no direct signal), though, CP only makes a moderate difference as a practical matter.