Face it, commercial radio isn’t what it used to be when you were younger. Once filled with personality and music for varying tastes, today’s radio stations sound very similar, caustic, and somewhat boring. This is a problem for you and your young family, especially on a long ride in the car. You’re looking for something else, besides a built-in DVD player, to keep your and your kids awake while driving.
How about satellite radio? Services like Sirius/XM Radio provides hundreds of channels with a variety of genres. It sounds great, but it all comes down to prices. Here are the pros, cons, and some alternatives concerning satellite radio.
Companies like Sirius/XM offer almost 200 channels of programming that covers talk, news, sports, and music in numerous genres. Most of it is commercial free, though some network simulcasts do have advertising. You can have a satellite-based radio installed in your vehicle that allows you to jump from the service back to local stations in your area. In addition, you can purchase satellite service for other devices, including home radios, computers, and smartphones or tablets. Finally, satellite radio stations allow you to continue listening to your favorite stations even while traveling across the country.
Cost is the prime con for getting satellite radio service. On the average, an annual subscription runs around $200 for basic service. You can break it down by specialties like news and sports; nevertheless, the price doesn’t go down that much. Some satellite radio services also charge extra to purchase subscriptions for other devices.
In addition to the cost of the subscription, there is purchase and installation of the satellite radio itself. The price for this equipment runs anywhere from $79 all the way to $300 without installation. Some may come with a few months of free subscription service, but most don’t. You can avoid installation of a new radio by purchasing a portable version. The only caveat is your current model needs to have the necessary hookups to run the portable version.
The final con is how frequently you utilize the service. Those who are in their cars longer will probably be able to offset the cost of satellite radio as they wait in traffic or drive long distances. People who barely drive or only use their vehicle for short hops may not feel the purchase of the service is worth it.
There are a few less expensive alternatives to consider instead of satellite radio. HD radio, though never very popular, is an alternative that gives listeners a larger variety of stations connected to terrestrial radio networks. There’s a cost for the equipment and installation but the service is free. Another option is to utilize various and free Smartphone apps like iHeartRadio and TuneIn to listen to a variety of stations and podcasts. Newer cars allow you to plug your phone into the radio via a USB port. Those who don’t have this ability can purchase a wireless, Bluetooth speaker for around $20 to listen to these app stations with greater volume and clarity.