SiriusXM Vs. Streaming Radio: Pros And Cons

Riding in a car without music, whether you’re alone or with others, can be pretty uncomfortable. Sure, you can turn on the boring old AM/FM radio, but then you’d have to listen to ads and radio static half of the time! Luckily, there are better ways to combat the silence: SiriusXM® and streaming. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each option.

SiriusXM® Satellite Radio: Pros And Cons

With SiriusXM® satellite radio, you can listen to pretty much anything, anywhere. Music, talk shows, stand-up comedy routines, positive affirmations – you name it, you’ll likely find it on satellite radio. Read more about how satellite radio works here.

There are a lot of pros to satellite radio.

  • A wide variety of programs: SiriusXM® offers more than 165 channels, including those geared towards music, comedy, sports, and more. With the wide selection available, you’re bound to find a few favorites.
  • Live sports broadcasts: Who needs cable when you’ve got satellite radio? SiriusXM® offers a handful of official sport channels, including but not limited to, the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, and MLB, that will broadcast games and events live.
  • Works just about anywhere: Since SiriusXM® is beamed down to Earth from satellites in orbit, it works anywhere you can view the sky. Unless you’re working at a secret military facility deep underground, you can enjoy satellite radio everywhere.
  • Exclusive content: Last but not least, there are personalities and content you can ONLY hear on SiriusXM®

If SiriusXM® satellite radio has any drawbacks, it’s the monthly subscription fee. Unless you don’t mind listening to a lot of ads on streaming radio, you’ll have a monthly subscription fee there too.

Streaming Radio: Pros And Cons

Streaming radio functions similarly to satellite radio, except that the channels are accessed via the internet. There are tons of different streaming services, the most popular ones being:

  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • SiriusXM® (yep – they’re offering both streaming AND satellite)
  • Slacker Radio
Audi Blue tooth touchscreen

Photo credit: Michael Sheehan

Also called internet radio, streaming radio offers several advantages:

  • Freemium: Streaming radio is generally available free, but the free version usually comes with a lot of ads. Some services let you get rid of ads for a monthly fee, but that fee is pretty similar to the SiriusXM® subscription fee.
  • Device flexibility: Whether you’re at the gym, in the car, at the office, or at the coffee shop, you can listen to streaming radio as long as you have Internet access, which you can get from WiFi or your portable device (a/k/a smartphone).

Now, let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks associated with streaming radio:

  • Data usage: If you’re using your smartphone data plan to listen to streaming radio, you’ll see that streaming radio will start to eat up a fair chunk of your monthly data limit.
  • Hit or miss coverage: If you’re streaming music using your cell phone data, you run the risk of losing coverage whenever you enter a remote area. If you’re using public WiFi, you’ll be on your own once you leave the hotspot.
  • Automated music programming can be awful. If you’ve ever been listening to streaming radio and heard music that made you think “What the heck is this, and why am I listening to it right now?!” you’re not alone. While you can skip or switch stations, that isn’t super convenient.
  • Free plans have limited skips. Once you skip a certain number of songs, your free streaming music service will stop you from skipping any more. If the music is weird, you’re stuck.

So Which Option Is Best?

Satellite radio touchscreen

Photo credit: Michael Sheehan

We believe SiriusXM® is a more refined, better quality service. It’s also better for people that are interested in more than just music. Still, you can’t argue with free. If you’re willing to listen to advertising, free streaming radio is a pretty good deal.

All we know is that if you want SiriusXM® and your factory car stereo doesn’t support it, we can help. We offer SiriusXM® satellite radio adapters for most newer vehicle makes and models.

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Categories: Satellite Radio