What is Satellite Radio?
Think of Satellite radio as you would think of Satellite television. Satellite Radio providers have looked at the success of Satellite TV, and developed programming based on the hope that the same individuals attracted to Satellite TV because of its quality, depth of programming and relatively low cost will also be willing to pay monthly for access to satellite audio. Satellite Radio providers have helped differentiate themselves from terrestrial FM through the inclusion of a huge assortment of stations, all distributed 100% commercial free.
Who Provides Satellite Radio in North America?
In North America, the two Satellite Radio providers are XM and Sirius. They have both developed content that would satisfy just about any audio listener, both casual and audiophiles. Likewise, they both have relatively low monthly costs. XM and Sirius also have a distinct advantage other digitally distributed audio, using technology that encodes as a much higher resolution than many Digital or HD Radio stations, and a much broader assortment of stations.
Why did Magnum Dynalab choose to produce an XM Satellite Radio Tuner versus a Sirius Satellite Radio Tuner?
Despite some subtle differences in the decoding process, our decision to support the XM technology is based entirely on content. Quite simply, we feel that XM has a far greater selection of music stations, including various classical, jazz, blues and rock stations. Our customers are music lovers, and we feel that XM provides the content that Magnum Dynalab customers will like best.
Why did Magnum Dynalab choose to produce an XM Satellite Radio Tuner versus an HD Radio Tuner?
What is most important to mention first is the fact that the term 'HD Radio' does NOT stand for 'High-Definition Radio'. 'HD' is merely a trademark developed by iBiquity Digital Corporation, the developer of HD Radio, with no direct reference to a higher decoding rate of the digital signal. Rather, 'HD' more appropriately stands for Hybrid Digital, which describes the process of HD Radio locking onto a station - first locking onto the analog signal in mono, then stereo, then trying to find a digital signal. If digital signal reception is lost, the radio will revert to analog, the same way a car radio will go into mono operation from stereo when signal strength is insufficient for stereo. Much of the success of this system property relies on proper synchronization of the analog and digital audio signals by broadcast engineers at the transmitter. In part due to this variability in broadcast quality (versus the consistent quality of the XM signal), we have not elected to proceed with an HD Radio device. To put an exclamation point on our decision, extensive listening tests with prototypes we have created in our lab have not resulted in sound quality that is consistently satisfactory for us to adopt this technology.
What will I hear on XM Satellite Radio?
XM offers a huge variety of stations you'll never hear on commercial radio. Many of the music channels are commercial free, and most are unique and original to the XM frequency. Virtually every musical style is represented in depth and variety, including a healthy assortment of classical, blues, jazz and rock 'n roll. An entire listing of the XM channels can be found at www.xmradio.com in the USA or at www.xmradio.ca in Canada.
How will the merger of XM and Sirius affect my Magnum Dynalab XM Satellite Tuner?
Our customers can rest assured that when the merger of XM and Sirius happens, their Magnum Dynalab tuner will continue to remain completely functional.
Firstly, XM has clearly stated that all XM devices currently in market will receive a mix of programming from both services following a merger (http://www.xmradio.com/merger/promise.xmc).
Secondly, and most importantly, we at Magnum Dynalab have a history of perpetual product upgrades. If XM fails to deliver on their promise, we assert that we will provide the product upgrade necessary to ensure that your Magnum Dynalab device will accommodate any changes to the Satellite Radio technology.
Where is XM service available?
XM is available in the continental U.S., its territories and adjacent waters, as well as in Canada. In Canada, the XM service is made available through XM's exclusive licensee, Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. (www.xmradio.ca). XM provides excellent coast-to-coast signal coverage to the densely populated regions of Canada through its satellites and a robust ground repeater network installed in major metropolitan areas. Currently, XM's service is not sold in Mexico.
Does XM offer customer support?
XM's Listener Care Center provides efficient and reliable support services to XM subscribers through a dedicated toll-free telephone number, 1-800-XM-RADIO (1-800-967-2346). Listener Care Representatives provide amazing care in dealing with activations, general inquires, trouble shooting and billing care services.
XM Customer Support's hours are:
Mon - Sat: 6AM - 2AM ET
Sun: 8AM - 8PM ET
How much does XM Radio cost?
If you are a consumer, you will pay a $14.99 activation fee plus monthly service fee of $12.95 for over 170 channels in the US, and over 100 channels in Canada. If you activate on XM's E-care website http://activation.xmradio.com, you will only need to pay $9.99 for your activation fee plus the monthly service fee of $12.95.
If you are a business, you must be set up as a commercial account. Commercial accounts are $27.95 with a one-time activation fee of $14.99. At this time, you cannot activate or manage a commercial account on the web. Please call XM Radio at 888-689-2300 in the USA or visit www.xmradio.ca in Canada for your commercial activation.
Do I have to sign a contact for XM Service?
There is no contract, and the service can be cancelled at any time.
How does XM Satellite Radio work?
XM provides digital programming directly from three high-powered satellites in geostationary orbit above the equator. XM-1 ("Roll") and XM-2 ("Rock") are co-located at 115° west longitude and XM-3 ("Rhythm") is located 85° west longitude in addition to a network of ground-based repeaters. The combination of the three satellites and a series of ground-based repeaters ensure uninterrupted coverage throughout all of continental North America.
A song at XM Radio starts its broadcast life by being recorded into a specific format on a storage medium. It is encoded at a high bit rate (approximately 384kb/s) so as to preserve quality, and cataloged and organized in a similar way that we use ID3 tags for all digital files. The DJ at each XM station then selects the track or album of tracks to play for the next 15 to 30 minutes, previews the music, and allows the control system to encode the original source music using the aacPlus Codec.
Each XM channel is handled by an encoder. Each encoder transmits the necessary digital files for each particular station to a multiplexer, where they are combined with the files from all additional XM channels. Once all of XM's channels are sent to the multiplexer, the massive digital stream is modulated onto an RF carrier, and transmitted on XM's section of the S-Band frequency (2332.5 to 2345.0 MHz) to one of XM's three satellites.
From one of the three satellites, the encoded signals are sent back to earth, and the antenna connected to your XM receiver picks up the frequency. Since your receiver will be the only thing decoding this signal, you can rest assured that compared to the many digital transmissions that re-broadcast, re-store and re-encode the signal, the XM signal will never be sliced again.
Where do I need to place my XM Antenna?
The most consistent performance will be realized if the antenna has a 'bird's eye' view of the sky, and isn't generally affected by the directional orientation (North, South, East, West). The XM signal will penetrate some objects (i.e. wooden roof), so experiment with a placement that is both convenient and maximizes performance. Overall, you should expect your XM signal to remain extraordinarily consistent, unaffected by the various stray signals that often effects terrestrial FM.