New Toy For The Car

As a late Christmas present, my mom bought an XM Radio for my wife and me.  It came with a gift card that paid for the first 3 months, so it really is a no-risk trial for us.  I have to say that it’s pretty neat so far.

She got us the Roady XT model — it comes with a kit for connecting it up in the car, which I found very impressive.  Especially since there is a $40 rebate going on right now if you buy it at Circuit City.  That means that it really only costs about $20 + at least one month at $12.95.  Not too bad.

As far as installation goes, it was fairly easy — I installed it into my wife’s car, a 2006 Dodge Caravan.  I was able to route the antenna wire from the dash to the back of the van and out the top.  The antenna has a magnet that keeps it firmly in place.

I originally was going to use my Aux input, but there was a high pitched whine that was quite bothersome.  I swapped out cables, and it still happened.  When I switched to the cassette adapter (yay!  I finally used the tape player on the van!), the whine went away.  I don’t know if there is a problem with the Aux input or the radio or both.  Since the tape adapter works great, I probably won’t try tracking it down.

 As far as the service goes, I haven’t had too much time to try it out.  But, one part of the service I am very much looking forward to using this year is the MLB coverage.  It will be nice to finally listen to a Red Sox game while driving outside of the Boston area.  And, as a bonus, I can keep up with my hometown team as well — the Reds.

My only lingering concern is if I am going to find this a worthwhile deal when I have to pay $12.95/month.  On one hand, there are plenty of free radio stations.  But, having commercial free music channels and, of course, the MLB coverage is a big plus for me.  Also, the nationwide coverage is a big bonus when traveling.  Not having to constantly flip channels while driving (or manage the iPod for that matter) will be great — but, it’s of limited value since I don’t take too many trips each year.

On the plus side, I really like that you can pay as you go — I just hope that letting your subscription lapse doesn’t mean that you have to reactivate your radio.  $10 for an online activation seems a bit much to me — why can’t they simply factor the activation cost into the price of the radio?  They might even stand to make more money that way, since I’m sure there are XM radios sold that are never activated (think gifts and pre-installed car radios…).

I’ll have to post more on this when my 3 month trial is up.  If anyone else has a satelite radio, feel free to post your opinions below.  I’m curious to what other people think about them as well.

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