Where are Sirius XM's satellites

Sirius XM mobile satellite radio will be presented at CES

Sirius XM advertisement outside the Las Vegas Convention Center
Photo: teltarif.de In the vastness of North America, apart from the metropolitan areas, there are often only a few radio programs that can be received traditionally on VHF or medium wave. If you are in sparsely populated regions, there is often nothing more to receive than the local country and the local religious station. Further programs would hardly pay off for the few potential listeners in sparsely populated regions and for the motorists who drive past on the freeway.

Transmission power and technical range on VHF and medium wave are limited, so that it is not possible to cover large parts of the USA or Canada with only a few transmitter locations. The alternative is broadcasts via satellite. Two companies had this idea with Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio. These were pay radio offers, but they were only moderately successful. The market was obviously too small for two program organizers.

Sirius and XM merged in 2008

Sirius XM advertisement outside the Las Vegas Convention Center
Photo: teltarif.de Ten years ago, the two providers merged to form Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Today the company operates five satellites in orbit that operate in the S-band, i.e. in the frequency range around 2.3 GHz. The joint venture has more than 25 million subscribers today and reception in the car is still one of the most important distribution channels.

More than 140 audio channels can be received in large parts of North America. Many modern car hi-fi systems already bring the receiver for Sirius XM with them. Older vehicles can be retrofitted with small adapters. These adapters can also be used at home and, last but not least, Sirius XM is also available as a streaming service, which is available via an app for Android and iOS.

The satellite reception in the car is astonishingly good, even over long distances. Passing under bridges or short underpasses does not cause any interruptions, because the signal is briefly buffered before it is played back, similar to web radio reception. So it is not a problem if the signal is temporarily unavailable.

This is what Sirius XM Satellite offers its listeners

Sirius XM is also available via app
Photo: teltarif.de Sirius XM is promoting its offers very intensively around the exhibition center in Las Vegas, which is currently used for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The various contents that Sirius XM has to offer are also addressed in the advertising messages. This includes countless special-interest music channels that are even moderated, but also sports programs, news, talk, comedy, etc. There are also programs in Spanish and stations specifically for listeners in Canada.

Conventional radio programs, which can also be found on other distribution channels, are rather the exception on Sirius XM. For example, KIIS FM Los Angeles and WHTZ (Z100) New York can also be received via satellite and the Sirius XM app. Trial subscriptions are free for four weeks. After that, the entire program package costs $ 15.99 a month. There are discounts for customers who commit to Sirius XM for three months or for one year.

No geoblocking when streaming

While the reception of the satellites is not possible in Europe, there is no geo-blocking with the Sirius XM streaming service. The apps can only be found in the Google Play Store or Apple AppStore in the USA and Canada. Registration - even for the free trial account - is only possible with a North American IP address.

In Europe there have been several efforts to establish a mobile, digital satellite radio as well. So far, however, these have always failed. In Europe, the VHF and often also the DAB + transmitter networks are well developed, even in rural areas. In addition, the diversity of languages ​​in the "old world" speaks against Europe-wide satellite radio programs.