Satellite radio has certainly taken off. It is very popular for two or three main reasons such as quality, content and availability. In the perspective of satellite radio, quality refers to the quality of sound that is capable of being reproduced by the equipment because of the signal; content refers to the types of programmes being transmitted by the various radio channels or stations and availability refers to the footprint or coverage of the satellite, that is how much area of land receives the signal from the satellite.
All these comparisons are made with terrestrial radio broadcasts of course. For instance, we all know that typical AM or FM stations vary greatly in quality, the content can be heavily interspersed with advertising, jingles and inane chatter and coverage is normally only on a extremely local basis.
The two big players in the American satellite radio market are of course Sirius and XM and each one is attempting to out do the other in these three fields
Typically, satellite radio produces a quality of sound which is similar to CD quality. This is extremely high, especially if you use good quality equipment to replay the signal received. If you merely replay satellite radio through tinny, old, blown speakers, then you will hardly benefit from this boost in quality at all.
Quality, content and coverage have all played a part in increasing the popularity of satellite radio, but it is probably content which has played the biggest part.
You may be asking yourself why anyone would want to pay for subscription radio, when there is so much free radio about. It is a fair point, but in fact, similarities can be drawn with cable TV and broadcast television. Why do people pay for that? Is it the sound quality? Or the content? Or what? A lot of cable TV is rubbish as well. Sports coverage, perhaps.
At least the majority of satellite radio is free of commercials. That has to be worth a couple dollars a month and it is in fact a big selling point. Many people cite the lack of commercials as one of their foremost reasons for switching to satellite radio.
It is probable that all big league sports games will go subscription only over the next couple years. This will without doubt be carried out with the use of satellite radio. American football, soccer, baseball, basketball will all either get their own nationwide channels or be bundled with other channels
People are fed up with the amount of advertising on AM and FM radio, but at the end of the day, the main reason whether to get satellite radio or not for most people rests on content not even so much on the quality of the sound. If sport is taken off terrestrial radio and only available on satellite radio, then people, especially men, will switch to satellite radio, which is precisely what happened with cable and satellite television.
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