XMWhat is XM Radio?
Simply put, XM Radio is music sent to a radio receiver by a satellite. You pay a monthly subscription for the service which provides commercial free listening of over 120 channels. The channels, which range from jazz and classical to rock and rap, are consistent throughout the country so no matter where you go, the music stays with you. And compared to your local radio where you might have 2-3 of any kind of music, XM provides 5-10 stations dedicated to most types of music organized by themes such as decades, hits, independant labels, etc. The receiver is very small, mobile, and interchangeable in various accessories enabling its use in the car, at home, or with a portable boombox.
We Highly recommend it so the obvious question is, how do you get it?
First (and, in fact, only) Lesson:
Don't listen to installers at retailers who tell you they need to drill into the dashboard of your car, that it costs $75+ for installation, or that you need the $100 FM modulator to have it installed in your car. One retailer went so far as to tell me I didn't have a choice, this was the only way to get XM. All told, when I talked to retailers for all this, I was being asked to pay around $500 for XM radio. I figured out how to do it with no damage to my car for only $285.
1. XM in my car
2. A Boombox to move the receiver into my apartment or anywhere I want to take the boombox
3. The option to move my XM to another car or into a new car
Here's a summary of the option you'll be told by most retailers vs. the way I did it:
Retailer - Lowest price to just get it just in your car: $385 (other costs apply to get the boombox)
Advantages: Retailers will literally install this in your car, it will be wired to your stereo for perfect clarity and mounted on the dashboard. You will be able to move the receiver (in case you get the boombox) but the setup is permanent.
Disadvantages: Permanent and potentially damaging to your car. You won't be able to move to another car without getting another setup for that car. BestBuy also told me they'd screw it into the dashboard and drill a hole for wires. Retailers claimed you want it mounted to prevent theft but ask yourself, who is going to break in and steal the setup? You take the receiver out of your car so the setup hardware is worthless. Even if you forget the receiver in your car; XM disables the service if the receiver is stolen making it worthless to anyone who steals it.
My setup - Lowest price to get it in your car: $185
Advantages: It is mobile and cheap. I haven't permanently mounted the radio in my car so I can move it to our other car and it is wireless so it doesn't have to be installed.
Disadvantages: Because its wireless, the reception can go bad if the modulator is competing with a radio station on the channel you choose. For example, set to 81.3 FM to receive the signal; if you are in an area where 81.3 is a strong radio station, they will both come through the stereo. Though, you have 6 different stations to choose for the wireless signal, in my experience this problem is minimal.
What you need to get it in your car for $185:
- The Delphi SA10000 XM SKYFi Radio Receiver about $90
- The Delphi SA10002 XM SKYFi Vehicle Kit about $60
- A universal Wireless FM Modulator about $30 - This enables the receiver to play through your stereo's radio stations and avoid having it permanently installed (Sorry, its only available at this, different, store)
The other things I wanted:
- Delphi SA10001 XM SKYFi Boombox about $70 - enabling the receiver to play in the apartment
- An extra antenna, the Terk Slim-Mount XM(TM) Radio Antenna (XM3) about $50 - which I installed in our other car so I can move the XM between the cars.