Dave Dumps XM (Again)

Dave Zatz —  November 13, 2008 — 21 Comments

See ya, XM. I was on the fence and you pushed. Our time together has been mostly positive, but the massive lineup modifications yesterday without any advance notification isn’t the proper way to treat your customers. So I’m walking. While I fully support cost-cutting measures, such as merging Sirius & XM channels into a unified offering, I don’t support keeping customers in the dark until the zero hour. I also don’t appreciate you dropping The Rhyme and Chrome, two of my top three stations, without proving Sirius analogues. Ironic, considering the Chrome station manager was responsible for bringing me back into the satellite radio fold after my first defection. So while Chrome now maps to PG comedy (149) and adult comedy (150) no longer displays comedians, it won’t be my problem. I’ll be enjoying the more diverse and economical Internet radio offerings.

21 responses to Dave Dumps XM (Again)

  1. I’m guessing you’re already paying $60 a month for a broadband card for that laptop you’ll be hauling around in your car?

  2. No, I’m only paying $30/mo for Xohm 4G. ;) However, Pandora streams fine to my iPhone and I’m contemplating picking up a Zune or Rhapsody device with subscription. Though Slacker for Blackberry should be launching soon, which provides another compelling option – and unlike Pandora, songs are downloaded rather than streamed. Most recent cars all have line-in jacks… plus I work from home. I’ll miss ESPN Radio and Comedy for longer road trips, but for music I’ve got more than enough options. (Including all the content I already own on my iPhone.)

  3. Ahh. I’d dump ‘em too (they cut The Boneyard! argh) – but I have to have some decent talk radio too for my commute. I wish I hadn’t just dropped $600 for a 3yr renewal on two radios…..

    I just upgraded my 1st gen iPhone to a 3G – I’ll have to give Pandora a whirl tonight.

  4. “…I’m only paying $30/mo for Xohm 4G..”

    No way! You are using WiMax? Have you tried it with Skype yet? We are still waiting here in Texas ~ WTF?!

  5. Haven’t tried it with Skype, but it should be fine since my speeds are insane. Streamed video from a variety of sources, such as Netflix.com just fine. I believe the Dallas area will be one of the next Xohm cities after Baltimore, DC, and Chicago.

  6. My favorite (Cinemagic) is suddenly off-the-air until Jan 1. And the on-line classical stations were playing the wrong music all day yesterday. This is exactly the wrong way to hande this kind of change. What a bone-head move! Of course, my wife is happy about gaining the Elvis channel.

  7. Sonos internet radio streaming is awesome. Does not help with the car though. Take the monthly payments from XM and buy a sonos unit.

    Pandora is really good. I have rhapsody but I am using Pandora way more.

  8. We decided a long time ago to eschew Sirius and go directly to Rhapsody To Go. We use it on our Tivo, 2 sansa e2x0r players, my nokia n810, work and home computers, etc. Channels aren’t as good as sirius, but I’ve not had any crazy lineup changes, either. Quality is top notch compared to sirius, rhap direct music is 192kbps mp3. Rhap to go is 128kbps AAC.

    I’ve got a Chumby on the way and that only works with Pandora, but both Sonos and Squeeze work with Rhapsody, too!

  9. I would have dropped them too, but I only pay 77$ a YEAR for the service, at that PP it is fine to have. I use a small portable player, so it works for me to get CNN and CNBC and such while on the road wherever I am. At less than 6.5$ a month, I can justify the expense.

  10. I have been an XM sub since 2002, and I will be keeping my sub. That being said I can see a lot of frustration with the dropping of The Rhyme, I didn’t listen all the time to it but it was always on my presets. I personally was also disapointed they dropped the Weather Channel, I would listen when I was traveling for updated weather. A lot of the other channels have just been renamed from what I noticed so far squizz->octane etc. As an XM sub I think I did get the better so far of the changeover, I already had MLB, NCAA, and XM had signed up the NBA over the summer but now we can also get the NFL. Whcih for me seems to be a pretty good deal, I think a lot of the satellite benefits are for those that drive/travel a lot so you can listen to a station you know as you move around. I plan to give it time and see how things shake out. If you look back over the original XM channels it’s nothing like they were in the last year. I personally could do without all the channels for one artist (Elvis, The Dead, E Street, AC/DC). they are a waste of bandwith to me.

  11. As a dual-subscriber to Sirius and XM, I’m actually pretty happy with the changes. For the stuff I listen to, the better channel was mostly kept, some from Sirius and some from XM. That said, it’s absolutely ridiculous that they didn’t give people more notice about this. I really wish I knew why they thought that was a good idea…

  12. Dave,

    With XOHM, its not how fast it is that counts for things such as Skype, but the latency. A quick google search showed latency is around 130 ms, which is acceptable for VOIP, but lower is always better.

  13. Joe, the 4G latency was lower than what I saw on the Sprint 3G connection I used yesterday.

    Here’s a picture I took at 108ms:
    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2008-11/xohm-wimax-invades-dc/xohm-dc5/

    Here’s one I took in a moving vehicle under 90ms:
    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2008-10/xohm-wimax-launches-in-baltimore-again/xohm2/

  14. I left a few weeks ago, due to the poor sound quality. I got tired of it, and after sending in comments for months (via their contact us form) and not hearing anything back, decided it wasn’t worth it any longer. XM’s sound quality when it launched versus what it is now is a complete joke.

    $14.95/mo gets me any songs I please on my 80 gig Zune, all in glorious CD quality.

  15. I actually have a Sirius tuner in my car with a lifetime subscription. I rarely listen to it. Every so often I’ll switch to it, hear the ‘same as FM’ nonsense, remember why I went to it in the first place (to get rid of the sex-jokes/innuendo), and then sigh as I go on to some other source of music. Not all channels are that bad but Sirius Hits 1 is horrible for that kind of stuff. I really don’t care about ‘the morning crew’. Every station in the U.S. has ‘a morning crew’. Introduce the songs and then play them. I don’t need commercial-free radio interrupted by Sirius commercials, either.

    I also have XM and use it for traffic (GPS/NavTraffic) and radio. Even then, I rarely listen to it. The traffic data is somewhat useful but I really don’t have the daily commute to justify it. I tried cancelling about a month back and they talked me into keeping it for 6 months at a reduced rate. I’ll probably just cancel it after that.

    John Dvorak once said on a podcast: Satellite radio has the problem where when you have it you love it but when you don’t have it you don’t miss it.

    I think he was dead on. I mainly listen to my iPod at this point for music and podcasts. Oh, and it’s stupid that I can listen to an hour-long radio show in just over 30min. That’s a lot of filler there.

  16. I think I’m right behind you, but I’m waiting for my prepaid 12 month subscription to run out. The loss of The Ryhme, Ethel, and XCountry are too much for me.

    This merger seems like they took XM and Sirius and made both worse. The lack of communication with their customer base is just icing on the cake.

  17. I agree entirely. I am afraid that the “harsher” side of Sirius is invading XM. Below is a note I sent today to the folks at their POTUS channel via this feedback page.

    http://www.xmradio.com/help/emailus.xmc?ch=130

    —–
    I understand that with the merger there are many programming changes that occur.

    I wanted to let you know that I am concerned about the direction of the POTUS channel. This morning at 8:30 EST it was very jarring to hear a harsh shrill “station identificatioN” for POTUS that then sequed into the “big music” of the morning briefing.

    I also did not enjoy the segment somewhere between 8:35 and 8:45 wtih Pete Dominick interviewing someone about the auto industry. It sounded too much like the shouting heads on cable news. I am not looking for shouting heads in the morning. What I have always enjoyed about POTUS is the in depth interviews and analysis with political insiders. During the election this would involve interviewing Democratic and Republican spokespersons, but not having them on at the same time for an argument. POTUS to me is like an enhanced NPR. If this devolves too much, I may look to cancel my subscription and just return to listening to my local NPR affiliate.

  18. After 3 years of XM I will cancel the service. The loss of fungus was the first strike then the rhyme, and no suitable aguila replacement. I can listen to crappy radio for free, so I will use my montly XM money to get tunes online and play on my MP3 player.

  19. I’m a Sirius subscriber who is also frustrated by the fact they canceled the Strobe (which was the Sirius equivalent of XM’s Chrome). Please tell the Sirius XM people who you feel about their bad changes.

    http://www.petitiononline.com/discosir/petition.html

  20. I have been a Sirius subscriber since 2006 and I have just canceled my subscription. They dropped Sirius Shuffle and the new channel lineup is terrible. I originally subscribed for Stern but all he talks about is how he can’t wait for the next 2 years to be over so he doesn’t have to work anymore. Not worth the money!!

  21. Hey, Dave Zatz. I read an article in the NYTimes & felt compelled to vent about this SiriusXM garbage when I read that Chrome was also your favorite channel. I only listened to Chrome & ESPN Radio regularly for long drives. I was beyond infuriated to learn (the hard way) that Chrome & The Rhyme got deep-sixed from the lineup with ABSOLUTELY NO PRIOR NOTIFICATION. I get bombarded with e-mail from XM, yet nothing mentioned dropping Chrome. I’m Sirius-ly hoping bankruptcy catches up with this monopoly. Much like cable tv, there’s no competition in Satellite radio. If not for Mike & Mike in the morning, I would cancel my subscription.

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