Sirius XM Makes Good on A La Carte Promise

The satellite radio operator on Thursday debuted its first “a la carte” capable radio, the Starmate 5 for Sirius, while also giving users the option to get the best of the other service without having to change radios in most cases.

The Best of Sirius package for XM includes Howard Stern, the NFL, NASCAR, additional college sports programming, and Playboy Radio. For Sirius customers, the Best of XM adds Oprah, the NBA, Opie and Anthony, the NHL, PGA, additional college sports programing, and XM’s public radio channel.

For either service, the monthly rate would be bumped up to $16.99, essentially meaning the additional channels would cost a little more than $4 to receive. Those interested can either sign up for the new plans from each service’s website, or call in to have a representative change it for them.

I’m looking at the offerings here, and I have to say that in my opinion, Sirius customers seemed to be getting the better deal here. Yes, XM customers are finally getting Howard — and the NFL should have broad interest — but that’s about it. Notice something missing here? XM is apparently not ready to give up its MLB exclusivity. Then again, Sirius XM may have left it out for now just because the offering seems lopsided already.

On the hardware front, Sirius is introducing the Starmate 5, which would be the first radio to support a la carte selection of channels from the the service as well as the “Best of XM” option. Priced at $129.99, the radio includes the car kit.

It will be available through Best Buy, Crutchfield, RadioShack and regional retailers immediately, according to the company.

Features include the capability to pause, rewind, and fast forward through up to 44 minutes of live radio, up to 30 presets, and the capability to be alerted when an artist, song, or sports team is on the service.

There hasn’t been anything said as yet on a similar radio for the XM service, although we’re in the October timeframe that Sirus XM has given for the debut of these radios.



  1. Dave Mackey October 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm #

    I have been an XM junkie for almost three years now. It’s in my house, factory installed in both our cars (my Toyota convertible and my wife’s Honda minivan), and soon to be in my toolshed as soon as I can get electric run out there. I didn’t pick XM over Sirius – Bob gave me a radio one Christmas and that was an XM. I came to like XM’s offerings and I guess he picked it because XM has baseball which is my big sports passion. I’m not the least bit interested in Howard Stern, but would probably like some of those Sirius goodies like the NFL and NASCAR… wondering when we can get them on our existing XM rigs?

    I think as time goes on, you’re also likely to see more shows “networked” between a channel on XM and a channel on Sirius. The first such show is “Mad Dog Unleashed”, the sports show with Chris Russo that runs weekdays on Sirius 126 and XM 144. That idea I like.

  2. John Fleming October 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Uh, when did Sirius LOSE the NBA? Was it over the summer? And why didn’t we get informed of this? ALSO, Sirius has an OBLIGATION to make MLB available immediately as many of the Sirius personalities were practically PROMISING that MLB would be included as an option for Sirius.

  3. DJ October 3, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    Do a little research first…

    Question: Why isn’t the MLB on the Best of XM package for Sirius subscribers?

    Answer: We would have liked to provided the MLB for our Sirius subscribers, but have not reached an agreement at this time. We continue to be hopeful that the MLB will be part of the package in the future.

  4. jeff October 7, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    I have sirius since 2003. I love the current selection i have offered to me. I also have a xm radio but its not activated. the sirius is.

    I can do with out the oprah channel. but i find the XMX channel to be missing. If it was offerd i would get it then.

    If i had XM then i would get the best of sirius in a heat beat. (Howard Stern rules).

    Finally I don’t care one bit for baseball.

  5. Brian October 7, 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    boy what a pack of lies I read many times we subscribers could get both xm and sirius (music channels and all) for 16.99 now I see its xms best which is not even a 1/4 of what they offer which I have no interest in.
    And did they take NBA from sirius????????

  6. peter A October 10, 2008 at 8:59 am #

    Please answer the question regarding the NBA. The NBA has previously been available exclusively on Sirius. NOW, a Siruis subscriber must purchase the “best of XM” in order to get the level of service previosly provided by Sirius. Thus, there has clearly been a reduction in service. The Company has licensing rights to the NBA and has appearantly decided to entice Sirius subscribers to pay extra to get what they previously enjoyed at the basic fee. SHAMEFUL practices. Well, it didn’t take long for the company to start the squeeze. I quess the critics were right. Someone pleas inform Howard we were all duped.

  7. Will November 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm #

    The fact that a la carte only works on the new radio is absolutely BS. If they can block channels for the family friendly packages and add extra channels for XM to Sirius so they can make more money off of us they can give a la carte to existing subscribers.

  8. Dansch April 23, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    Question: Why isn’t the MLB on the Best of XM package for Sirius subscribers?

    Answer: We would have liked to provided the MLB for our Sirius subscribers, but have not reached an agreement at this time. At MLB we are all about gouging our customers and angering fans whenever possible. Please be patient while we figure out how best to screw up this deal while extracting as much money as possible from everyone involved. Thanks for your support. – Bud

  9. 5 minute membership November 1, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    great site full of great info


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