In this guest post, Scott Spiegel shares his thoughts on the state of Sirius XM hardware.
One of the most exciting prospects of the SiriusXM merger was that subscribers would get the incredible service that is Sirius… combined with the far superior equipment that XM had been offering for years. This has happened, but unfortunately, in the half-year since approval was finally given, all we’ve gotten from the newly merged company is ONE interoperable device. I’m not even really sure why anyone would ever need an interoperable device, seeing that anyone can get the “best of” packages from each service.
Even beyond that, it’s disappointing that over a year ago, a friend showed me a Garmin GPS that he’d bought that doubled as his XM receiver. It was clunky with it’s menu, but it worked decently. Since then, there hasn’t been any advancement. The in-dash Kenwood receiver I bought last week has an IPod adapter, a USB port, a DVD player, and capabilities to receive live TV. Despite all these features, one aspect is severely lacking… the Sirius operating system is awful. It won’t pause, it doesn’t save favorite artists/songs, and the navigation of channels is not the least bit user-friendly. Of course, poor software on a Kenwood receiver isn’t necessarily the company’s fault, but with all the competition for audio entertainment out there, I find it ridiculous that SiriusXM doesn’t mandate that every piece of equipment sold, have each of the previously mentioned features, plus more.
Inside the 36th and 37th floors of the McGraw-Hill building in New York (Sirius’ NYC headquarters), the offices are filled with people with a true passion for providing the best possible radio for subscribers. Most employees are underpaid and work long hours, but they do so happily because they would give anything to see it succeed. My worry is that the longer SiriusXM goes without knock your socks off equipment, the less likely employees will be able to keep up with the heavy workload. What’s the point of all the sacrifice if they begin to feel that the service is no longer superior.
A soon-to-be-released IPhone application is a small step in the right direction, but it’s nowhere near the giant leap needed to lure new customers. Gear that doesn’t cut short on the coolness factor is what will entice new people to subscribe. SiriusXM should partner with innovative companies that can integrate all of the best features into future receivers. Money should be spent on research and development of this new equipment rather than on signing C-list celebrities like Bobby Flay to program their own channels.
Scott Spiegel is a freelance writer based out of Houston, you can learn more about him at Scottyspiegel.com