Sirius and XM were the twin faces of satellite radio in the early 2000s, at a time when medium was still a new and unproven concept. In 2008, the services merged with SiriusXM Internet Radio and became a leading streaming service that lets you listen to music, talk and play sports on your PC, smartphone, tablet or device. Internet radio or in a wide range of motor vehicles. SiriusXM has a strong focus on live audio content, and the ease and convenience with which it lets you access the service’s many excellent shows and channels sets the platform apart in a dense streaming audio arena. As a result, SiriusXM Internet Radio is an easy choice among music streaming services.
SiriusXM has a comedic list of subscription plans, more than any other music streaming service we’ve reviewed. The company has tightened its offerings since our last review, but there are still plenty of options available. Its most basic plan, Streaming Platinum, gives you over 350 channels to stream through the app, including original talk shows, sports, Howard Stern channels, Pandora stations, and studio shows and performances from SiriusXM. Streaming Platinum can be used with your smartphone, tablet, Internet radio device, or PC for $ 10.99 per month.
It should be noted that SiriusXM charges more for services that include both app and vehicle listening. For example, Platinum is a similar plan to Streaming Platinum, but it extends the service to cars and vehicles and bumps the price up to $ 22.99 per month. The Music and Entertainment package, previously known as Mostly Music, is a $ 17.99 per month package for listening devices and vehicles that offers slightly fewer channel options.
Beyond the three main plans, SiriusXM offers additional plans and specialty plans, such as Ã la carte, Ã la carte Gold, All-In-One, Family All-In-One and News, Sports & Talk. There’s also Marine for fishing and weather information, Aviation for weather and coast-to-coast satellite flights, and Business for friendly listening. The pricing and feature list for these plans are far too numerous to list here, so take a look at the SiriusXM pricing page for more details.
SiriusXM does not have a free tier, although the company does own Pandora, which offers free offers. Fortunately, SiriusXM has a surprisingly long three-month trial for many of its plans. Keep in mind, however, that you do need a credit card to sign up for a trial, and once the trial ends, you’re automatically signed up for the subscription and billed accordingly (unless you opt out. unsubscribe before the end of the trial). Also keep in mind that there is no real family plan for every SiriusXM subscription. The company offers a family discount for additional registrations, but each account is stand-alone and cannot be shared among multiple members in the same way that many streaming services do, such as Apple Music or Deezer.
SiriusXM content varies depending on your hardware and subscription level. Music and entertainment, for example, gives you access to over 325 channels, over 150 of which can be listened to in your vehicle. You’re missing out on a few goodies overall, such as Howard Stern channels and some sports channels, but the tier is still solid for listening to apps and vehicles.
The leading Platinum, formerly known as All Access, has all of SiriusXM’s offerings, including video performance, sports (ESPN Radio, NBA Radio), news (CNN, Fox), personalized listening to Pandora music, comedies (Comedy Central Radio, Comedy In Color) and online-only channels (Carlin’s Corner, a collection of shows and albums by George Carlin).
Howard Stern is a big name on SiriusXM, but the platform is also home to many other notable people. Kevin Hart yuks with Laugh Out Loud Radio, a collection of Hart specials, shows and dialogue. LL Cool J features an eclectic lineup of hip hop on Rock The Bells Radio, and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo hosts Mad Dog Sports Radio, to name a few.
Simply put, there’s plenty of entertainment in SiriusXM’s many channels, unlike any other streaming audio service. LiveXLive Powered by Slacker Radio, with its informative DJ drops, news updates, historical retrospectives, and video content, does something similar, but on a smaller scale.
If SiriusXM’s live radio hook isn’t enough to grab you already, it does come with a few more interesting elements that enhance the overall experience. TuneStart is a unique and invaluable feature that lets you surf the channels in the smoothest and most seamless way possible and could very easily spoil you for listening on any other platform. As you skip between broadcasts, the TuneStart feature automatically plays songs from the beginning as you slide through the channel. As a result, you almost never skip in the middle of a song unless you tune in at the very end of a track or during a conversation with a DJ. You can turn this feature on and off, but the feature is far too handy to ignore and makes listening subtle, yet deeply, more satisfying.
On a similar note, you can pause and rewind live radio thanks to a robust one-hour buffer and jump up to six times between buffered songs, which is a good idea. In fact, many chat channels offer unlimited hopping. SiriusXM also provides a daily live radio guide, so you can watch upcoming shows. Finally, Favorite Channels have their own dedicated section that shows what’s currently playing, so you can decide if you want to swap and listen. These combined features make SiriusXM a convenient and highly accessible music streaming service.
In terms of sound quality, SiriusXM delivered clear sound in our testing. When we launched Studio 54, which plays some of the best dance tunes of the 1970s, we enjoyed satisfying bass and other low-end sounds that didn’t overwhelm other parts of the track. SiriusXM does not display or publish the bit rates of its streams, but the app uses variable bit rates to provide the best possible sound, given your network conditions. You can switch between Normal, High, and Maximum audio quality settings in web and mobile apps.
The truth is, while SiriusXM has perfectly usable hearing quality, it lacks high-resolution audio, a great music streaming format offered by Amazon Music Unlimited, Tidal, and a few other services. If you want high quality sound, SiriusXM is not the place for it.
If you’re hungry for quality programming and can’t stand the state of traditional radio, check out SiriusXM. With decades of music at your fingertips, along with great shows, sports, lifestyle, political talk and reporting, you won’t want to be entertained. If you prefer high-resolution audio streams, take a look at Amazon Music Unlimited or Tidal. Otherwise, SiriusXM has all the live radio broadcast content you could want.
For more on streaming music services, check out Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify. Also, gamers should check out the best music streaming services for video game soundtracks.