Corporate headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Date of launch: November 12, 2001
Satellites in service: 3
Available satellite radio channels:150
Monthly subscription cost:$12.95
XM Satellite Radio Inc. is the owner of one of the 2 FCC approved licenses for delivering digital radio in the United States. Since it only shares the field of Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services (SDARS) with Sirius Radio, XM Satellite Radio Inc. has plenty of room to develop and expand. 2001 was the year when XM Satellite Radio Inc. began broadcasting progress was slow at first, but soon after satellite radio began skyrocketing as a social and economical phenomenon. Since it was the first national digital satellite radio service provider, XM Satellite Radio Inc. captured an important share of the market and started offering music programs and other types of shows and channels like talk shows, sports, comedy, science and news. XM Satellite Radio Inc. owns the most impressive digital radio equipment and facilities, boasting over 82 end to end broadcasting studios. The digital radio used by XM Satellite Radio Inc. is encoded using the complex CT-aacPlus technology which is broadcast in 128kb/sec format very close to CD quality. The signal produced by using this technology makes the transmission much clearer and more accurate than any analog radio provider could ever offer. There are no noise disturbances that were often present with FM and AM broadcasts and the transmission is crystal clear. The fact that the signal is received in digital form solves many noise disturbance problems and the output is close in fidelity to the original track.
The XM Satellite Radio Rock and Roll satellites
XM Satellite Radio uses two of the most potent commercial satellites, which are constantly orbiting the Earth at a height of 22 300 miles. The two Boeing HS-702 satellites have some inspired names - "Rock" and "Roll". The first of the two satellites, Rock, was launched in orbit on March 18, 2001 and is currently positioned at 85 degrees West Longitude. It services the western half of the United States and complements the range and area of coverage of its younger brother Roll. Roll was launched on May 8, 2001 and it currently positioned at 115 degrees West Longitude, and it services the eastern part of the United States. The combined coverage of the two satellites spreads beyond US borders and reaches areas like Canada or Mexico. This is an interesting feature of satellite radio, as it further points out the benefit of not having to switch radio stations during long trips or while moving over the border. For emergency purposes, the company has third redundant HS-702 satellite on the ground, ready to replace Rock or Roll if any of them fails. Both satellites use different transmission frequencies which prevents interference.
Using the XM radio transmission
The powerful broadcast signal used in satellite radio means that you only need a small receiver in order to be able to listen to digital radio. These small omni-directional antennas are similar to GPS devices and do not require mechanical pointing in order to receive the signal. Some of the new features of satellite radio refer to the extended broadcast information abilities. XM offers information about the broadcast type, and includes the song title, artist, and genre of music. As a recent improvement, XM radio also started broadcasting weather related news and traffic statuses on their programs. In order to use the XM Radio programming you need a XM Radio receiver, an antenna and a subscription to the XM services. Different music equipment producers have teamed up with XM Radio in order to allow adding XM broadcasting to their already existing devices. Some vehicle manufacturers are also offering XM Radio as a factory installed option.
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