June 18, 2009

Sirius for iPhone Solves a Problem I Don't Have

Ever since I rented an Audi in 2007 while traveling that came with satellite radio preinstalled, I have been smitten with the idea of Sirius Radio, and specifically, the station Area, a great Dance and Electronic station featuring some of my favorite DJs, including Paul van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold. As my last car started to die, I always imagined my next upgrade would include Sirius Radio, letting me get crystal-clear music no matter where I drove.

As you already know, I got my next car after all, and it didn't come with Sirius Radio. So I've been holding out for the company's iPhone application to debut. I now had this fantasy of using the line-in feature to my car, streaming satellite radio through the iPhone and essentially reproducing the experience. That I already have thousands and thousands of songs in my iTunes library was really not an issue - for the geek in me wanted it anyway.

Browsing Sirius Radio on my iPhone

Last night, following the release of the iPhone's 3.0 software, I picked up the Sirius Radio application, registered for a seven day trial, and practically ever since, I've been hooked into the station Area. No commercials and outstanding music. I've had my headphones cranked up when at home, and I even hooked up Area when I have been at the office, preferring good music to being on the phone or engaging with co-workers.

But, surprisingly, I couldn't get Sirius to connect when I was driving, as I toggled back from Edge or 3G on AT&T's network. The one place I thought I could really use Sirius radio, so far, has been a complete zero, saying it was unable to connect.

If Only I Could Pay for Just This Station...

Given I already have days and days and days of music to catch up on, which is already at my fingertips at home or at the office, with my laptop, and also given that I can play this music in the car whenever I want, Sirius' offer fits a very small niche that I would have to work very hard to justify. And while others are complaining that Sirius has not preloaded the app with shock jock Howard Stern or some of its sports coverage, I don't care for Stern, and can get all my MLB games, in audio, using the MLB application for the iPhone.

I admit I love the station Area. Part of me wants to close my eyes and hand over the credit card, paying $12 or so a month to get that station alone - and just maybe I will, if I can get it to connect to the car consistently. But realistically, the debut of Sirius radio for a platform that already has formidable competitors in Last.fm and Pandora, not to mention my own bloated music library, is a tough one. Only if I feel a nagging itch to throw away more money on my music will this happen, and if I ever get too loopy, there's always the option provided to me by Apple of updating my entire library to iTunes Plus for about $400.

So for the next 6 or so days, I will crank up Area. And when that free trial ends, something dramatic will have to have happened to get me to do more than just uninstall. (See Also: Sirius Radio Now Looks Like an Outer Space WebVan)

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