A brief review of XM Radio Online

arts and entertainment

So I just signed up for a free 30-day trial subscription to XM Radio online. What can I say… I’m a sucker for all the online music stuff (having tried Napster, Rhapsody, Virgin Digital, Wal-Mart, iTunes, and probably a dozen other services…)

Alas, XM Radio is simply not worth your time if you plan on only using the online component. If you’re interested in listening to music while away from your computer (like I suppose some non-geeks may actually do :D), it may be better. Here’s why it’s not an optimum online solution:

  • Streaming at either 32kbps or 64kbps?! You’ve got to be kidding. As you can guess, the sound quality is sub-par.
  • Buffering when switching to new channels is longer than on many other services… with even occasional breakups in the middle of songs on my screaming system with fast broadband.
  • No way to skip over songs you don’t like.

There are a couple of good aspects:

  • Lots of channels to choose from.
  • You can see what’s playing on any channel at any given moment.

As suggested above, if you’re looking to augment the music you get in your car, XM (car) Radio + XM Online might be a winning combo. But for me… I’ll stick with NPR during my commute and better online radio offerings when I’m home.

3 comments… add one
  • Eddie Jun 14, 2005

    I have XM radio in my car and I was “forced” to subscribe to their online service. They basically increased the subscription fee and bundeled it with the online radio. Alas, my employer has blocked all streaming audio (including XM radio online), so I do not use XM online radio as much as I use it in my car.

  • Thanks for the mini-review 😀 I think I’ll stick with last.fm for now….

    —Ryan.

  • Last.fm!  It rocks and I would never consider listening to anything else while I am at my computer.  You get to design your own radio station to play only the music you like.

    —Ryan.