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.