The Day the Music Died

Oh I'm in pain. My poor Sirius Satellite Radio finally bit the dust. It lived a good life. For the past three
years it has been my constant buddy. My Audiovox SIRPNP2 plug & play unit travelled with me from my car to my desk
at work and back again, dutifully providing me with tunes to help the day / drive go by. Unfortunately, three years
of constant (and I mean CONSTANT) use finally caught up with it. I got in my car the other morning to come to
work, and as is my habit, snapped the radio into my car dock. It glowed the friendly orange Sirius Dog icon back at
me as I backed out of the driveway and hit the road. When I got to the main street, I felt that it was strangely
quiet in my car. I glanced at the radio and noticed it was still on that same screen. Usually, the dog icon is up
for a second as the radio boot, and a moment later the music kicks in along with the display of the title, artist,
and stream information. This time it just stayed on the icon. Hmmmm.... I powered down the unit and powered again.
Same thing. I hit the menu button and found it displayed the settings menu, but nothing seemed to be wrong there.
That's when I hit the Sirius ID menu which displays the unit's unique ID (and acts as my account). Rather than
displaying my ESN, it was blank! My device had amnesia of the worst kind. Without the ID, it couldn't decode
the music stream, which meant my little beat box was done.

The warranty had long since expired, so when I got to work I decided to pry it open and see if I could get
some more life out of it. Maybe a cable was loose, or a solder joint had broken. I couldn't find anything wrong
though, so I pieced it back together and docked it. Woohoo, after power on it started playing again. I must have
bumped something back into the right position. That afternoon I brought some lunch home to the family. Unfortunately,
the radio didn't survive the trip from my desk to the car this time. Upon docking it in my car, the same behavior
as I had seen that morning. Still, I held out hope. Perhaps it was just an issue with the dock. When I got back to
work I was disappointed that even in the home docking kit, the unit was still taking a dirt nap. I tried the
open heart surgery approach again, but it failed this time. :-(

I took a look at the current Sirius equipment available that can go from car to home. Unfortunately, none of the
newer equipment can use my same docking stations. That means that if I want to replace my radio, I have to replace
the two docks as well. Usually a radio will come with a car kit, but the home kit is extra. If I wanted to replace
my unit with the modern equivalent, it would be $150 for the car kit and radio, plus another $50 for the home kit.
That's $200 we don't have right now. We just got hit with a shocker from our medical insurance (we've exhausted our
wellness benefit for the year, which is what covers our innoculations for Samantha) and we want to have a nice
Christmas, so we're pinching pennies as is. Not that we're hurting, we're just trying to keep expenses to a minimum,
and this is a fairly big unplanned expense. There's a new Sirius radio out called the Stilletto 100 which acts as
both an MP3 player and a Sirius Tuner. It's being called wearable, as it's about the size of an iPod with the
antenna built right in. That would be an awesome upgrade, but the cost is frightening: $350. Maybe it will go
on my Christmas list.

So I was left with a tough decision. Eat the expense to replace my radio, or cancel my account. I decided to
cancel my account. It wasn't an easy decision either, as I LOVE my Sirius radio. I called the customer service line
and let them know what was going on. They offered to give me a different radio for free. There is a "Sirius ONE"
radio which is a car only unit. It's pretty vanilla, offering a single line of text, and it is meant for the car
only. If I get a new radio, I want one that goes from the car to my desk. Even if the new one is free (which is
a really great offer) it didn't really pique my interest. The free tuner offer still stands for the next 30 days,
so I might change my mind, but as of today I am no longer a Sirius subscriber.


Sam said...

I personally am part of the iPod crowd. I've got one of the iPod video 30G, with the Apple care plan and a few other extras it cost more than $350 (I got it last xmas when it cost $300).

The best part is the audiobooks. I've got an account and the books on tape definately help me when I have to brave the SoCal traffic.

Anonymous said...

I agree that satelite radio is the best, but I have a XM and I love it, they also have a MP3 unit out and I believe that it is cheaper than the Sirrus system and I have heard that the sirrus system is a recorded 3 hours of music not live music. And in time XM will take over the market, so it would be in your best interest to purchase a XM unit, and also once you are a subscriber you are able to listen to the music on your PC ( only XM channels) but they are the best channels anyway.

Jade Mason