By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
SiriusXM is looking to apps, advanced functionality and updated devices to keep ahead of the curve in providing its satellite radio content to more users. With innovative apps that can turn recent Android and iOS smartphones and tablets into WiFi satellite radios for home and office, plus a new Lynx device that takes the best of satellite and WiFi radio slated for release in October.
I attended the SiriusXM Canada press event earlier today where I got to see some of the new developments in satellite radio apps for Android and iOS, some of the new buffering and storage functionality on these apps as well as a peek at the new Lynx player.
Since Sirius and XM merged in 2011, the resulting company has been bullish on innovation. Looking to maintain their dominance of the satellite radio field as well as counter rising competition from Internet radio stations and apps, SiriusXM has proacively looked to define their space.
The new SiriusXM apps for iOS and Android will transform tablets and smartphones into smart radio terminals that access SiriusXM content via WiFi.
The updated SiriusXM Internet Radio online player and Apps feature a new design that gives customers access to album art and artist biographies, adding information and depth to the SiriusXM music experience and enhancing the visual appearance on smartphones and tablets.
SiriusXM subscribers will need to pay an additional monthly fee of $4.00 to access the service from a smartphone or tablet using the Internet Radio App
On Demand, powered by the cloud
SiriusXM has introduced On Demand functionality as part of its new Internet Radio service. SiriusXM On Demand offers access to more than 200 shows, including exclusive talk and entertainment, comedy, sports and commercial-free music. Technical updates in the SiriusXM Internet Radio App also include improved audio quality and performance on cellular networks.
Demoed at the event earlier today by Bruce Robertson, Director, Product Management at Sirius XM Radio Canada was how SiriusXM is able to buffer up to five hours of content from their shows. So users don't just catch a show, they have the freedom of scrubbing to the beginning of the program.
Robertson also showed us TuneSmart, a feature that allows users who find a song they like to have it play from the beginning. In traditional satellite or even regular radio if you catch a song midway your only option is to listen to what is left of the song. TuneSmart makes it possible to go back and listen to the song from the beginning.
In order to manage all this content, SiriusXM has invested in server space and cloud solutions which can power their mobile apps.
SirisuXM also announced the introduction of its new "Best Of" subscription packages for SiriusXM listeners across the country. With the availability of Best Of programming from both the Sirius and XM platforms, SiriusXM will provide subscribers with more content, more control and a better listening experience. Beginning October 1, and for the first time ever, Sirius subscribers will be able to add premium XM content such as NHL, NBA, Opie & Anthony and the PGA while XM subscribers will be able to add premium Sirius content including Howard Stern, NASCAR, NFL games and more.
"With the launch of our Best Of programming, SiriusXM subscribers will now be able to access premium content from both Sirius and XM platforms," said Mark Redmond, President and CEO, SiriusXM Canada Inc. "Our combined subscriber base has been waiting for this exciting benefit since the SiriusXM Canada merger and we're excited to be able to offer the best of both services with Premier programming. This new offering will significantly enhance and extend our subscribers' entertainment experience."
Sirius and XM Premier subscriptions will be available at a monthly cost of $19.99, which is only $4.00 more than the cost of a monthly subscription to one of the services.
Aside from the Android and iOS apps, SiriusXM also has a web Interface for users who don't have a tablet or a smartphone. Stay tuned for an upcoming review of the SiriusXM. In the meantime, the service is available for a free 30-day trial.