Jun 01 AT 1:17 PM Eric Weiss 19 Comments

SIRIUS XM Online: Baba phooey

I have been a SIRIUS XM subscriber since Howard Stern joined the satellite radio provider. It is a great service, providing commercial free music and talk channels with less commercials than you would find on terrestrial radio for a monthly fee. For roughly three bucks more a month you can listen over the internet which saved my sanity when I was working at a tedious desk job. (The internet service is available as a stand alone subscription as well).

I was very excited to hear a few weeks ago that SIRIUS XM was working on an Android app. Last night I received the email to download the app and I installed it immediately.

The app, which is only for the Nexus One and Droid is very solid. One quirk I noticed right away though: the icon says “SIRIUS XM” on it so they only titled it “Online” which makes it unintuitive to find in your apps tray.

After installing the app I tried to create an online username associated with my account via the account management page on the website. No dice, it’s just not taking. After 30 minutes on hold and a few minutes with an operator we get it working. It takes about 2 minutes to do a one time data download and I was listening to Sirius XM. It comes through crisp and plenty loud. Changing channels is quick and there is a status bar icon that you can pull down when you are not in the app to see what channel you are on and what song and artist is playing.

Unfortunately I quickly discovered that the two Howard Stern channels are not available despite their availability on the PC. Dealbreaker #1 for me.

Then I decide to try it in my car as I run some errands. Nothing. Despite SIRIUS XM stating that it does work on mobile carrier’s networks I have been unable to get it to work for 2 days. This has also been confirmed by a number of other users. Dealbreaker #2.

If you are already a SIRIUS XM subscriber this is not worth the three extra dollars a month until they fix the mobile network issue. If you haven’t felt the need for SIRIUS XM in your life though this probably isn’t going to change your mind but there is a 7 day free trial if you download the app (just make sure to cancel before day 7, on day 8 they start charging you). If you are an internet subscriber already and thus have no additional cost, you might as well play around with it.

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  • http://Website steve

    if you dont have a current XM account it is $13 a month. this is way overpriced for such a limited selection of stations.

  • Dave K

    I signed up for a trial about a week ago, and their website doesn’t work in Chrome at all. That’s one of my own dealbreakers.

  • http://Website mikeybruises

    I haven’t had any problems with Verizon network. I was an XM user years back. I was excited when I heard about this app. After using it I still would not subscribe because there just anything really special they offer. I like the cable news but its just not wourth forking over 3 bucks a month when I can listen Pandora, Lastfm or Slacker for free and skip songs I don’t want to hear.

  • http://Website Chris Jones

    I’ve been listening on my Droid since Friday, using only the 3G service and it’s worked very well. Every 15 minutes or so there might be a 5-10 second break/gap, which may be caused by the weak signal in my office. But other than that, it’s been as solid as listening to XM in one of my cars. I’ve been an XM subscriber for I guess 5 years now and what bothers me is that Online access used to be included in the subscription cost…not this $2.99 add-on fee we have now. Still undecided if I’ll keep it since Pandora and other free options are just as available, reliable, and ultimately more customizable for music (95% of my listening preferences).

    • http://txhoudini.com Eric Weiss

      Interesting… You are the first person I have heard who has been able to get it to work on 3G. More weirdness to ask SIRIUS XM about. Thanks for the info.

      • http://Website Pax

        I have had no issues what so ever since the app came out. I am on T-Mobile using it on a Nexus 1. My question to you though is, why no Stern is a deal breaker for you?..what does he have to offer?. He is a waste of time..

  • http://Website brendanl79

    No Wx/traffic stations either – so this app is effectively just another Pandora like mikey said. booo!!!

  • http://Website Brad

    I downloaded it for my Sprint Hero (upgraded to the official 2.1 release) as soon as I got the email from XM. It works just fine over the Sprint 3G network in Columbus, OH. As for the stern part, that is not an issue for me. I can listen to O&A on the Virus on the XM Android app, which I prefer over stern any day.

  • http://Website Cecilia

    Yup, $3 isn’t really worth it when you look at the connectivity issues. I have a mt3g 1.6 and was able to run it on 2g (edge), 3g, and wifi. Most of the time I’m on 2g due to locations, of course, so I can only give my 2 cents on that. “service temporarily unavailable, please try again later”. why pay $3 for that statement?

    either way you connect, in my opinion, it’s not worth $3.

  • http://Website Trina

    App works on my Samsung Moment with 2.1. The issue with Howard is he has not given permission to let Sirius stream his shows. Same with NASCAR.

    • http://txhoudini.com Eric Weiss

      Sports always have licencing issues when moving to a new medium/delivery method. My issue is that Howard Stern is available streaming on my PC but not through this app.

      • http://Website TF

        That’s because it isn’t in his contract, same with sports in general. He’s talked about it several times on his show when the iPhone app was released and how he wants it to be out there… but since the contract talks are pretty much going nowhere, I think that says it all on why it’s missing…

  • http://Website Sigmaâ„¢

    Well I’m listening to it as we blog on my cliq and its working perfectly fine. The name updates are quick and accurate, even in the listings.

  • http://Website Munk24

    works great on my Droid, even when Im driving, which I dont need because I already have it in the car. a keeper for me.

  • http://Website Pavel

    Just installed and rebooted my N1 but the XM app still doesn’t work. I get some data error which is BS because I can stream from Xiialive no problem.

    • http://Website pax

      how do you get it to work on “droidlive” or “xiialive” apps?
      I use the Sirius app and works fine, but am wondering how you configure it with those 2 apps?

  • http://txhoudini.com Eric Weiss

    Well it looks like I should have worded that differently: “The app, which is only for the Nexus One and Droid is very solid” should have been “The app, which is officially only for the Nexus One and Droid (but users are reporting it works on many other devices) is very solid”. Thanks for the info guys.

  • http://ronfez.net Aaron

    The levels are messed up on the app. Inactivity timer is bullshit if you listen to shows that are over 2 hours. I STILL use Droidlive to listen to OnA. The levels are a lot better than the shitty xm app.

  • http://Website Drew

    I’ve been trying to debug this app since release on the tmo network, reading the comments it further cements my theory that it’s an issue with the app not recognizing gsm radios properly since it’s working on both Sprint and Verzions CDMA networks.