How Much Does Satellite Radio Cost?
For the first time, listeners will no longer have free radio if they want to hear the channels offered by XM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. In the past, anyone wanting to hear the radio needed to only buy the receiver, and there were plenty of free radio stations to listen to. Now listeners have the option to pay a subscription fee and no longer have to listen to commercials.
To listen to satellite radio, there are two types of costs to consider: the cost of the equipment and the cost of the subscription.
The equipment needed will depend on the format you choose:
Plug and Play:
One of the most common formats is 'plug and play'. In this set-up you will purchase a portable receiver which uses your home or car audio system for completing the configuration. You then purchase a home installation kit and a car installation kit. You will plug your receiver into either docking station to listen to the radio.
A 'plug and play' receiver costs from $100 - $150 and is available from multiple manufacturers. The installation kits for your home or car cost around $40 - $75. Professional installation for your car - which is recommended - can run another $85 - $100.
Another option with a 'plug and play' receiver is to purchase a boombox kit. The portable receiver plugs into this unit to complete a boombox format. These kits cost around $100.
If you are interested in only having the satellite radio service in your home, you can purchase a home satellite receiver component that works with your home audio system. These units, also available from multiple manufacturers, cost anywhere from $240 - $700.
Personal Satellite Radio:
If you are looking for a compact, complete system, you can get a unit for XM Radio for around $350. And there are boombox satellite radios with a built in receiver for around $170.
Car Satellite Radios:
For your vehicle, you can add onto your existing audio system with a head unit, or purchase a completely new radio which has satellite capability. There are many systems to choose from, and will cost around $150 - $200 for a head unit, $200 and up for a satellite ready radio (which requires an additional tuner), and $350 and up for a radio with the tuner built-in.
Check out our Cost of Equipment section for more details and some specific systems that are currently available.
The cost of subscribing to a satellite radio service includes an activation fee and a monthly fee.
The activation fees are around $15/radio by phone and $10/radio if done online.
The monthly fees currently cost $12.95/month for Sirius Satellite radio as well as for XM Radio. There are several different plans offered by both services, including discounts for annual plans, lower fees for additional radios, premium channels, and even satellite radio for businesses.
Check out our section on Cost of Subscribing for more details.