Saturday, December 03, 2005

Nice (Wide-Open) Backdoor for XM Radio Listening While Online via AOL!

I was hoping last month that DirecTV would be able to arrange for its subscribers to gain access to XM Radio via an internet connection versus adding (or buying new equipment for) the XM Radio service that may not be fully needed away from home initially.
I have been wanting to listen to the XM Radio programming online while my daughters look at their favorite children's programming onDirecTV .
Today I discovered a way to obtain XM Radio online and I checked the playlist in real-time for a couple of channels and discovered that the programming is indeed the same.
The way to listen to selected (not every) XM Radio channels while connected to the internet is to do it through AOL.
AOL recently opened its network to mimic Google and Yahoo! by not making its service 100% exclusive and members-only.
We had cancelled our AOL service years ago after outgrowing it and not finding a suitable pricing plan (the bring your own access for 5 hours did not make sense either) when we had another internet service provider and/or broadband DSL service.
But I have discovered that you can register for the AIM (AOL's Instant Messenger) and obtain an user ID (screen name) and password that will allow you to have access to the vast multitude of AOL's services.  You can even re-energize your old screen name if you remember your password.
Now you will not be able to listen to all of XM Radio's offerings, but at least you will be able to listen while online to a significant percentage of the channels as well as several XM Radio channels not currently available via DirecTV.
But if you want to listen to virtually every (if not all since we do not subscribe to XM Radio or have taken the time to compare the listings) XM Radio channel, then subscribe to AOL and you will indeed be open for business!
Right now this availability increases the value of AOL to me and if there was a suitable pricing plan that would not be time based (or restricted to  5 hours on the bring your own access plan), resubscribing to AOL might be a good idea.
Otherwise, XM Radio is going to need to reduce and/or eliminate its prices on its equipment and live instead with the revenues of the monthly subscriptions.  I also recommend that TiVo do the same, but since they appear to be on the verge of being acquired by either Yahoo!, Google, Live365, or even News Corporation (combining TiVo with MySpace would create social networking on crack and steroids at warp speed) possibly, I doubt that TiVo will give up any revenue due to hardware sales.
Check out your new options with XM Radio and let me know how it goes!

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