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Because all channels are free from FCC content regulation, songs are played unedited for language; talk programs may also feature explicit content if they wish. Sirius announced it had achieved its first positive cash flow quarter for the period ending December Sirius launched its radio service in four states on February 14, , expanding service to the rest of the contiguous U. On October 16, , Sirius announced that it would be launching Sirius Internet Radio, with 78 of its channels being available worldwide on the internet to any of its subscribers with a valid user name and password.
Six months later, in November , Rogers Wireless co-founder David Margolese, who had provided financial backing for the venture, acquired control of the company and succeeded Briskman. In November , Marketing chief Ira Bahr convinced Margolese to again change the name of the company, this time to Sirius Satellite Radio, in order to avoid association with the soon-to-be-outdated CD technology. He remained chairman until July On March 24, , the U. Department of Justice approved the merger of Sirius and XM.
In the wake of the announcement of his pending departure, Stern complained that Infinity Broadcasting was making his departure more acrimonious than was necessary. The deal, which gave Sirius exclusive rights to Stern's radio show, also gave Stern the right to build three full-time programming channels. His audience had grown almost tenfold by the end of his second year on Sirius, from fewer than , subscribers to 6 million see graph on the right.
Stern now has two channels operating on Sirius, but still retains the right to a third. A major component of Sirius's business strategy is to execute exclusive deals with big-name entertainers and personalities to create and build broadcast streams from the ground up. Van Zandt was the first major musician recruited by Sirius or XM to create branded music channels, and he has created two distinct stations for Sirius: Within each category there are multiple channels presenting a wide variety of subgenres.
The vast majority of the Company's programming is self-produced exclusively for Sirius. Howard Stern had worked under Karmazin at Infinity Radio, and the two appeared to hold one another in mutual respect.
In December , Sirius announced a multi-year deal with the NBA, which made the satellite radio company the broadcaster of more live NBA games than any other radio outlet. It was replaced by Sporting News Radio. Sirius has also been aggressive in creating its own in-house produced studio sports radio content.
Sirius also has the only national Horse racing talk show, At the Races , hosted by noted racing handicapper, Steve Byk. The show which airs weekdays between 4 and 7, is unique in the horseracing world. The Hardcore Poker Show , Wednesday night at 8 p. Sirius also broadcasts select Premier League matches which generally air on Saturday and Sunday Mornings during the season, but there are occasional games on weekday afternoons.
Continuing their major expansion of soccer coverage, Sirius announced a deal to add UEFA Champions League soccer to their lineup on September 27, As of recently Sirius also had exclusive radio rights to broadcast the ESPN television feed of the Euro championships.
On Saturdays and Sundays during premier league season, Sirius airs Radio , a classic radio call-in show from the UK discussing all of the days top matches. The SDARS delivery platform, on the other hand, is more reliable than any of the other services in that it is not subject to satellite dish rain fade.
The highly elliptical orbit of the Sirius satellite constellation can pose difficulties for the reliable delivery of the signal to stationary antennas in certain parts of the country. To eliminate this potential problem, Sirius launched a new geostationary satellite , FM-5, to improve service to non-mobile customers such as those of SiriusXM for Business. Additionally, Sirius is applying for repeaters in Hawaii and Alaska and has already been granted authority for 20 repeaters covering the island of Puerto Rico by the Federal Communications Commission FCC.
In March , Sirius announced the upcoming availability of its first video service called "Backseat TV". The service includes streaming video from three "family" television channels: There will be a single screen or a dual screen option in the Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan for back seat passengers to watch while front seat passengers have the option of simultaneously listening to any normal Sirius radio channel. Both were made available in the fourth quarter of In August Sirius abruptly dropped BBC Radio 1 leading to thousands of angry customers, as evidenced by the facebook groups that soon emerged.
The deal with NPR was the first high-profile deal entered into by Sirius. Iceberg Radio is programmed by Standard Broadcasting , which also provides a number of additional channels exclusive to Canada; the other four come from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After a delay and outcry from Canadian subscribers, Sirius Canada added Howard Stern's Channel to their lineup in early Channel , Stern's other channel featuring Bubba the Love Sponge , Scott Ferrall , and other personalities , were made available in late June The service also added Fox's satellite talk radio channel, Fox News Talk.
In addition to the audio programming, the Sirius broadcast stream also carries a Data Services channel that is utilized by capable receivers and graphical display hardware. Some of the data services offered are traffic speed and flow, marine weather, and fuel prices to name just a few.
The Sirius signal is separated into three carriers, one each for the two satellites, and the third for the terrestrial repeater network where available. There is an intentional four-second delay between the two satellite carrier signals. This enables the receiver to maintain a large buffer of the audio stream, which, along with forward error correction , helps keep the audio playing in the event that the signal is temporarily lost, such as when driving under an overpass or otherwise losing line-of-sight of any of the satellites or ground repeater stations.
This third signal is broadcast on a third segment of the signal. The technology for Sirius Satellite Radio receivers as well as some of the uplink equipment, and the studio encoder, originated at Bell Labs in the late s and subsequent years. The studio encoder was a result of Bell Labs efforts in statistical multiplexing of perceptual audio coded signals, a cousin of the MP3 standards.
The waveform design for the terrestrial and satellite signals, as well as the early prototype receivers, were implemented in a FPGA logic and tested in the field to verify the performance of the receivers. Early prototypes were followed by a number of generations of ASIC custom designed chipsets, supplied at first by Agere Systems and later supplied by Agere Systems and their competitor ST microelectronics.
Three signals from three different sources satellite, satellite, and terrestrial are therefore combined in the receiver as radio signals, not as audio signals.
The three signals need to be combined constructively avoiding situations where bad signals pollute good signals in the receiver before being decoded. Heavy error correction is applied to the signals. All three signals contain the same audio content on all the channels that the receiver can receive, with the exception of one audio program waveform being transmitted ahead of the other two by approximately four seconds.
With this time skew, the signals, once realigned, need to see an 8-second obstruction of overpass fade in order to lose audio content. This increases the robustness of the signal delivery in most driving conditions. In order to recover meaningful signal and error free audio from a signal impaired by interference and fading, the receiver uses concatenated Reed-Solomon block coding and Forward Error Correction encoding and decoding codec.
This technique was proven in the early days of satellite modems in the late s. Linkabit, then run by Irwin Jacobs prior to his involvement with Qualcomm, offered such a codec for rack mounting in satellite earth stations. The Sirius signal uses more robust error correction on control channels than on the audio content, trading off error correction and bandwidth differently for separate categories of bits in the signal waveform.
A number of transmitters can be placed around a city to create coverage that is less subject to fading than if a single transmitter were used. The satellite signal is QPSK. Both satellite and terrestrial signals have hierarchical modulation superposed on the original signal, a measure created to add bandwidth at a small expense in the satellite link budget for decoding the core audio content.
This architecture has worked remarkably well in avoiding drop out of audio signal when driving under highway overpasses, and when scintillating very deep and frequent losses in signal strength caused by radio fading from trees conditions exist.
Since Sirius and XM separately entered the market with incompatible waveforms on the satellite, one would logically conclude that the merged company will eventually evolve the signal format again to take advantage of their size, but this is a speculative statement. The use of satellite and terrestrial combined service has been adopted by the DVB-SH standard, and companies such as ICO communications who cooperated with Alcatel-Lucent on system design and field trials.
The receiver is designed to mitigate and retain signal quality in hostile signal conditions and the relatively weak signal levels from distant satellites. Because the satellites are not all geostationary they appear and disappear over the horizon. Terrestrial signals are present only in major cities to augment the satellite signals.
Approximately five chipset versions were built by Agere and approximately 4 versions were built by STMicroelectronics after the initial prototypes, although all of the early receivers included an Agere chipset known as Northstar. This platform enjoyed the highest volume of chipsets to date, representing the bulk of total production from to As of , most of the chipsets are produced by STMicroelectronics.
Another major section of a Sirius receiver is the tuner. The tuner connects to the antenna, and receives the incoming satellite and terrestrial signals at 2. The IF signals are fed to the STA, which are digitized, demodulated, error-corrected, de-interleaved, and decrypted using specialized circuits on the chip. The baseband processor utilizes a 16 MB SDRAM memory to buffer four seconds of one of the satellite signals in order to bring it into time coincidence with the other for Maximal-ratio combining.
On newer receivers with a "pause" feature, a dual-port PSRAM is employed to store up to 60 minutes of the selected channel. The front-end of a Sirius receiver is called the head unit , required to display descriptive text such as the category, channel, artist, and song name and provide controls to the user.
This is implemented by the third-party designers of Sirius-ready receivers, using a microprocessor of their choice. Sirius offers car radios and home entertainment systems, as well as car and home kits for portable use.
The Sirius receiver includes the antenna module and the receiver module. The antenna module picks up signals from the ground repeaters or the satellite, amplifies the signal and filters out any interference. The signal is then passed on to the receiver module. Inside the receiver module is a chipset consisting of eight chips.
The chipset converts the signals from 2. Sirius also offers an adapter that allows conventional car radios to receive satellite signals. Sirius broadcasts using Audio channels are digitally compressed using a proprietary variant of Lucent 's Perceptual audio coder compression algorithm and encrypted with a proprietary conditional access system.
Each receiver must be connected to an external antenna, which is included with the receiver. Antenna placement is crucial to receiving a clear signal.