Subscribers to Combined XM and Sirius Face Confusing Choices

Approval will give rise to more choices and new gear for fans of satellite radio.


Satellite Radio fans will get a lot more choice out of the merged XM and Sirius. Maybe too much, at least initially. The combined companies will be getting creative, partly out of pressure from regulators and partly in trying to broaden their appeal.

Consumers will get to assemble packages of channels for different prices as the companies pledged to offer "a la carte" choices. At the same time, the companies will be combining their offerings, apparently in phases. And all of this will require new hardware, also apparently coming in phases.

Satellite radio offers appealing content, and the changes could attract new subscribers. But it's clear there will be confusion and pain in the transition. All this while there is fast-growing competition for the dashboards where XM and Sirius do most of their business.