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With Windows 10 Gems!

SiriusXM offers unparalleled audio quality and a platform that allows hosts greater freedom of expression.

SiriusXM


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Satellite radio is an important part of the morning commuting ritual. Sitting in your car, bored out of your mind by traffic… it just screams for a distraction — and there's a reason many people turn to the satisfying hiss-free power of SiriusXM.

Now you can start your day listening to SiriusXM right on your Windows 10 PC, tablet, or laptop, and then continue the experience in your car. The Windows 10 SiriusXM app is now available and is our latest Gem. Does that mean you can get Howard Stern on your Surface? Yes, yes it does.

The go-to radio

Ever since 2007, SiriusXM has been the only true satellite radio experience once the merger between Sirius and XM Radio. The merger brought with it the best of both worlds and a powerhouse offering of 155 channels including the legendary (and controversial) Howard Stern. Indeed, Stern attracts nearly 12 million listeners a week and is considered one of the main draws to SiriusXM (the company recently re-signed him for another five years). He's so famous he gets his very own section, and you could argue that SiriusXM itself is synonymous with the infamous host.

But there is much more to SiriusXM than just Stern.

In the car, SiriusXM offers unparalleled quality compared to terrestrial AM or FM radio. For the talent, it provides a platform that is unregulated and unencumbered by the FCC — SiriusXM and its hosts argue this brings more freedom of expression. The service regularly hosts many controversial political shows that partisan viewers flock to listen to every day.

With a SiriusXM Online Account ($15.99 per month) you can take that experience anywhere. While you could use the SiriusXM website, it still uses a legacy Flash player (shudder), which more and more browsers are abandoning. For example, I prefer to use the Opera browser and SiriusXM is a no-go there thanks to a lack of Flash support. Web apps also require you to keep the browser open and logged in, and let's be honest — they're just clumsy compared to a dedicated app.

The SiriusXM Online package brings you the following features:

  • Listen in Your Car + Online and on the App
  • Commercial-Free Music Channels
  • Exclusive Artist-Dedicated Music Channels
  • Howard Stern
  • 24/7 Comedy Channels
  • News, Talk & Entertainment
  • Every NFL Game
  • Every NASCAR® Race
  • MLB, NBA, and NHL Games

While $15.99 a month may seem expensive, you are paying for ad-free content with no interruptions, plus the vast assortment of highly valued content like live broadcasts of U.S. major league sports.

Besides the live radio aspect, you can also listen to On Demand content as well, including entire back catalogs of many favorite shows. Even more fascinating is the ability to pause a live broadcast in your car only to pick up the same spot in the new Windows 10 app, making sure you never miss a word.

SiriusXM plus Windows 10 is nearly perfect

The SiriusXM app is now available as a free download in the Windows Store for PC, tablets, and laptops. Although the company has not commented if the app is coming to Windows 10 Mobile, the adaptive layout suggests that it very well could. When you shrink the app down to a the size of phone's screen it gracefully reconfigures itself by shifting the menu to the bottom and putting dedicated player controls near the top.

Speaking of the layout, I found the design of SiriusXM for Windows 10 to be excellent. I am not a regular user of the service, so I approached using the app as a complete novice. Logging in was a breeze and navigating the menus was intuitive. The app looks great whether you have it shrunken down to a Mobile layout (ideal for the corner of your screen), windowed as a standard app or full screen if you want to get the whole experience. App performance is excellent with no lags, stutters, or artifacts observed.

The menu is divided into five main areas, including:

  • Search: Type in specific phrases, proper names, or genres of music to find a station you want
  • Channels: This is the central area that breaks down further into Music, Sports, Howard Stern, News & Issues, Talk & Entertainment, and More.
  • Recent: Your listening history for quick access
  • Me: My notifications, which let you optionally continue a broadcast you were listening to, Custom Channels, Application Settings, Help and legal.
  • Favorites: Bookmarked stations and shows for quick one-touch access

The menus themselves are clever as they expand and the category label turns to an X to back out. Simple menu options let you add or remove channels from favorite, get more information, or clear.

Want to let your friends know what you are listening to? Just use the standard Share picker to send the info to any Windows 10 app. The sharing message is quite basic e.g. "Now Playing on Punk Party: I'm listening to The Agony Of Victory by NOFX". There is no link or even mention of SiriusXM, which I found a bit odd, but it's still better than nothing.

Under app settings, you can set the stream to Normal, High, or Maximum depending on your bandwidth or a metered connection. Optionally you can enable TuneStart, which lets you start songs at the beginning when you tune to a music channel (super cool!) and Keep Menu Open on Tune, which lets you "turn on to keep the menu open when tuning to a channel, show, or episode."

One of the most useful features is being able to set a notification reminder for the start of a specific show. SiriusXM also has a decent Live Tile that flips to show you currently playing content.

Out the gate, I'm very impressed with the SiriusXM app for Windows 10. The performance was excellent, the design fits in with the OS, options were readily available, and as a novice user, I found nothing confusing.

To SiriusXM or not to SiriusXM?

While you can try out SiriusXM for free for 30 days the question whether you will continue to use it or not is a personal one. Certainly, the attraction of SiriusXM is the ability to listen to exclusive content that can't be heard anywhere else at a quality that broadcast radio simply cannot match. The ability to stream stations, listen to old shows or catch up on Stern hours after his live broadcast is certainly very enticing.

I'm happy to give the Windows 10 app high marks in this initial outing. The app is a pure Windows 10 experience with all the features you would expect from a premium service. The design is not ported but tailored for the modern Windows 10 world and for that I can recommend the SiriusXM app. Now let's just hope they bring it to Windows 10 Mobile as well!

Day 12 Sweepstakes:
Win Beoplay H8 Wireless Headphones!

How to Enter: Log into Windows Central and leave a comment on this post letting us know if you're a SiriusXM fan, or if you prefer a different service for music and radio. At the end of your comment you must also indicate you are posting as an entry into the sweepstakes, or use #sweepstakes.

Full rules and regulations can be found here, but please note that due to sponsor restrictions, the sweepstakes is only open to Windows Central readers in the US and Canada.

The sweepstakes is open until July 15th, and winners will be announced on the blog shortly after the close date.

The Prize: One super lucky Windows Central reader will take home a pair of Beoplay H8 Wireless On-Ear Headphones! Good luck!

Follow Daniel for even more #DoMoreEveryDay

Twitter: @Daniel_Rubino
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