Sirius XM Keeps Its Promise

Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) finally has a Lynx sighting!

Sirius XM's website and audio electronics retailer Crutchfield.com began selling the advanced satellite radio receiver last night. Traditional retailers will shortly follow.

Yes, this is the same Lynx that was inadvertently leaked on Best Buy's (NYSE: BBY  ) website back in October -- though it's not available through the consumer electronics giant's website at the moment.

Sirius XM 2.0 received plenty of hype earlier this year, only to come to a screeching halt when the original Edge receiver failed to live up to the promised expectations. Beyond offering access to roughly two dozen additional channels -- roughly half devoted to Sirius XM's underserved Latino programming -- the Edge wasn't really much of an evolutionary upgrade.

Lynx, on the other hand, is the real deal.

The small Android-based receiver streams music wherever Wi-Fi is freely available. There are also home, car, and portable docking systems that allow subscribers to play traditional satellite broadcasts. The dual nature of the radio will make it popular for those willing to pay a few extra bucks a month on top of the conventional satellite subscription to have access to the broader streaming service.

Lynx introduces the promised "Start Now" feature, giving the gadget "on demand" access to content stored in enough flash memory to record 200 hours worth of content. Taking another page out of the TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) playbook, Lynx allows radio listeners the ability to pause, rewind, or fast-forward through recorded offerings. There's also a Tune Start feature that lets listeners hear a song they like from the start. Good luck trying to match that, terrestrial radio. Owners can also mix in their own music through microSDHC cards.

Lynx isn't perfect. Since the core receiver only plays back Internet content, it's not as if it will be useful for a jogger or commuter unless they're blanketed by free connectivity. The price -- $319.98 with either the vehicle kit or home docking system -- is also a bit steep.

However, Lynx does raise the bar here at a time when Pandora (NYSE: P  ) is gaining major headway as an in-car streaming option for smartphone owners. Freeloaders will still flock to Pandora for a streaming fix, but Sirius XM is living up to its promise of taking satellite radio to a competitive level.

Back in August, Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin promised that there would be two Sirius XM 2.0 retail receivers hitting the market this year. With just a couple of days to spare, Karmazin has delivered.

If you like to stay on top of what happens next -- and I'm guessing you do because you're reading this article -- how about checking out Motley Fool's top stock for 2012? Spoiler alert: It's not Sirius XM. However, it is a free report, but only for a limited time, so check it out now.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls in Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2011, at 10:30 AM, countryjoe21 wrote:

    "With just a couple of days to spare, Karmazin has delivered." Really? Is missing the entire holiday shopping season considered "delivering"?

    Seriously, Karmazin should be fired...the board shouldn't wait for his contract to expire, they need to show him the door NOW!

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2011, at 10:49 AM, Brent2223 wrote:

    If the core receiver only plays back internet content, why the need for a stand alone device, why can't an andriod smartphone do the same? That would be a game changer for SIRI - leverage the smartphone explosion rather than trying to get people to buy a dedicated device.

    I've always thought Liberty should make a run at RIM, and turn blackberry's into little satrad recievers - RIM needs something different like that to breath some life into it's products. And I'm sure there are some other media related products, besides SIRI, in Liberties stable that could benefit from smartphone integration too...

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2011, at 11:49 AM, CaribouPaku wrote:

    can't see all the hoopla given to Pandora it is an overpriced stock that is dependant on advertising. Free to the listener as long as they have advertisers but than again who wants to listen to all that advertising. Streaming isn't always all that great either. Just another average show brought to you by our sponsers!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2011, at 10:56 PM, baldheadeddork wrote:

    If this is SIRI's next generation, they are screwed. They're offering the same functionality of Pandora for the low, low cost $320 in hardware, another $100 or more for installation, $200-$250 in annual subscription costs for Sirius, plus tethering costs on your smart phone to get smart control. This makes Netflix's bed**** look like the work of Nobel laureates.

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