Opinion: DirecTV XM Radio is very inferior to Music Choice!

Man that’s a hell of a car stereo. Maybe we can post about this on the main page. I think I’ll do a litle research on that. What I have been doing is take my iRiver IH20 and I hook it up to a FM transmitter that plugs in the cigarette lighter, but this is a bit convoluted process and you have to keep charging up the iRiver.

The Belkin rig I use in the car both keeps the iPod charged and powers the FM transmitter. Don’t know if they make one for the iRiver or not.

OK, I just got off of the phone with DirecTV. The associate confirmed that there are many, many complaints about this and that they are passing the complaints along.

She also told me something I hadn’t heard: she says that Music Choice is going out of business and they had to switch. Hmmm. When I visit the MC site it looks viable enough to me. Has anyone heard that?

Well I think there is a disinformation campaign going on here by DirecTV! :a I just did a quick Google search and if Music Choice is going under, why in the hell doesn’t Cox cable know about it! They just penned a deal with Music Choice last week!

NEW YORK, NY – (MARKET WIRE) – 12/05/2005 – Music Choice®, the premier, multi-platform music network, today announced an agreement to enhance the music-related video-on-demand content available to Cox’s digital cable subscribers. Beginning in January, Cox’s digital cable customers in select markets where its On DEMAND service is offered, will have access to Music Choice On-Demand which features hundreds of multi-genre music videos, exclusive music shows, concerts, artist interviews, and studio performance at no extra charge.

Oooops!

Also, we can read this article over at Cleveland.com. (annoying zip code form to fill out)

Decision to supplant Music Choice is costing DirecTV

[I]On DirecTV, the XM channels are replacing the Music Choice channels, which have been on DirecTV since its inception in 1994.

I enjoyed Music Choice, but my tastes didn’t line up with any one of their channels except for its Americana channel, which was dropped a year or two ago.

But some people loved their Music Choice channels. I heard from Jeff Luberger of Michael Technologies, a satellite and high-definition television installation expert from Euclid. He is a DirecTV dealer, and he has heard from many of his customers who are unhappy with the switch from Music Choice to XM.

“I have been inundated with calls from customers about the XM, and they all agree it’s terrible,” Luberger said. "I have been losing DirecTV customers to the cable companies because of it.

“Residential customers would rather pay $60 a month for digital cable just to get Music Choice,” he said. “The largest complaint is the commercials and voiceovers between songs. In a restaurant that has some music playing for ambience, to have an announcer start blabbing even for a few seconds causes customers to stop, drop their forks, and the whole place quiets because they hear someone making what they thought was an announcement.” [/I]

More problems for DirecTV:

DirecTV Settles Probe Into Marketing, Advertising Practices

By Antone Gonsalves
InternetWeek Mon Dec 12, 5:10 PM ET

Satellite TV company DirecTV has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a 22-state investigation into its marketing and advertising practices, state attorneys general said Monday.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based, company also agreed to pay restitution to the thousands of customers who complained about various services and cancellation policies and fees.

The multi-state investigation began in March 2003 after consumers complained that DirecTV’s advertised programs were not always viewable, sports programs offered in packages were sometimes blacked out, local programming was not available as advertised and cancellation policies were unfair. Many customers also complained about poor reception.

During the investigation, state attorneys general raised concerns that small unreadable print in advertisements changed DirecTV’s offers and that the company locked consumers into contracts before they full understood their monetary commitments to the company.

“Consumers must be provided clear and complete information about offers, prices and services in order to make wise purchasing decisions,” Eliot Spitzer, attorney general for New York, said in a statement.

In Pennsylvania, consumers complained that they were charged fees or penalties up to $150 when they attempted to cancel service contracts after finding out about blackout restrictions on sports packages, Attorney General Tom Corbett said.

“Many consumers, understandably, were frustrated when they wrote checks each month to DirecTV for services that they failed to receive,” Corbett said in a separate statement. “Worse yet, when they attempted to get out of the contracts, they were charged significant termination fees.”

As part of the settlement, DirecTV has agreed to pay restitution to customers who complained that they were charged a fee for not activating DirecTV in a timely way, that they paid for, but did not receive, all local channels, and that they were assessed a termination fee when they cancelled before the “free programming offer” expired.

In addition, DirecTV agreed to improve its advertising by clearly disclosing additional monthly charges for receivers; any obligations when accepting promotional offers, such as long term commitments and early termination charges; any obligation to activate service or maintain certain levels of service in order to obtain discounted equipment; limitations on availability of local channels, if promoting local programming; and whether blackouts may apply to sporting events offered through sports packages.

States that joined New York and Pennsylvania in the investigation and settlement were Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.

“There are no commercial- or voiceover-free channels on XM on DirecTV,” Luberger said. "Sirius is the same way. They have commercials to say ‘We are commercial-free.’ " – Quote from the Cleveland.com link posted by Crabbyappleton

This is a strange quote, as my wife and I have been listing to the Holly (Holiday) music on 819. It has voice overs, commercials, and other announcements on a regular basis. Others do too.

Yup, and they didn’t pull the other music channels when they added it either.

I’m very surprised to hear that people are disappointed with the switch DirecTV made to XM Radio. I was already a subscriber to both DirecTV and XM before the switch and because if it was able to listen to XM throughout my house without having to connect one of my XM radios to my receiver.

Personally I thought MC wasn’t very good. It was not that bad, but I felt that they tended to have a limited selection of music to play, and since it was randomly selected by a computer it tended to be repetitious at times.

As for the audio quality complaints, what?! I don’t know what you guys listen to this music on, but it’s pretty much on par with what MC was. Maybe it has something to do with your receivers as I have the higher end HD Tivo connected to my sterio using a digital optical cable. The quality I have experienced is excellent … and I’d consider myself a very advanced listener.

Interruptions in the music on XM are very limited. You’ll often get a series of 5-10 songs in a row before you hear any interruptions. There are NO commercials on most of the channels. I think many of you are confusing what a commercial really is. Go listen to any FM station and you’ll be spammed 60% of the time with “paid” advertising. Any of the interruptions you’ll hear on XM are either something related to the channel (such as a funny clip advertising the station’s name, or a simple audio logo), the DJ who is never on for more than a few seconds, or a quick reference to something going on with another XM channel. Personally I find these totally acceptable and expect them on a service of this type. There are, however, a few channels that do have paid advertising, such as the one with the talk shows on it. But they’re not considered part of the commericial free tier.

Get a grip people, the move to XM was good, and if you have issues with it, don’t listen. Go get Sirius or turn on crappy FM. I applaud DirecTV’s move to XM.

My connection is also from the high end HD Tivo with digital optical cable to a high end receiver, driving equally high end speakers. With MC I was hard pressed to tell the difference between it and cds. With XM it is easier. It’s better than FM, but still short of MC on quality. I have grown to like the programming and breadth of choice better than I did at first.

The postal service ads on the Holiday music channel were not commercials? Do the DJ’s never talk over the music on the channels to which you listen. If I want funny clips, I’ll tune in Comedy Central.

Get a grip, your taste is no better than the next guy’s. It’s just yours. But, you can rejoice in the fact that DirectV has made a decision it is very unlikely to change.

Hey guys, new to this board, I do agree with you about MC being good, but I have a real XM reciever, unlike all of you who are listening to it on DTV, and I would say that the real XM feeds are comparable to MC. I also heard somewhere that DTV XM feeds are the same feeds that you get from the internet stream so that may be the difference between actually hearing XM from a unit versus off of DTV.

XM’s web feeds are 32kbps, I think MC feeds are 64kbps or maybe even 128kbps.

Just to rehash this a little bit, I am 99% sure that the feeds that Directv gets from XM are the same ones that you would get if you went online and listened to the service, which are only 32 kilobytes per second(not acceptable in my humble opinion) . I think that the Music Choice Channels, whether through the tv or on MC Broadband are 128 Kilobytes per second, at least they sound really good(to my untrained ear). I am hoping that after the merger the XM channels will leave Directv and go to Echostar(Dish) and that the Music Choice Channels will come back, also I have Tivo and Tivo is suppossed to be streaming the Music Choice Channels from MC Broadband over TivoCast later this year, so I will see how they sound when the come out.