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March 19, 2007
Dennis Wharton
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Study Shows XM/Sirius Merger Would Not Increase Program Choices For Customers

WASHINGTON, DC – A proposed merger between XM and Sirius would not allow existing satellite radio customers to have access to more programs than they have now without buying a new satellite radio, according to a study commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters and prepared by the consulting engineering firm of Meintel, Sgrignoli & Wallace (MSW). Released today, the study highlights the significant technical differences between the two satellite systems, which prevent Sirius radios from receiving programming from XM satellites, and vice versa.

In addition, the study shows that the two satellite systems cannot be expanded to fit in more channels beyond their current level without incurring loss of audio quality.

Some of the specific facts highlighted in this study include the following:

• The bandwidths, bit rates, data structures, and digital audio coding algorithms of these two systems are completely different, making it impossible for existing, dedicated XM and Sirius transmission and reception equipment to interoperate;

• The data capacities of both the XM and Sirius systems are filled with programming and significant spare capacity is not available. Expanding the number of program offerings on either the XM or Sirius platforms through more aggressive digital compression would result in degradation of audio quality unacceptable to consumers;

• Taking a program channel from one system and adding it to the other would likely require incumbent program channels to be removed on a one-for-one basis to make room for the new program channels.

The report also notes that, as a condition of their original license, the satellite radio operators were required to deliver designs for interoperable radios. While XM and Sirius have been working together on an interoperable radio since 2000, no radio that is interoperable between both systems has ever been made commercially available.

To read the complete MSW report, click here.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at


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