August 25, 2005 8:02 AM PDT

Sirius unwraps portable music player

Sirius Satellite Radio has unveiled a portable music device that can store the company's programming as well as MP3 files from a PC.

The S50 is designed to let people record, store and play up to 50 hours of satellite radio programming and music files, the company said Thursday. A home dock or a car dock--the latter is bundled with the player--is needed to record the programming or play live shows. Measuring 1.9 inches by 3.9 inches by 0.7 inches, the player features a color display and voice-assisted channel navigation.

The Sirius S50

Sirius is one of the numerous companies trying to make a dent in the digital music market, which is currently dominated by Apple Computer's iPod.

The S50 is set to start shipping in October for $359. The price includes a car dock.

Content can be recorded and stored in different sections such as "My Sirius channels," which automatically gathers programming from a person's three most-listened-to channels.

"My Sirius songs" lets people save their favorite music, while the "scheduled record" feature can be used to capture favorite shows on a one-time or recurring basis. Playlists can also be created with MP3/WMA files by connecting the home dock to a PC.

14 comments

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Too much money
I'm a long time Sirius subscriber and iPod user and I've been
waiting for a wearable device from Sirius for a while now. This
thing just costs too much money. I get way too nervous carrying
something around with me that I can't afford to replace if I break it
accidentally.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Too much money
I'm a long time Sirius subscriber and iPod user and I've been
waiting for a wearable device from Sirius for a while now. This
thing just costs too much money. I get way too nervous carrying
something around with me that I can't afford to replace if I break it
accidentally.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about the antenna?
I have an XM MiFi. Great gadget but hardly portable like an iPod.
The "wearable" antenna that is required is ridiculous. Also, how
is one supposed to listen on the subway, or in a building unless
you have recorded a god deal of content?

As it is, I can record on my MiFi, plug into my Mac and download
onto my iPod.

Not much here to give the iPod a run for the money. But these
devices are a good first step toward a product that will be truly
desirable in about 5-7 years.
Posted by (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about the antenna?
I have an XM MiFi. Great gadget but hardly portable like an iPod.
The "wearable" antenna that is required is ridiculous. Also, how
is one supposed to listen on the subway, or in a building unless
you have recorded a god deal of content?

As it is, I can record on my MiFi, plug into my Mac and download
onto my iPod.

Not much here to give the iPod a run for the money. But these
devices are a good first step toward a product that will be truly
desirable in about 5-7 years.
Posted by (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree with Derek + more...
Seems like an awful lot of money for "yesterday's technology"... and a "paid" subscription. Naah!

Motorola's readying another new cellphone to pick up whatever website you want to listen/stream from - about 25,000+ radio sites available worldwide. More choices coming soon, for lots less money.
Posted by vox365 (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sirius is starting to really annoy me
I was so fired up when I heard that Sirius was FINALLY coming out with a portable player. When I saw the pictures of it, I was doing cartwheels. Finally, FINALLY, they got a product designer that isn't either legally blind or 6 years old. But, alas, all my joy was shot down when I read the product description. This stupid thing has to RECORD the content first and then you can take it with you. Oh, and it only records 44 minutes at a time. Sirus, all I'm waiting for is a portable satellite walkman. Its not that hard. You guys SUCK
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
I agree with Derek + more...
Seems like an awful lot of money for "yesterday's technology"... and a "paid" subscription. Naah!

Motorola's readying another new cellphone to pick up whatever website you want to listen/stream from - about 25,000+ radio sites available worldwide. More choices coming soon, for lots less money.
Posted by vox365 (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sirius is starting to really annoy me
I was so fired up when I heard that Sirius was FINALLY coming out with a portable player. When I saw the pictures of it, I was doing cartwheels. Finally, FINALLY, they got a product designer that isn't either legally blind or 6 years old. But, alas, all my joy was shot down when I read the product description. This stupid thing has to RECORD the content first and then you can take it with you. Oh, and it only records 44 minutes at a time. Sirus, all I'm waiting for is a portable satellite walkman. Its not that hard. You guys SUCK
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
They BLEW IT. Here's why.
Sirius BLEW IT. We were looking for a REAL mobile receiver. We wanted to listen and record ON-THE-GO. With this unit, you have to have it docked at home in order to record content. What is the point in THAT? If I am sitting at home listening anyway, why do I want to record content that I am already listening to?

Also, being forced to leave it at home in order to get content while I am out and about defeats the entire purpose of having a PORTABLE receiver!!! This is nothing more than an MP3 recorder with an enormous price tag. And a weak one, at that. You may think that fifty hours is a lot of recording time, but that is where you are fooled. They just lower the bitrate. Weak.

Here is what you should do. Get a little 512 MB MP3 player. Get a 50 dollar sirius receiver. Plug the receiver in at home and record directly to your PC audio card to your hard drive. Take your MP3 player with you, loaded with the files you recorded while you were out last time. Then, when you get home, save the old files to your hard drive if you wish and load the MP3 player with new ones.

Bonuses to this plan? Here they are:

1.) You save about $400.00 on docking stations and overpriced, weak, proprietary gear.

2.) You get a really nice MP3 player out of the deal, and the fifty dollar receiver will work just fine for your car, since it has a built-in FM transmitter.

3) Your MP3 player will also have an FM receiver so that you can tell what is going on in the real-time world around you while your satellite receiver is at home recording the content you want.

4.) You get to KEEP the content that you record for later personal use as MP3 files.

This is a total piece of junk. Don't believe in cute little things with falsely represented bells and whistles. It's a joke. I have been in touch with SIRIUS developers, and they were assuring me that a true portable unit was on the way. What they delivered is another useless item with an enormous price tag.

I am sure that I am going to hear comments like, "Would rather hear a review from someone who has used the item", but there is no need for that. I am not commenting on the useability of the item. I am talking about the horrible lack of design foresight that has been exhibited by SIRIUS yet again in the area of portable hardware. Just another bad call. I am getting SIRIUS, the programming is great. But I am going to be smart about how I get the programming, and how I keep the price tag under 150 bucks for truly functional hardware. Sad. Sad. Sad.


Yours Truly,

Lord
Posted by lordofdorkness (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
great review! glad i didn't waste $!
Great review! This looks so cool, I was so pumped that there was a portable Sirius receiver, (and an mps player?) and they even make it look like you can watch video on it in the pictures. Then I read there is an "inconspicuous" antenna. Nothing with satellite radio right now is inconspicuous. 0f course you don't see that in the pictures. And Dark lord is right: why do I have to be home or in my car to record? That's not portable! XM consistently beats out Sirius with hardware and I just cannot figure out why? I guess that's why XM stock is like $35 and Sirius is $7. Not only is XMs hardware better, but it looks cooler too. Sirius is based in NYC, jeez, can't they find a designer with some imagination? Ipod isn't the top selling mp3 because it has the most memory! Sirius needs to clean house and hire a whole new marketing team. I chose Sirius over XM because I like it better and I own lots of the stock, and I will stay loyal hoping they get their act together. But they need to get in the game or just declare XM the winner already.
Posted by bamacat (3 comments )
Link Flag
They BLEW IT. Here's why.
Sirius BLEW IT. We were looking for a REAL mobile receiver. We wanted to listen and record ON-THE-GO. With this unit, you have to have it docked at home in order to record content. What is the point in THAT? If I am sitting at home listening anyway, why do I want to record content that I am already listening to?

Also, being forced to leave it at home in order to get content while I am out and about defeats the entire purpose of having a PORTABLE receiver!!! This is nothing more than an MP3 recorder with an enormous price tag. And a weak one, at that. You may think that fifty hours is a lot of recording time, but that is where you are fooled. They just lower the bitrate. Weak.

Here is what you should do. Get a little 512 MB MP3 player. Get a 50 dollar sirius receiver. Plug the receiver in at home and record directly to your PC audio card to your hard drive. Take your MP3 player with you, loaded with the files you recorded while you were out last time. Then, when you get home, save the old files to your hard drive if you wish and load the MP3 player with new ones.

Bonuses to this plan? Here they are:

1.) You save about $400.00 on docking stations and overpriced, weak, proprietary gear.

2.) You get a really nice MP3 player out of the deal, and the fifty dollar receiver will work just fine for your car, since it has a built-in FM transmitter.

3) Your MP3 player will also have an FM receiver so that you can tell what is going on in the real-time world around you while your satellite receiver is at home recording the content you want.

4.) You get to KEEP the content that you record for later personal use as MP3 files.

This is a total piece of junk. Don't believe in cute little things with falsely represented bells and whistles. It's a joke. I have been in touch with SIRIUS developers, and they were assuring me that a true portable unit was on the way. What they delivered is another useless item with an enormous price tag.

I am sure that I am going to hear comments like, "Would rather hear a review from someone who has used the item", but there is no need for that. I am not commenting on the useability of the item. I am talking about the horrible lack of design foresight that has been exhibited by SIRIUS yet again in the area of portable hardware. Just another bad call. I am getting SIRIUS, the programming is great. But I am going to be smart about how I get the programming, and how I keep the price tag under 150 bucks for truly functional hardware. Sad. Sad. Sad.


Yours Truly,

Lord
Posted by lordofdorkness (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
great review! glad i didn't waste $!
Great review! This looks so cool, I was so pumped that there was a portable Sirius receiver, (and an mps player?) and they even make it look like you can watch video on it in the pictures. Then I read there is an "inconspicuous" antenna. Nothing with satellite radio right now is inconspicuous. 0f course you don't see that in the pictures. And Dark lord is right: why do I have to be home or in my car to record? That's not portable! XM consistently beats out Sirius with hardware and I just cannot figure out why? I guess that's why XM stock is like $35 and Sirius is $7. Not only is XMs hardware better, but it looks cooler too. Sirius is based in NYC, jeez, can't they find a designer with some imagination? Ipod isn't the top selling mp3 because it has the most memory! Sirius needs to clean house and hire a whole new marketing team. I chose Sirius over XM because I like it better and I own lots of the stock, and I will stay loyal hoping they get their act together. But they need to get in the game or just declare XM the winner already.
Posted by bamacat (3 comments )
Link Flag
I understand, but
If you spend 150 for a radio and iPod - you have saved 100 - I have a iPod - to create new play lists are very time consuming - I wish the iPod had a play next feature - or a way to create play list while on the road..... If the S50 automaticlly rec new mixes of music - then it is worth something..... I do wish it was a true portable - but if you read the reviews on the XM portables - everyone tells you that they have reception problems and the quility of the music is not the best... Perhaps the s50 fixes these 2 things, at the expense of not being portable....

I am thinking about buying it.....
Posted by douglasfenton (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I understand, but
If you spend 150 for a radio and iPod - you have saved 100 - I have a iPod - to create new play lists are very time consuming - I wish the iPod had a play next feature - or a way to create play list while on the road..... If the S50 automaticlly rec new mixes of music - then it is worth something..... I do wish it was a true portable - but if you read the reviews on the XM portables - everyone tells you that they have reception problems and the quility of the music is not the best... Perhaps the s50 fixes these 2 things, at the expense of not being portable....

I am thinking about buying it.....
Posted by douglasfenton (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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