Personally I think the merger could be a good thing for not only the two companies, but for the listeners as well. My reasons are likely different than most of what you will read out there, but there are some things that the new company could do that many people may not have even considered.
- The combination of satellite systems gives the new company 6 total satellites instead of three each
- Some of the programming can be consolidated, thus freeing up additional bandwidth.
- Both companies use earth-based repeater networks to improve reception. XM alone has over 1,700 in the US and Canada
- The radios are designed to be able to take data streams.
So where am I going with this? With the added bandwidth and obvious culling of radio shows, the new company could have an attractive new data service for delivering customized weather, traffic, emergency, and personalized information to each subscriber. Imagine if you could take a service like Yahoo pipes, mashup the data and information important to you, plug it into your satellite radio account, and get live data streamed directly to your radio display.
You could build feed mashups that were time based. For example...the morning commute might have a mix of live traffic, weather, and news that is only important to you at that time of day in the area you travel.
Take this a step further and combine a GPS device with satellite radio built in. Now you can deliver data layered on top of GPS mapping. While driving past your favorite grocery store, you might get an announcement from your To Do List feed to pick up milk.
If I were XM/Sirius, I'd seriously consider an open API for data services and start allowing people to create new technologies for their platform.
Regrdless, I've been a Sirius subscriber in the past (whenever I take a long road trip) and I love the technology. I hope this merger will help keep the technology alive, and possibly inspire other companies to take a shot at it. Who knows, maybe even Apple will take a stab at satellite in the next iPod, now that they don't have to worry about one platform over another.
Can you think of any other ideas for the technology, or are the two systems too incompatible to function together?