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Interesting Info About All Things Land Rover
Interesting Info About All Things Land Rover

SiriusXM Satellite Radio Standard on 2021 Land Rovers

  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Apr 14, 2021
Sirius XM car screen

Fifteen years after the first satellite radio system was available in a Land Rover, SiriusXM radio will be standard equipment in all Land Rovers from the 2021 model year.

The SiriusXM-Land Rover partnership dates back to 2004, though SiriusXM’s archives suggest that the first installation was on the 2006 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The optional receiver was $400, with a $12.95 monthly charge.

Satellite radio began in America on September 25, 2001, when XM transmitted its first signals to San Diego and Dallas-Fort Worth. (It was supposed to begin on September 12th, but the 9/11 attacks caused the delay.) Sirius went on air four months later. Both were designed to provide nationwide CD-quality audio to homes and vehicles using satellites, in an era long before high-quality Internet music streaming was an idea.

The arms race built quickly between the providers, with each dropping money on celebrity personalities Sirius secured Howard Stern from 2006, in a deal which increased subscribership tenfold. XM got shock jocks Opie and Anthony. MTV VJs Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn hosted rock programming (and still do). Top political commentators from both sides of the aisle hosted shows on both satellite networks. XM got the rights to broadcast Major League Baseball games live, while Sirius got the NBA.

This eventually led to there being two companies which offered more or less the exact same product with no interchangeability. Automakers had contracts with either Sirius or XM, with entirely different channel selections, content, and celebrity personalities. Ford went with Sirius, and so did their then-subsidiary Land Rover. BMW and Chrysler were early Sirius supporters too; GM, Honda, and Toyota were all XM-supplying companies. It was largely an optional item, though the 2004 Acura TL was the first vehicle to offer XM standard in every model shipped out.

By 2007, there was a clear need for either a merger or a dying-off of one provider or the other in a limited market. Fourteen million Americans had satellite radios, eight million with XM, and neither provider was profitable. Merger was the answer, and SiriusXM was born. The service has since grown, adding online channels and web streaming. While satellite radio always used displaying song titles on the radio display as a selling point, new versions of receivers include album art, channel logo graphics, and advanced tuning capability.

The now-standard SiriusXM units in Land Rovers will go a step further, soon offering SiriusXM’s new 360L streaming platform. This has appeared on a few vehicles in the last two years, and gives access to significantly more music channels above the traditional satellite-transmitted ones. Using an in-car data connection, hundreds of extra channels provide even more choice for niche music tastes. This isn’t available yet, but thanks to the Over-the-Air update capabilities of the Pivi Pro in-car entertainment systems in new Land Rovers, these kinds of upgrades are simple to deploy.

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  • Written By
  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Adventure addict. '90s Land Rover daily driver. Historic preservationist. Personal vehicles: 1994 Discovery I, 1994 Range Rover Classic, 1961 Series II.
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