XM Skydock Sat Radio (Review)

SpaceKitty

Member
Nov 21, 2008
100
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I have two pics, nothing too special. One is using the FM transmitter along with my Pionner stereo. I have four presets on the Skydock and I also have them as presets now on my stereo. I also have the Skydock connected through the stereos AUX input. Why do I have both? Why not. :) The car is a 06 Cobalt SS/SC. Photos taken using my iPhone 3GS. The iPhone in the pic is a 3G. I leave it in the car as a GPS/Satelite radio now, car is always garaged. Also, I have XM already built into the Pioneer radio. I'll likely keep it activated for an occasional time when I don't have the iPhone in the car. And besides, the Pioneers XM only has a 16 character limit.


 
Oct 10, 2008
644
11
18
Chicago
OK, so I wanted to elaborate on my experience with this. When I used it I was stuck in traffic on an hour and a half long trip. This thing is amazing! Right off the bat I noticed that the user interface was so easy when I needed to change to a different FM station. I like that the unit keeps the station you have been listening to, then when you want to add one you just hit the + symbol and type in the FM station that you want. I also decided at one point to switch from wireless FM and go straight in through the auxiliary on the face of the radio. This option worked great as well, though I was surprised to find that the audio quality was almost the same. The power connect on this thing is fantastic and I look forward to seeing this type of technology more in the future. I think it's just a matter of time for iPhone and iTouch users to realize what this product can do, then it will become an industry standard!
 

TSS Taylor

DRC Fan
Oct 9, 2008
3,497
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63
Chicago, IL
www.tss-radio.com
I found a few inconveniences on the SkyDock. First is the App allows for 4 presets of FM Stations to PowerConnect to. When they are filled I can't figure out a way to edit them. In other words you might be stuck. Anyone figured this out?

The other thing is that for a lot of cars that have a Cigarette Lighter Cap or Door the clearance to get access to the FM Out or Line Out is hard. In particular the FM Out. But that's not a big deal because the PowerConnect is about on par as an FM Direct install.

 

roscoryan

DRC Graphics Guru
Oct 13, 2008
431
16
18
Burnsville, MN
Thanks to the wonderful customer service at TSS Radio (as usual), I received my XM Skydock today. This is my first new unit since I got the Stiletto 100 back in November 2006. The Stiletto was a workhorse for me, but it had seen better days so the timing was perfect for the SkyDock.

DAB and others have many of the key points covered, so I will just highlight why I think the SkyDock kicks ass!

EASE OF INSTALLATION:

Why didn't SIRIUS or XM think of this sooner? The stalk is perfect for an easy installation for most people and vehicles. Just plug it in the adapter, install the antenna, and VOILA! I like the fact that the contents were packaged in cardboard as well, which makes unpacking the unit so much easier.

POWERCONNECT:
It works, beautifully. I have a hidden FM antenna which provided hardly any signal with previous new-gen FM transmitters. Not anymore. And you don't need to install anything else or do any extra work to make it work. My radio does have an aux port on the front, but I'm probably going to use the SkyDock using PowerConnect just to have a cleaner install with no extra cables hanging out. The SQ isn't that much different because PowerConnect is so good.

INTERFACE:
I love that the SkyDock is made to feel like you are using a true satellite radio PNP. The interface is quite similar to your XM and SIRIUS portable units. Of course there are some advantages to the iPhone/iPod Touch as well, such as a clearer display, the ability to use the touchscreen (I really like scrolling through the channels by sweeping my finger right or left, just like many other iPhone applications), and the ability to potentially upgrade the program without having to buy new hardware.

Like others have mentioned, the audio comes on almost instantly when powered up, and channel changes are almost instant as well.

OTHER USES:
The best part is at the $119 price, your getting a dock which not only turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a TRUE XM satellite radio, but you can use it for any of the applications. That means your iPod music library, Slacker, Pandora, other radio applications (I personally love WunderRadio), videos, hands-free phone...it's so much more for just a little more than a standard iPhone car dock especially with PowerConnect.

CONS:
There are a couple things I'll miss as a Stiletto user. First, losing the ability to pause or rewind is a minus for me. The SkyDock is really for usage in the car only (that is until a possible home dock comes out), but you can of course use the internet application to access most of your channels wirelessly if you are in a 3G or WiFi network.

OVERALL - *****:
5 stars, no doubt about it. Satellite radio has a much needed home run with the SkyDock. Let's hope the millions of iPhone and iPod Touch users realize the advantages of this great solution for satellite radio. And for those Apple critics out there, this shows the great potential of the iPhone and even the iPod to be truly all-in-one devices!!

In the spirit of TulaneJeff, I dedicate one of his favorite smilies:
:smm:
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
9,434
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Louisiana
This option worked great as well, though I was surprised to find that the audio quality was almost the same. The power connect on this thing is fantastic and I look forward to seeing this type of technology more in the future. I think it's just a matter of time for iPhone and iTouch users to realize what this product can do, then it will become an industry standard!
I do find that the aux-output is louder than the FM and the quality of course I have to say is better, but I won't argue with you in terms of the quality of the PowerConnect. It is by far the best setup that Sat Radio has seen since way back when they were using over power FM transmitters. However, I think the PowerConnect actually sounds much better than even those.

I found a few inconveniences on the SkyDock. First is the App allows for 4 presets of FM Stations to PowerConnect to. When they are filled I can't figure out a way to edit them. In other words you might be stuck. Anyone figured this out?
Nope, you can delete them very easily Taylor, just HOLD your finger down on them and you'll see them change, there will be a little X pop up that allows you to delete them. I think you can even just edit them, though I have not tried. So, you aren't stuck at all. You just need to read the freaking manual DAWG! hehehe Actually I am just giving you a hard time because I didn't read the manual either, what man does? I just know from my experience using the iPod Touch and iPhone that there are certain things you can change and/or edit by holding your finger on it. Just don't use your middle finger! :)


DAB and others have many of the key points covered, so I will just highlight why I think the SkyDock kicks ass!
I agree with you 100%, thanks for your insight and review. I have been amazed by this product. I have not been excited about sat radio or listen to it this much in over a year.

Like Matt above I hope iPod Touch and iPhone users learn about this and adopt it in great numbers. I just love it!

Thank you Spacekitty for the pictures, that is a great install and sharing your experience with us.
 

SpaceKitty

Member
Nov 21, 2008
100
1
18
I found a few inconveniences on the SkyDock. First is the App allows for 4 presets of FM Stations to PowerConnect to. When they are filled I can't figure out a way to edit them. In other words you might be stuck. Anyone figured this out?

The other thing is that for a lot of cars that have a Cigarette Lighter Cap or Door the clearance to get access to the FM Out or Line Out is hard. In particular the FM Out. But that's not a big deal because the PowerConnect is about on par as an FM Direct install.
To delete an fm preset or a channel preset, hold down any preset for a few seconds and a little x will appear on each preset allowing you to delete any one.

Oops just saw it was already posted about.
 
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hampstenj

New Member
Oct 16, 2009
14
0
1
CONS:
There are a couple things I'll miss as a Stiletto user. First, losing the ability to pause or rewind is a minus for me. The SkyDock is really for usage in the car only (that is until a possible home dock comes out), but you can of course use the internet application to access most of your channels wirelessly if you are in a 3G or WiFi network.
One wonders if in an app update on the app store that would be possible, not sure on how often siri/xm would want to do such a thing. hey I don't think apple would mind, I mean come on they have the same idea on the newest ipod nano FM radios...
 

zevious

Member
Oct 12, 2008
191
8
23
I also miss the pause and rewind from the Stiletto. I suspect that Sirus XM decided to steer WAY clear of this sort of function. If you recall, XM ended up paying some ridiculous fines or fees over the Inno. Although that was over recording specifically. I suspect that they could build some sort of buffer into the software. The app would have to take a little more space on the device.

I would like to see them add cover art. This seems like a no brainer, especially on the iPhone. They can pull down the artwork via 3G or even Edge like Pandora does.

Overall, this unit is awesome.
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
9,434
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To delete an fm preset or a channel preset, hold down any preset for a few seconds and a little x will appear on each preset allowing you to delete any one.
We got it going on SpaceKitty.... Thanks! :)

One wonders if in an app update on the app store that would be possible, not sure on how often siri/xm would want to do such a thing. hey I don't think apple would mind, I mean come on they have the same idea on the newest ipod nano FM radios...
I certainly think this could be accomplished with a software upgrade. I don't think it is likely to be added though, because in order to pause the radio has to be able to cache the device memory. While Apple has slowly begin to allow this, I think they do to limit how much space an app can use. I also think Sirius XM wanted to make sure this app got approved with no snags. Also Apple allows you to run their applications in the background, they just don't allow 3rd party applications to do this, which I think is crazy. Apple likely wouldn't mind as long as it conformed to whatever their limitations are.
 

hampstenj

New Member
Oct 16, 2009
14
0
1
We got it going on SpaceKitty.... Thanks! :)



I certainly think this could be accomplished with a software upgrade. I don't think it is likely to be added though, because in order to pause the radio has to be able to cache the device memory. While Apple has slowly begin to allow this, I think they do to limit how much space an app can use. I also think Sirius XM wanted to make sure this app got approved with no snags. Also Apple allows you to run their applications in the background, they just don't allow 3rd party applications to do this, which I think is crazy. Apple likely wouldn't mind as long as it conformed to whatever their limitations are.
I agree totally. don't get me wrong not having an mini DVR type feature in the skydock is NOT a show stopper, and I think that may be the reason they aren't having it in the skydock is to make sure it gets thru the what seems to be more and more tooth and nail approval process from Apple. personally I don't see it happening at least at the moment, however if we see an apple firmware update to allow the same FM features as what's in the ipod nano, which the iphone and the ipod touch already has the chip in it for FM signals, I for one would bet that maybe in a next generation skydock down the road would have the DVR features in it. Man seeing all these great road-test reviews of the skydock really makes me wonder why didn't they think of this sooner.
 

shabadoo25

Member
Oct 12, 2008
669
15
18
I also miss the pause and rewind from the Stiletto. I suspect that Sirus XM decided to steer WAY clear of this sort of function. If you recall, XM ended up paying some ridiculous fines or fees over the Inno. Although that was over recording specifically. I suspect that they could build some sort of buffer into the software. The app would have to take a little more space on the device.

I would like to see them add cover art. This seems like a no brainer, especially on the iPhone. They can pull down the artwork via 3G or even Edge like Pandora does.

Overall, this unit is awesome.
Pausing and rewinding wasn't the problem. It was being able to chop songs out of blocks of recorded music stations to keep.

I may have to get one of these things to replace my in dash as a secondary to my xmp3. I can't give up the pause feature on my days in the car for work, though.
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
9,434
149
63
Louisiana
I would like to see them add cover art. This seems like a no brainer, especially on the iPhone. They can pull down the artwork via 3G or even Edge like Pandora does.

Overall, this unit is awesome.
Yeah that would be neat, but considering that for the most part Sirius struggles just to keep channel icons updated, I doubt they will want to start worrying about album art too. Then again since this product is on the XM side where they have never had issues keeping the tuners channel icons updated, maybe they could pull it off. Clearly on the Sirius side would it almost be impossible. LOL

I think the pause feature would be cool, but I don't see it happening. Hopefully for those that use it they will, I won't use it even if it is there as there is never anything that plays that I ever care enough about to need to pause it. I had this feature for 2 years on my XpressRC and never once used it.
 

AZJoe

Member
Oct 11, 2008
267
16
18
Phoenix, AZ
Got mine, thx Taylor!! :) (Just in time too, my Myfi died)

It's very easy to set up and use, all done in less than 5 minutes. The look and feel of it brings back the excitement of the first plug n plays of years ago. I am now ready for the home dock. Bring it on!!
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
9,434
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Louisiana
Got mine, thx Taylor!! :) (Just in time too, my Myfi died)

It's very easy to set up and use, all done in less than 5 minutes. The look and feel of it brings back the excitement of the first plug n plays of years ago. I am now ready for the home dock. Bring it on!!
:bigthumbup: Right on!
 

elkiehound

New Member
Oct 24, 2009
2
0
1
Too Tight Adapter

I found that trying to get the adapter out of the socket ripped the inner case out of the socket.

The adapter is simply too tight, tried in two cars, sent it back to Amazon.

Anyone else have this issue ?
 

TSS Taylor

DRC Fan
Oct 9, 2008
3,497
188
63
Chicago, IL
www.tss-radio.com
I found that trying to get the adapter out of the socket ripped the inner case out of the socket.

The adapter is simply too tight, tried in two cars, sent it back to Amazon.

Anyone else have this issue ?
It is tighter than he average cigarette adapter. When you remove it one is supposed to twist it side to side as pulling out. If one just pulls directly out it won't be as smooth.