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Serious Satellite Radio is Sirius' Starmate 5 Review

Updated on February 7, 2011

Sirius Starmate 5 Satellite Radio


"Listen to what you want, when you want, wherever you are," Sirius says, but that's not quite true here in Canada, eh. Read my full review of Sirius' Starmate 5 (ST5C) Plug & Play Satellite Radio with Car Kit from beginning to end to get the serious low-down and photos on this commercial-free, satellite radio which I gave to my man last Christmas, done from a Canadian angle. BTW, if you’re the kind of person who prefers to just jump right to the end for the conclusion without reading the full review, I’ve made it really easy for you; just click on Serious Satellite Radio is Sirius' Starmate 5 - Part 2 and you're there. Now for the rest of us who need all the details, on with the review.

Not being in any way savvy about this new thing called satellite radio, I set out to discover all the details to aid me in choosing the best satelite radio product for our needs, thus benefiting you in your quest as well.


Having decided that I was getting a satelite radio for my man, the next thing I had to figure out was 'what is satellite radio?' and 'who are the main players in this area?' Well, I’m glad you asked, because before this I didn’t know either.

Think about when you’re driving long distance in your car listening to a typical car radio. As you drive, you notice that the farther you travel the worst the radio reception becomes until it fades away. These poor reception noises you hear are due to the fact that the radio signal is ground-based, and you are a far distance from the radio station’s transmission; in other words being outside of the radio station’s normal 35 miles broadcast range.

Satellite radio (aka digital radio) broadcasts its radio signals from space, over 20,000 miles away, via satellite. This enables you to listen to the same program no matter where you travel with crystal clarity devoid of static interference, because a satellite’s range covers millions of miles.

In order to receive this satellite signal though, you must have a satellite radio receiver (aka satellite radio or tuner), and buy a subscription channel package; much like you buy from a satellite television subscription but from a satellite radio broadcaster. When turned on and tuned in to that subscribed space frequency, your satellite radio is able to pick up the space station signal clearly (or as clearly as your antenna allows).

Of importance to note is that with satellite radio, you cannot pick up local radio stations, only those radio stations broadcast by the space-based radio broadcaster you subscribed with.


So who broadcasts radio programs via satellite?    Well the most known companies are XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.   In the beginning, there were three satelite radio broadcasting companies, of which only two battled to be the best satellite radio broadcaster in the Americas, each offering their own commercial-free programming.   When both XM and Sirius fell into debt, they decided to merge into a single company in July of 2008, becoming SIRIUS XM Radio.   Even though the two companies are merged, both Sirius and XM continue as separate programming services.   With XM offering 130 digital channels, and Sirius having over 100 channels of 100% commercial-free programming.   In Canada, subscribers can only choose one company's subscription, either Sirius or XM, unlike in the US.


Now that I had my background, I had to figure out our needs in a satellite radio to speed up finding a good radio to fit our listening style.


  1. -price has to be reasonable/affordable
  2. -radio hubby can easily install himself
  3. -option to hard-wire or simply dock radio (it’s a company vehicle)
  4. -radio must be movable (so it can be used in home on his days off)
  5. -should look good (this one is mainly for me)
  6. -radio has enough on-board features to satisfy my gadget man
  7. -programming should include Stern (his fave show)
  8. -radio has ability to add-on accessories

Requirements in order (as listed above), I set off to ogle satellite radio products at the stores (but you don't have to go walking the stores as I did, because I've made it really easy for you to find your Sirius products right here with direct links on the right to Amazon's secure, online store).

So, after checking out all the Sirius satellite radios and XM satellite radio models available in Canada, noting their accessories, features, and doing enough touching, listening, looking, talking and debating over the models, I whittled my decision down to two Sirius models; the Sirius Starmate 5 or the Sirius Sportster 5.

With intense focus, I compared the two radios, including their colour, available options, features, ease of use, price, all differences and any sameness.

The only real differences I could find between the Starmate 5 and the Sportster 5 is that the Sportster 5 has a larger display screen and a larger knob tuner than the Starmate 5, but the Sportster 5 also cost approximately $50 more than the Starmate 5.

I decided on the Sirius Starmate 5 (ST5C) Plug & Play Satellite Radio with Car Kit.


  • ability to track and list favourite sports teams
  • parental controls to lock out certain channels
  • pause/rewind/replay up to 45 minutes of live programs
  • auto shut-off and sleep mode
  • push-button channel surfing

  • a big, easy-to-read, 5 line, blue display
  • 10 preset buttons to store 30 channels
  • a built-in, wireless FM transmitter
  • FM preset button to store local FM frequencies
  • 'alert' reminder for favourite artists/songs/sports program


Radio purchased and in hand, I dashed home, wrapped it up and presented it to my husband last Christmas. Fast forward to present day (ah, was it me or did you hear a record scratch too?) well, we are now ready to rip open the box, install the satellite radio, activate it with a subscription, and deliver my conclusion on the Sirius Starmate 5 satellite radio.


______________________________________, my pen is a mighty sword!

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