Streaming satellite radio to your home stereo (Week 8, 2021)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 8, 2021

Q. Years ago I purchased a Grace Digital Solo Wi-Fi radio receiver to stream SiriusXM radio to our home stereo system. Now, according to Grace Digital “The internet radio station finding service used by our legacy internet radios is being discontinued by the 3rd party service provider, Qualcomm Inc. Grace Digital Internet Radios manufactured between 2007 and 2017 will stop working.” So, I’m looking for an inexpensive replacement.

Sirius offers a very affordable “Home Kit.” Unfortunately it relies on a satellite antenna rather than a wireless internet connection, and the antenna will not work easily for me. Grace Digital sells their “Grace Link” but I’m not thrilled about relying on them again, even though they are offering a discount to affected customers which brings my cost down to $117. All other options appear to be higher quality receivers with WiFi connectivity, which are both more expensive and more than I need. Do you know of any other solutions?

-G.M., Orinda, CA

A. There are so many ways to listen to SiriusXM that I wonder why these pricey component radios are even offered anymore. Here are a few ways to get SiriusXM that are not only inexpensive, but likely to be future-proof as well. Some of them may already be in your possession, just waiting for you to unlock their capabilities.

You can add the SiriusXM app to your smartphone and stream to your stereo via Bluetooth. If your stereo does not have built-in Bluetooth you can add it with a $25 Bluetooth receiver. There is no extra cost to use the app and it works in your car, too. Just make sure you have an unlimited data plan if your phone is not connected to WiFi when streaming SiriusXM. If you do not want to tie up your phone for this purpose you can use one of your retired smartphones connected to your WiFi network, or buy a $49 Amazon 7 Fire tablet or an inexpensive Android tablet.

How about a voice-activated SiriusXM receiver for less that $40? You can use Amazon Alexa Echo devices to play SiriusXM. All you need is a $39 Echo Dot and a miniplug-to-RCA connection cable. Place the Echo Dot near your stereo and connect it to your network with the Alexa app. Next, use the cable to connect the Echo Dot’s 3.5mm stereo audio output to your sound system. Go to the Amazon Alexa app and enable the SiriusXM skill, then log into your SiriusXM account from there. Now the Echo Dot will play SiriusXM through your stereo. You select channels by name or number, for example by saying “Alexa, play Elvis Radio on Sirius XM,” or “Alexa, play channel 8 on SiriusXM.” Want a display, too? Use an $89 Echo Show instead of an Echo Dot.

The Roku, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Smart TV operating systems all offer SiriusXM apps. Add the app to your TV or streaming device, log in to your Sirius XM account and you have another way to access the service. If your TV is connected to your stereo you are ready to go already. Of course, if you are listening to the radio app you can’t watch TV, but it is unlikely both activities will be occurring simultaneously in the same room.

My personal vote goes to the Echo Show. That way you get voice activation, a wired connection to your stereo, additional functionality from the Echo Show’s other features, and a beautiful display. You can also use it to access other music services like Tidal, Spotify and Amazon Music.