Sirius radio

I never thought I would actually pay for radio until a co-worker of mine signed up for Sirius satellite radio when Howard Stern made the switch to Sirius. Now, Howard Stern I could care less about but, this gave me my first extended exposer to the music channels. Every afternoon, for weeks, I would hear a great song off an album I had long forgotten, on the Alt Nation channel, wafting over the cube wall. I was just about sold.

The only problem remaining was reception. My co-worker sat next to a window and was having reception problems despite Sirius having a land based repeater in our market. I’m located closer to the center of the building so using a satellite radio probably wasn’t going to work. So I waited. Sirius offered online streaming but it was only a 32k stream. Not going to work for me.

Finally, Sirius started offering near CD quality streams but, only offered a Windows based player in a browser. I love my tunes but, not enough to switch back to Windows. So the hunt was on to find a way to stream Sirius online to Linux or OSX. If you want to try Sirus for three day for free sign up here.

Play Sirius radio streams on Linux

What I came up with was Sipie. From the Sipie documentation.

“Pronounced SY PIE, like ‘sirius python’, sipie is a on line player
for Sirius online Internet streaming. It requires a login to
Sirius’s streaming, and both guest and subscriber logins are
supported. It provides the a back end, a cli and gui.”

Because of changes made to the Sirius stream at some point in the past simply doing an apt-get to install Sipie didn’t work so below I have compiled my own instructions. Even though these instructions are based on Ubuntu 7.10, seeing Sipie is a python script, they should work on other distributions.

First we have to download the dependencies. Open a terminal windows and enter:

sudo apt-get install mplayer python-setuptools python-wxgtk2.6 subversion

We need subversion to download the latest development snapshot because the version of Sipie in the repository doesn’t work.

Change to your home directory:

cd ~

Download the latest development version of Sipie to a directory called sipie under your home directory.

svn co sipie

Change to the sipie directory.

cd sipie/

Install Sipie.

sudo easy_install .

Configure and run Sipie.

Once you have lauched Sipie the first time you will need to configure it with your username, password, subscriber status, and location. Just follow the prompts. If you mess up remove the config file in ~/.sipie as outlined below and then just relaunch

username and a crypted password will be stored in /home/mike/.sipie/config
no plain text passwords are stored
if you want to change your password remove /home/mike/.sipie/config
then run sipie and it’ll ask you for username and password again

Enter username: mike
Enter password:

Login Type, type guest or subscriber
Enter login type: subscriber
Are you using Sirius Cananda (
True or False: False

At this point a window should pop up and ask you to enter some characters. Once entered the channel GUI should come up. Simply select a channel and hit play.

Play Sirius radio streams on OSX

For OSX users life is much easier. Simply download install StarPlayr.

From the apple download site:

About StarPlayr
A new breed of Sirius Radio for the Mac. It has album art, an awesome user interface, the ability to record one station and play another. As a recording is finished, the stream is automatically converted from ASF to MP3 and can be played back in iTunes via the StarMP3 playlist. You can take your recordings with you on the road syncing to an iPod/iPhone any other PMP device that supports MP3.

What’s New in this Version
– Easy to use iCal Scripts to automate StarCasts.
– Faster tuning
– Up to date Artist and Song info
– Paws feature using Spacebar or Paws button
– Mute option
– Mega size cache options
– Improved iTunes syncing: Bookmarkable, Skip Shuffle
– Robust StarCasting (fixed time-out bug)
– StarMP3 Trooper, Manual MP3 conversion mode
– Free fully editable Bonus AppleScripts

Although there are other players avaiable for OSX, in my opinion, StarPlayr is the best. My only complaint is that there is no mini player and you can only resize the application to a certain degree. Other then that it works great.