When Sirius and XM finished their merger dance it was said that they would be able to offer interoperable radios—that is units that work with the full lineups of both XM and Sirus—within a year of the merger. Then they told the FCC they'd have devices within nine months. Now Mel Karmazin, CEO of the new merged company, has said that we can expect merged receivers "a number of months" before that deadline, likely in the first quarter of 2009. This is both good and bad news for the consumers. It's good because they'll get the full benefits of the merged systems, but it's bad because to get those benefits they'll have to purchase another receiver. Karmazin also said that "a la carte" radios—those that would offer a full lineup of either XM or Sirius and individual channels from the other service—will be here for the holidays, but we'd hold off.[OrbitCast]
Adding to all this is the fact that there are two separate legal entities that have not merged in Canada, the new Sirius XM is now a minority owner of both of them but the other owners are totally separate. In order to stay in compliance with the Canadian broadcast licenses and contracts with the other owners, they will have to operate the legacy XM and Sirius systems for some time to come.