Bushnell ONIX400, & XM/Sirius merger


It took a while to get real, but just this morning I received assurance that I’m the list to try one of these intriguing Bushnell ONIX400 handheld plotters capable of receiving XM Satellite Weather and Audio (once they can get ahead of orders and free some units up for the media). It may be oriented to hunters, but couldn’t it be useful to boaters who want a relatively economical way to carry live satellite weather wherever they go? And, besides, how hard would be to add charts to a handheld that can already do topo and photo maps?

But meanwhile the real news is that today the U.S. Justice Department approved the $5 billion buyout of XM by arch rival Sirius. This surprised me as just a couple weeks ago the deadline was extended and a supposedly knowledgeable stock analyst declared that the deal looked “less likely.” However, as little as I trust the current Justice Department (who can?), I agree that XM and Sirius compete not just with each other but also with all sorts of new audio, and weather, services. In fact, I used XM Audio here at my desk for several years but didn’t renew last year because I’d gotten into Internet radio, podcasts,  and MP3 players. And just the other day a Sirius Weather representative questioned why Dan Corcoran and I are working on a comparison of XM, Sirius, and ClearPoint Weather, when the latter doesn’t have a satellite delivery system. I respectfully insisted the ClearPoint is competing for at least of the same customers, and know that we could also be including other, if less rich, Internet marine weather sources like UGRIB, PassageWeather, and BuoyWeather (if we had the time and print room). The Justice Dept. seems to agree with me!
   But note that this XM/Sirius merger will not be completely done until the FCC signs off on it, and we know how long that can take. And even when the two do start working together, I imagine it will take a while before we see changes in the satellite weather services now offered. Actually their use on boats is still evolving, despite the news of this merger a year ago. For instance, Raymarine’s big V4 E-Series refresh includes Sirius Audio support, and the new Nobeltec Nav Max Pro editions (PDF announcement here) will add Sirius to XM, OCENS, and generic GRIBS for the most complete weather quiver out there. Both are coming very soon, I think. What, though, will the combination of XM and Sirius mean to satellite marine weather in the long term? Your theories invited.

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

4 Responses

  1. Joe Ferrara says:

    One thing that might change for the XM weather subscribers is that they may see a single tier for pricing, similar to the $29.99 for everyone that Sirius recently enacted. Also, maybe some of the additional information that was available on XM but not on Sirius (i.e. visibility forecast and satellite mosaic) will become available to Sirius subscribers.

  2. It will be interesting to see where this merger leads the marine/aviation weather side of the these
    There has been a new feature added to the XM Weather functionality in the Garmin 400/500/4000/5000 series chartplotters. The new feature gives these units the capability to display NEXRAD Radar information in the 3-D mode. Here is a short video of the new feature.

  3. Dan (b393capt) says:

    It would seem that any GPS device with a map display, either handheld or integrated into a vehicle (like a car navigation system), is a natural place for weather to be displayed.
    Why has it taken so long for weather to be included in a handheld GPS such as this Bushnell ONIX400 ?
    Subscription price?
    Uncertainty over the merger? Cost or technical issue inside the device?
    Unproven market demand?
    Concern some types of users won’t accept the delay between power-up and weather display ?

  4. Dan (b393capt) says:

    I agree the merger should go thru, there is pleanty of competion out there.
    Still if NY Times article today is to be believed, that FCC will fast track approval, it would be criminal if the FCC didn’t first sign off on AIS

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