Sirius, XM receivers may play both sides

Amid the takeover rumors, merger talk, blackouts, and general struggle and strife for consumers just trying to listen to some decent radio, it appears that a glimmer of hope may be breaking through all the noise. In an outrageously detailed letter to the FCC, a gentleman named Michael Hartleib calls for the agency to more clearly define the differences between "Dual mode" and "Interoperable" radios, and outlines how (using the latter variety) existing XM or Sirius receivers might be able to access both networks simply by having their firmware updated. The technical missive also suggests that the companies may be deflecting attention away from this fact in an attempt to bring "updated" receivers to market which have the aforementioned capability, when all that is really needed is a simple software tweak. Naturally, we can understand why he'd want to go straight to the FCC -- it's not like Sirius or XM are expected to discuss this possibility, and we think it's safe to assume that if they merge they're going to gouge customers into buying a new radio, instead of updating the ones they currently own.