Under The Microscope

Pulsar Is Back, For Some

Update (February 15th, 2011): Pulsar 2.2 is now available, with full SiriusXM support! See this post for full details.

Last Friday, Sirius and XM merged their two US sites into one, at SiriusXM.com If you’re a Pulsar user, you probably know that this change broke Pulsar1. We’ve been working feverishly to restore streaming in Pulsar, and Sunday evening, we released Pulsar 2.1.3.

This update is a temporary fix, while we work to make Pulsar fully compatible with the new SiriusXM site, but it does restore streaming for many users.

However, it’s not perfect. It appears that users who originally signed up with XM Online are not able to log in. We’re still working on this. For full details, please see Knowledge Base article.

If Pulsar 2.1.3 doesn’t work for you, be sure to check that your username and password are entered correctly. If they are, and it’s still not working, just stay tuned – we’re still working on restoring streaming for all users. In the meantime, you can always access your streams at SiriusXM.com.


1. You likely don’t know it, but Sirius and XM provide no way for third-party developers like Rogue Amoeba to access their audio streams. Because there’s no official way to get this audio, we need to do all sorts of wizardry to get audio, track titles, and artwork.

Most of the time, users can be blissfully unaware of what’s going on behind the scenes. When there’s a massive update however, as in the case of the recent move to SiriusXM.com, problems are more likely to arise. Sirius and XM give us no notice of these changes, so we’re stuck reacting to it. Rest assured, however, that we want to fix this more than anyone! 

33 Responses to “Pulsar Is Back, For Some”

  1. Lucien W. Dupont says:

    For what it’s worth, I have a sirius.com account, and that’s working. I’ve heard that some xm radio accounts haven’t successfully completed their migration: http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2011-02/xm-radio-online-comes-to-sonos/

  2. Jeff L says:

    Yeah, I checked out this product last week bc I recenty bought a mac. Tested it out with XM acct and it worked fine. So I purchased it today not knowing of the SiriusXM merge and now I can’t login with my XM acct. Kind of a bummer but I’m sure you guys can fix it up hopefully and if not I can always transfer my acct to Sirius but I rather beat the hassle if you know what I mean. Keep up the good work and I hope you guys can work on an update for us XM users. Thanks.

  3. Jake Fogelnest says:

    My account is on the Sirius side of things and the update worked flawlessly. You guys know what a huge fan I am of your products. I’ve been using Pulsar and Audio Hijack for years. Dont know how I’d survive without them!

  4. Carlos says:

    My acct. was first created with XM and is not working with Pulsar at this moment, however my XM username a password works fine at their website. Please hurry up! =)

  5. wristshot says:

    Hey, guys. Happy to hang in there with you while you figure it out. You’re the greatest. Meanwhile, I’ll use their kludgy online player.

  6. Dave K says:

    I’m a programmer, so I have an idea of how Pulsar works and realize the work that you had to do on quick notice to transition your program to work with a Flex-based app from the setup they had before. It’s really appreciated (and pretty amazing) that you came up with a solution so fast – thank you and keep up the good work!

  7. jbob says:

    Hey folks,

    Big ups to rogue amoeba. Fear the amoeba!

    Anyway, if we are xm online customers with the broken access through the app, should we just wait for SiriusXM to fix this on their end?

  8. Rick Matisak says:

    PLEASE get it working!!! The new SiriusXM website is horrible!! I didn’t realize how much I depended on your product until I had to log on and navigate the SiriusXM site.
    I know you guys will get it working as soon as you are able, thanks!

  9. Michael says:

    I’m one of the unfortunate XM users and just wanted to say thanks for working so hard on this. You guys always put forth so much effort and are very quick to fix issues when they arise. So thanks in advance for all the work you guys are putting in on this! I’ll keep checking back to see when the next update is released.

  10. Paul Kafasis says:

    Thanks for the kind words all.

    jbob: Unfortunately, that’s not clear. It may be possible that SiriusXM will toggle something to fix this, but we have no way of knowing. If you’re truly hankering to use Pulsar, it may also be possible to cancel your existing account and get a new one – new accounts from SiriusXM DO work. That said, we’re not recommending this course of action currently.

    For now, we’re working on full support for the new SiriusXM site, which will allow all users to stream.

  11. Jeff L says:

    i think ill just cancel my acct and reopen it under SiriusXM.

  12. Alan says:

    I have an XM account (had to as it was the only option to have satellite radio installed on my car) that doesn’t work thanks to the website merger. The Pulsar App is terrific and I have no interest in using the Sirius media player. As one of your updates mentions that some XM subscribers received via email a Sirius transitional account ID, I called their Tech Support to see if I could get one. After an hour on hold and three tech people who didn’t know such an option existed, I hung up. Help!

  13. Brandon says:

    I had actually been poking at this before I discovered Pulsar; I had already discovered via tcpdump the protocol XM Radio Online was using at the time for their metadata (channel info, now playing, and pointers to channel streams). I haven’t bothered trying to decipher the latest version, because Flash is soul-sucking (and I have, er, other priorities at the moment).

    One thing I’ve noticed is the official Flash crapplet often won’t authenticate me either; aside from yesterday afternoon when it actually worked for a couple of hours, I get an error dialog instead. So it’s probably not something Pulsar is doing heinously wrong, so much as Sirius|XM not quite having their act together yet.

  14. Gary M says:

    2.1.3 is working great again…. Long time sirius streaming account.

    Thanks again for all the hard work, I was lost with that crappy flash web player.

  15. Jacob Burke says:

    Thanks for getting a fix up so quickly. I was stuck with the online player and was not thrilled with it – something about flash apps make me want to cry. You guys are the best and keep doing what you do!

  16. Mark says:

    Well I sure love your product. And it surprises me that SXM doesn’t simply pay you guys some money to make yours the OFFICIAL desktop player of SXM, especially given that their own streaming tool is so crappy.

    You would think they would want to support their own ecosystem. But obviously not.

  17. John Watson says:

    It would be great if it would be possible to have applescript support for a couple more things: Channel listing, plus selecting a channel by channel number. I’m thinking about adding support to my iPhone app for controlling Pulsar, but without being able to select channels, it would be pretty limited in functionality.

  18. Paul Kafasis says:

    Alan: We don’t really have anything to recommend – you can ask SiriusXM why some users were transitioned and others weren’t – we have no idea.

    Brandon: Indeed, their player has been up and down and up and down. But, even when it’s up, XM users won’t be able to get access, because we’re currently talking to a Sirius server.

    John Watson: Get in touch via email, and we can see what we might add in the future.

  19. Scared Poet says:

    I can tell you why some users were transitioned and others not: the channel line ups on the Sirius and XM satellite networks are different. Additionally, their billing systems remain separate and incompatible.

    What does this mean? It means that if you have, say, an XM satellite radio, or a GM, Toyota, Honda or VW vehicle with XM built in and activated, you MUST stay on an XM account and not be transitioned if you want both satellite and online streaming from SiriusXM. Adding online streaming to a satellite radio account is much, much cheaper than having separate accounts for each.

    So, for more than half of the 18 million + satellite subscribers that are on the XM side (and growing, since oddly, there are no new sirius radios in production), having a separate sirius-side account for streaming would not make sense.

    I’m an XM subscriber, and also patiently waiting for a Pulsar update to fix my inability to log in. Thanks for all the work you’re doing. YOur products are awesome, and Pulsar is far away the best way to listen to siriusXM.

  20. Brandon says:

    Yeh, this auth business is a bit odd because it’s been looking to me for the past year like S|XM was positioning things so that the existing satellite business used the XM name and new technologies (video is one I’ve seen mention of) were using the Sirius name.

    Alsp, “no longer making Sirius radios” is true only in name: the SkyDock gets the XM channel lineup, but the actual radio and antenna are Sirius (see for example the warnings on the website and in its manual about XM antennas not being compatible… then go look at the compatibility list for its antenna and wired FM adapter) and apparently receive from the Sirius satellites. It will be interesting to see if the Android-based stuff that’s apparently in progress will do the same or go back to the XM constellation.

  21. Michael G says:

    I have an XM account and I like others can’t use my account with Pulsar. I did notice a link in the app to sign up for a free trial, so I did just that and I can listen to SiriusXM again :) Hopefully the issues will be resolved before the trial expires…

  22. Scared Poet says:

    @Brandon: per the SiriusXM radio store FAQW on the skydock:

    Q: How does the XM SkyDock receive SIRIUS|XM programming?
    A: The XM SkyDock has a built-in XM Tuner. It is an XM Satellite Radio controlled by your iPod touch or iPhone using the Free XM SkyDock App available from the App store.

    Q: What SIRIUS|XM content can I receive using the XM SkyDock?
    A: Using XM SkyDock, you can listen to every channel available on XM with an “XM Everything” subscription. You can also add “The Best of SIRIUS” to enjoy premium channels from the SIRIUS lineup. You can also subscribe to other XM programming packages, including Family Friendly.

    Q: Can I activate XM SkyDock with a SIRIUS subscription?
    A: The XM SkyDock operates on the XM network and requires an XM subscription.

    See: http://goo.gl/0itRE

    If the SkyDock is really a Sirius receiver, then really botched it up good, because apparently it’s on XM’s billing system and its users will likely have the same issues with Pulsar.

    That said, I will correct myself: there ARE still Sirius receivers being manufactured, but they’re built-in units on Ford, Chrysler, Kia, and a few other vehicle brands.

  23. Brandon says:

    @Scared Poet: where the billing happens is completely orthogonal to what the receiving hardware is, but does affect the lineup, I suspect, because the activation codes they transmit are tied to billing. Likewise, while it may well be Sirius hardware in those cars, at least one of them started advertising it as XM — not Sirius, not SiriusXM — when the current model year started.

  24. Paul Kafasis says:

    Scared Poet: Ah, that’d make sense. I dunno what percentage of Pulsar folks have XM hardware, but it’s obviously significant enough. Well, we’ll keep plugging away, and hope to have an update soon.

  25. Brandon says:

    P.S. that’s not “botched up”, it’s just recognizing that a firmware tweak is cheaper than retooling and much cheaper than tossing whatever inventory of Sirius radio internals (decoder, etc.) the manufacturers have. But yes, the billing system thing is exactly what I was talking about being “a bit odd” as anyone who tries to use Online based on an account for a 2011 Chrysler is going to be unhappy.

  26. NIck says:

    FWIW, if you sign up for a 7-day trial of Internet streaming on the SiriusXM site, it works. I notice that with the trial, you get the Sirius channel lineup, but if the Internet streaming is tied to your XM account, you get the XM lineup which doesn’t work.
    As a longer term solution, if you sign up for a streaming account that is not tied to a radio but still tied to your account, it also works because it gives you the Sirius lineup. It’s $8.99 versus $2.99, but you get all the premium channels and at least it works with Pulsar. When the gurus here at Rogue Amoeba figure it out, you can switch back to your XM-tied account.

  27. NIck says:

    P.S.: Don’t try recording any long-format shows unattended off the SiriusXM web interface. I learned the hard way it throws up an “are you still there” prompt after 90 minutes and logs you off. Learned this after coming up with an elaborate Automator routine on the Mac to log into the website and select a channel.

  28. Scott says:

    Now it doesn’t work at all. Great.

  29. Tom in CO says:

    Guys really appreciate the candid answers… good luck updating, mine is still down.

    Good news is that my Integra DTR 40.1 now works with SiriusXM :)

  30. John Watson says:

    Paul, what email address should I use to get in touch?

    John Watson

  31. Rodney Haydon says:

    I am missing Pulsar so much! Pulsar doesn’t suck, but the flash app that SXm uses sure does!
    Cuts in and out, or just stops!
    Any ETA for us XM users?



  32. Jeff says:

    @Nick, there is a little program for windows and I think mac called Caffeine and what it does is tricks your computer to thinking every 90 seconds that a “key” is hit on the keyboard so that you dont become idle or go into sleep mode. Very cool and free program.

  33. Brandon says:

    @Jeff I’ve had the crapplet decide to time out while I’m busy typing elsewhere; it’s interested in the browser being active (and possibly the crapplet itself.)

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