Unfortunately, it looks like Niveus may have closed up shop. Their web site is now offline (read: password protected), and as a result, you can no longer download this add-in.
While many outlets have been talking about Windows Media Center’s imminent demise, we continue to explore new and tried uses and opportunities for using Media Center as your home media hub. One lesser-known add-in for Media Center is Niveus Media’s SiriusXM Radio app. Remember Niveus? They used to make high-end Media Center PCs, customized and largely targeted to the integrator market. Now they…well…we don’t know what they do now. Two years ago they were talking about new around-the-home media solutions, but nothing much seems to have come from that. Except a nice add-in that brings your SiriusXM service to Media Center.
You can download the add-in directly from their site at www.niveus.com. Two links at the top of the page let you download Niveus SiriusXM Radio for Windows Media Center or for Windows 8 Media Center (make sure you choose the right one). Media Center no longer appears to be on Niveus’ roadmap, so this is likely the last add-in we’ll see from Niveus’ development team that once specialized in Media Center customization. Nonetheless, it’s a great way of enjoying your existing SiriusXM Radio subscription in your entertainment center—controlled directly with your remote and without any special hardware.
Setup is simple: Just download the proper version and install it in Windows. You should shut down Media Center before running the installation program. You’ll be prompted for your SiriusXM login credentials. Note that you must have a plan that includes SXM Internet Radio. If you don’t, it usually adds a few more dollars a month to your subscription rate, and SiriusXM lets you upgrade your existing plans without any penalty.
The SiriusXM add-in is added to your Extras Library in Media Center, so if you want it to appear on your Media Center Start menu, you’ll want to right-click on it (or press Info on your remote), and select Add to Start Menu.
Thankfully, the add-in adopts the look and feel of Media Center nicely, though one might recognize they took some unnecessary (and arguably annoying) liberties with navigation and animations. Regardless, you get full access to your complete SiriusXM station lineup, either in its entirety or broken down by genre/category. You can also identify favorite stations, which appear in a readily-accessible Favorites view.
Each station is represented by a logo tile, and a pop-up panel shows information about the station—though, sadly, no information about what’s currently playing on that station. Select a station, choose Play, and a Now Playing view will show the current station logo and information about the current song and artist. You can back out of the app, and the selected station will continue to play.
Audio quality is very good—certainly better than we’re used to from Sirius Radio in most cars. The stream doesn’t seem to suffer from any of the audio artifacts often heard on satellite receivers and, of course, no blackouts under dense tree cover!
If you’re a SiriusXM subscriber or have been looking for a good music service solution for Media Center, The Niveus SiriusXM add-in may be perfect for you. And the price is right: it’s free! Give it a try, and let us know what you think.