I would like to revisit a queston that has been asked before. I am considering purchasing an FM traffic antenna for my Garmin 2720 and wonder if anyone finds them worth the investment.
I really like my SP2720. But the antenna and yearly service is not cheap, so I have delayed. Good question Gerry.
I live in Redondo Beach California about 15 minuets from LAX. I have a garmin 660 in one car and a 670 in my SUV. They both came with an FM traffic antenna and is remarkably accurate. I can tell if I have a couple of minuets delay or if a highway is closed in which case I will be rerouted. The subscription is very reasonable and would keep it at five times the price. Prior to my Nuvi’s I had Onstar or should I say arrogantstar, if you have ever dealt with there customer service (what a piece of s#&T). So for me in the Los Angeles area it works great. You might try looking for an aftermarket part at somewhere like mountguys
Recently bought a Nuvi 660 that included traffic receiver. I live in Phoenix and it has rerouted me around traffic and saved me a tremendous amount of time already.
The 3-month trial period of my Nuvi 660 expired yesterday and I renewed it right away. I thought the price ($60) is reasonable for one year. Most importantly, I found it is useful in Boston area. The traffic information is integrated with routing.
For me, it's not. I live at minimum 2 hours away from anywhere the service is even available - and I rarely go there - so, for me, the answer is no, it's not worth it.
If you live in an area where the service is available, then you have to use it during the free trial that comes with a new GPSr or traffic receiver kit, and then when the trial is near and end, you can decide if using the service has saved you enough time and provided you with a large enough decrease in aggravation from being stuck in traffic to make it worth the price you pay...and that's something only you can decide for yourself.
I don't have any experience with the FM Traffic, but I do have the XM Traffic antenna and must say it is next to useless.
I used it on a round trip from Maryland to the Florida keys, and it only seemed to give me accurate info one time on the entire trip.
The subscription for XM Traffic is $4/month in addition the the required subscription to the XM radio service.
I personally think that all of the traffic services have a long way to go in improving their reporting.
Of course, they all rely upon reporters and individuals to call in problems, so it's is not a perfect system.
I really like the idea and the potential, and keep my subscription in hopes that the reporting will improve as time goes by.
Yes, I think that makes sense, a big key is where you live and if you are in an large metopolitan area that would make it more useful.
I agree, they're not perfect. However, Garmin uses Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network and they employ traffic cameras and aerial coverage (helicopters and planes) in addition to their reporters to augment traffic status. This service is also employed by BMW, Nextel, Verizon SMS, Kenwood Electronics, Tom Tom Navigator GPS, MSN Autos, MapPoint, Cingular QPass, ATX, AAA, Rand McNally, Weatherbug, Microsoft SPOT, Siemens VDO, AudioVox, Mio Technology and Cobra. Avis and Budget also launched "Where 2" in car navigation using Garmin C550 with traffic service.
Given the wide-usage of Total Traffic Network service, it's a matter of time before the traffic reports get better and more real-time. So Garmin made a good decision to partner with TTN.
I've only had 660 for a short time, but already benefitted from the service in the Phoenix-area. I'm going to test it on my next trips to Boston and Southern California.
For me, I'm definitely going to keep the service after the trial period.
If you want to know how good the data in any given covered locale will be, just listen to the Clear Channel station in the particular market that promotes itself as being "the" traffic information source - what they give on the air is what you will likely see on your GPSr...so if what you hear on the radio is good, what you see on the GPSr should be just as good.
If you live in a major metropolitan area, it is an essential part of your traffic avoidance routine. It advises of delays and routes you around. My free period is ending soon and I'll be sure to renew.
I have used the MSN direct for about three months now on my Nuvi 680 and would not ever be without it. I find in the Washington, DC area that the traffic reports are pretty accurate but the amount of the delay that is indicated is not. For example, went from Northern Virginia across the Woodrow Wilson bridge on a Friday afternoon (Big Mistake!) The traffic congestion was shown and gave an approximate delay of 4 minutes. NOT! Delay was right where it said but delay time was almost 30 minutes. If I had been clever about it I would have taken the route through downtown DC in the Third Street Tunnel. The Nuvi showed no congestion there but I figured the 4 minute delay over the WW Bridge was better than going through downtown.
I also like the weather reports, gas prices and movie schedule that is provided. Movie schedule is great when out of town and looking for a show which my wife and I often do.
Subscription price to MSN Direct is pretty reasonable (in my opinion). As I recall the lifetime subscription is $129.95. I am using my free 12 month subscription then I plan to pay the $129.95 for lifetime.
As others have mentioned if you don't have service in your area it will not be worthwhile and if you have service but not a lot of traffic congestion then the decision to be made is, is the weather, gas price and movie schedule worth the price.
Just my $0.02 worth.
is there a website you can go to to see the coverage areas?
Look at this web site: http://realtimetraffic.net/
I love my traffic receiver. I have a nuvi 360 and drive to florida 3 - 4 times a year. i t is great in the Balt/DC - Richmond area.
I do the FL trip also from Houston, but looking at the coverage, I'd get Houston and New Orleans and thats it, the rest i am on my own.
I haven't dug into this enough can someone tell me the cost?
My research on the selection of my GPS was heavily based from GPS magazine (plus a few others). There, Fletch discussed the differences between two services:
MSN Direct receives its traffic information from traffic.com, which is currently being acquired by NAVTEQ. Traffic.com gathers most of its traffic data via road sensors. The nuvi 660, StreetPilot c550, Zumo, and most of Garmin's other GPS units use TMC traffic to receive ClearChannel's real-time traffic data via FM. Unlike MSN Direct's traffic data, ClearChannel's data is provided by Inrix, whose traffic coverage is (currently) more extensive than traffic.com's. Inrix gathers traffic flow data from more than 500,000 commercial, delivery and taxi vehicles across the U.S., and also collects additional traffic details such as construction and road closures, real-time incidents, sporting events, weather forecasts and school schedules.
That said, MSN Direct's traffic service provides more information about traffic problems around you. So instead of just notifying you of traffic ahead, MSN Direct will prompt the nuvi to say something like "1 incident on your route. 15 minute delay." With MSN Direct's traffic data, you'll have an idea of how long a delay is ahead of you.
So, in essence, although ClearChannel's TMC traffic data (provided by Inrix) provides greater coverage, MSN Direct's traffic data (provided by traffic.com) provides additional useful information about traffic delays. Coverage may or may not be an issue for you, depending where you live. You can check local coverage of both service by visiting Inrix (nuvi 660 and other Garmin units) and traffic.com's (MSN Direct) coverage pages. Garmin has also built a page that lets you lookup your zip code or city name and see if it's within MSN Direct coverage.
I think they're both good, provided you live in an area of coverage. And I'm definitely renewing my TMC traffic service.
My biggest gripe is with Garmin. They include a FULL year of MSN Direct service for free with the nuvi 680. After that, it's $50/year or you can go with the lifetime option for $130. Whereas it's only 90-days, $60 annual and NO lifetime option with TMC traffic.
Oh well, can't win'em all
Yes, check msndirect.com and you can view their coverage.
I have a nuvi 660 with a GTM-20 antenna in the northern VA area. It is just 3 months old. For the past 6 weeks or so I've noticed that I only had occasional connections to the clear channel traffic, but the antenna kept cycling from red to amber, with only very occasional green. Finally, it wouldn't cycle to green at all. I emailed Garmin and they've agreed to replace my apparently defective antenna. I've been on travel so I won't ship it until tomorrow. Two options: Immediate Shipment Exchange - they can ship a replacement immediately and charge my credit card the list price (about $214) and then back the charge out when they receive my antenna back; or Future Shipment Exchange - they can ship an antenna to me when they receive mine (with about a 7-14 day lag) but no charge to my account. I chose the latter.
Is this service available in Canada?
Has anyone had luck finding the receiver on ebay..or does that mean you don't the the annual option. Almost makes me want to get the Nuvi 680 and sell my 350
You need a GTM-12 receiver - and I found 6 on auction and 20 in stores on Ebay just now.
Worked great for me in northern NJ. My free sub elapsed recently but I will definitely renew.
I live in the Baltimore-DC area and its definitely worth it.
I'm in the Detroit area, and the traffic antenna on the 660 is working fine here. I've been getting construction updates regularly. Last night had to drive in rush hour, and got plenty of warning about upcoming traffic delays as well. I'll definitely renew when the 3 months is up.
Thanks for the tip..I'll check it out..at only 96 including shipping..that seems like a good deal.
Is the FM traffic service for major interstates and highways? Or does it cover all roads except side streets?
Provided you do most of your traveling in a coverage area. It has come in handy several times, around my local area.
I recently made a trip from Tx to NY with stops in NJ and PA. It came in handy there as well.
It also was useful going through Nashville and Memphis. Parts of I-40 had slow traffic due to construction. The traffic info told me where the slow down was...from exit # to exit #.
Sometimes the info is outdated, same as if you listened to a radio broadcast and the dj says there's an accident - when you get there, the area is clear.
The receiver can only receive and inform us of the info that's broadcast to it.
All in all, I utilize the service and paid for the subscription before my free three months were up.
I think they are a great idea.
When I travel to an unfamiliar city, it is nice to know ahead of time about a malfunction ahead.
And it works for you ok?
I think the concensus is that if you are in an area that is served by the network that it covers, is is a bargain and well worth it and if you are not, it isn't.
In the northern VA area my experience is that it only covers the MAJOR roads, and that pseudo-major roads' backups/problems don't get coverage. I've learned more from traffic on news radio in many instances. Nonetheless, I've found the information it does provide is useful, and I just started my post-freebie subscription.
SNIP . . . or Future Shipment Exchange - they can ship an antenna to me when they receive mine (with about a 7-14 day lag) but no charge to my account. I chose the latter.
Just remember that your GTM-20 is also your power cord. So, unless you have another power cord, you're going to loose the use of your GPS while you wait for your replacement.
This weekend, my GTM-20 got hung up in the door of my vehicle and all the little parts came shooting out. I was able to recover all of them except for the little metal tip on the end. I tried scavanging one from other power cords but none would fit. Instead of paying over $200 for a new one, I ended up modifying a pop rivet to act as the positive contact. It seems to work fine.
I also ordered a plain jane power cord ($28) for future emergencies since I use my c550 on the road every week for work.
Actually, there are several alternatives.
1. Run it on battery and recharge it vis USB port when you get home.
2. If you have an adapter that can plug into both AC or Cigarette lighter with a mini-USB plug on the other end (like the one I got for travel for my Motorola RAZR), you can use it & charge it while driving.
3. Charge it (and use it) using your USB host. I sometimes charge my phone or bluetooth headset by connecting to my laptop while I'm flying (like today).
4. Vector 100Watt Slim Inverter Converts Vehicle's DC Power to Household AC power $22.99 At Costco. With this you can use your house charger, it came with one of Those right?. With an Inverter you can charge your GPS, cell phone, laptop or anything that is a small device.
I HAVE HAD MY FM ANTENA NOW FOR 2 MONTHS. IT DOES PICK UP ROAD WORK. YET TO SEE AN ACCIDENT REPORTED ON MY GPS. FOR THE PRICE TAG OF $150.00 I THINK IS A LITTLE HIGH. THE ONLY REASON THAT I PAID $150.00 IS TO SEE IF IT REALLY WORKED AND IT COMES WITH A FREE 15 MONTH SUBSCRIPTION. RIGHT NOW WHEN MY FREE MEMBERSHIP IS UP. I REFUSE TO PAY $60.00 A YEAR FOR A SERVICE THAT SHOULD BE FREE.
I've found myself sitting in traffic too many times, although I wouldn't want to go without it.
The service in some areas is better than others. Here in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, the reception is so-so, and the quality and accuracy of the reports varies widely.
When I have traveled to DC, I've noticed much better coverage with more timely information. However, I believe that DC has in the roadbed sensors that also provide data to the system.
All of that being said, I do have a GTM-10 receiver that worked well with my 2720. I believe (don't quote me) that it will function just like a new unit with someone else's 2720 and give them 15 months of "free" service. If anyone is interested in buying it from me, let me know. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have it on my 2820. It only work on freeway tracffic, not local. So if you travel major on freeway, it's worth the money. Otherwise, no!
Does that mean that it only works in major cities and on freeways only, so if there is a traffic problem it can only divert to other freeways and not local streest? Wow, I think I'll forget about it.
It'll only pick up traffic problems on the major streets/highways. It will divert you to local streets if those make sense. But it won't tell you how clobbered those streets are.
Most large cities, and major roadways (check the coverage map). If there is a problem on the Interstate for example, you can elect to be routed around the problem. In which case, you will probably be taken on side/secondary streets and re-routed back to the Interstate.
Not sure by what you mean about "only divert to other freeways and not local streets".
I have the XM antenna attached to my SP2820 and I like it, but it doesn't give great traffic data at all for the DFW area. Channel 225 gives up to the date traffic tips but those same accidents aren't passed along to the traffic piece of the GPS.
The weather warnings and info makes it worth the extra $$, not the traffic.
I heard that the FM receiver is WAY better than the XM antenna.
I bought the fm antenna from Garmin when I bought my #7200 Unit. I think it came with a free 6 months or one year subscription. It works four or five days a week here in Southeastern Virginia(Hampton Area). It didn,t seem that great. But when I go up the Eastern Shore RT 13 to New York it,s great works all the time, especially in the New York Metro Area.
I got one for the nuvi 360 last week and I haven't NOT had a signal yet when I loaded it up.
My only beef is that when I put in a destination, it often routes me to a highway w/traffic (only yellow rating so far, haven't seen any red) so I need to click the yellow sign, click avoid, and re-route.
A lot of times the NEW route will also go to a traffic area, just a different one, so I repeat the process. It'd be nice if there was a setting that just automatically rerouted you around whichever level of traffic you wanted to always avoid (red, yellow, or green).
That and it doesn't seem to report traffic on non-highways - it even seems to ignore really busy streets in downtown Chicago (Ogden Ave, Madison, and others) that often get jammed up.
It's great when you're going somewhere unfamiliar, or traveling unfamiliar highways, but if you know the area and the usual traffic patterns then you probably already know the best way around that traffic yourself.
Also mine came w/a 15 month subscription. Stuck it to the windshield, turned it on, and I was ready to go. I liked that there wasn't any sort of "activation process" right out of the box.
... Subscription price to MSN Direct is pretty reasonable (in my opinion). As I recall the lifetime subscription is $129.95. I am using my free 12 month subscription then I plan to pay the $129.95 for lifetime.
Not exactly lifetime. There is a disclaimer that says the service is not guaranteed after Jan 1, 2012. But you still save about $95 by the time it expires. A pretty good deal actually.
I heard the exact opposite.
I guess it all in the "Ear of the beholder."
I dont' have any experience with the FM Traffic as I only have the XM NavTraffic.
As I said, I personally think it has a way to go to make it essential.
But based on comments from many user on many forums, It seems like everyone WANTS all of these traffic services to work. So there is definately a "need/desire" for the services. So I think that the companies will strife to improve the reporting.
it should continue to get better
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