XM

Latest

  • XM / Sirius to offer new pricing schemes after merger

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    03.21.2007

    We already know just how "priceless" the XM / Sirius merger will be, that your current radio will probably still function just fine, and that both firms are still facing legal heat in one way or another, but we hadn't heard just how the newlyweds would handle the pricing of the new service -- until now. In a decision sure to make a few people elated while giving a hint of suspicion to most others, the merged company will offer customers a package that includes "less channels" at a monthly price lower than $12.95, one that seems "substantially similar" for exactly $12.95, and finally, a third option that touts even more channels for "a modest premium." We can only assume that the pricey third alternative will boast a nice mixture of both companies' existing lineups, but unfortunately, it also leaves open the possibility that the cheaper two options might exemplify the "you only get what you pay for" tagline.[Thanks, Frankenstein B.]

  • NAB still yukking it up at Sirius / XM merger's expense

    by 
    Paul Miller
    Paul Miller
    03.20.2007

    Since MasterCard wasn't so hip with NAB swiping its "priceless" advertising identity, the National Association of Broadcasters has returned for round two of its anti-satellite radio merger campaign, this time to point out the apparent hypocrisy (above) of Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin's "bizarre" self-contradictions. Sure, it might be pretty clear that the consumers win with a Sirius / XM merger, and NAB is probably being the one getting all anti-competitive on us here, but that doesn't mean we can't all get a few cheap laughs out of it all the same.

  • XM and Sirius face lawsuit from patent-holding Keystone Autonics

    by 
    Ryan Block
    Ryan Block
    03.20.2007

    Already the second bit of bad news for XM / Sirius this week: Austin biz Keystone Autonics is suing both companies for infringement of a patent issued Keystone's George Hindman earlier this year. (Sorry, we couldn't find it on the USPTO site or Google Patent Search -- one of you eagle-eyed readers wanna spot us one?) According to The Street, the patent is a modification of an earlier patent (also granted Hindman), which applies to satellite radios (as well as CD players and analog radios) that input and display wireless data from satellite sources. Apparently the suit claims GPS, location-based services, and crash and theft detection all owe the patent some due, so it's likely Hindman & Co. will start swarming all sorts of businesses if they can wrestle a settlement free from XM and Sirius.[Via Orbitcast]Read - The Street writeupRead - Federal Court filings

  • NAB ripping off MasterCard with anti-Sirius/XM merger ad: priceless.

    by 
    Adam Nielson
    Adam Nielson
    03.19.2007

    Not only is the NAB getting its own panties all up in a bunch over the looming threat of a satellite radio "monopoly", it has also managed to wedgie-fy MasterCard's britches, too. A new anti-Sirius / XM merger copycat ad of MC's signature "Priceless" campaign has been making the rounds -- the irony apparently lost on on the NAB that hiring a would-be-lobbyist for the other side and knocking off someone else's ad campaign smells very much of bad business. It's no surprise that MasterCard cried copyright infringement, which prompted the NAB to stop running the ad altogether. Michelle Lehman, the NAB's EVP of Marketing and Communications and Regulatory Affairs, confirms the cessation but also points out that the ad's already gotten a bunch of attention anyway. NAB losing its cool and cred in front of the industry? Now that's priceless.[Via Orbitcast]

  • Bose Media System crams GPS / media playback into your dash

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    03.09.2007

    Although Bose has become somewhat of a mainstay in the iPod speaker / overpriced headphone departments, the always controversial firm is kicking out a new device suited for your vehicle's dash. The simply-named Bose Media System head unit looks to replace that entirely antiquated cassette player you're still using, and offers up a solid mix of abilities all the while. Aside from the obvious navigation and CD playback functions, the universal player will also handle SACD, DVD-A, MP3, and AAC files burned onto a CD / DVD-R, and can also tune into XM (and Sirius?) broadcasts when not locked onto AM / FM transmissions. You'll also be graced with 5.1 playback, the uMusic mood-sensing system, proximity control sensors, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, USB 2.0 input for portable media access, and in typical Bose fashion, a mysteriously sized hard drive that reportedly holds "up to 200 hours" of content. Of course, don't expect Bose to divulge any details regarding wattage, screen specifications, or any other tidbit that could be helpful in weighing your in-dash options, but folks eying the forthcoming Ferrari 612 Scaglietti can expect it to debut in their ride for a currently undisclosed price.

  • John Ashcroft lobbying for NAB after being rebuffed by XM

    by 
    Evan Blass
    Evan Blass
    03.05.2007

    So it looks like controversial former Attorney General John Ashcroft is using his remaining influence in the Justice Department to lobby on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters against the proposed satellite radio merger -- though it seems that he's acting more out of self-interest than anti-trust ideology in this debate, as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Ashcroft's consulting firm initially approached XM before eventually being hired by NAB. As you might imagine, then, Ashcroft's letter the House and Senate Judiciary Committees was decidedly anti-amalgamation, concluding that "the proposed Sirius/XM merger, which reduces the number of competitors from two to one, raises most serious competition concerns." Of course, now that everyone knows Ashcroft originally intended to shill for XM before NAB "opted to pay him to parrot their views" (according to an XM spokesperson), his "professional opinion" on the matter will probably hold decidedly less weight. Still, the WSJ revelation apparently didn't stop Ashcroft from enjoying his weekend, where at various times he was spotted listening to his iPod, jamming out to HD radio, streaming NPR over the Internet, and of course nodding in agreement as Rush Limbaugh espoused his opinions over the free analog airwaves.

  • XM Radio Canada introduces online radio fees

    by 
    Conrad Quilty-Harper
    Conrad Quilty-Harper
    03.03.2007

    In an oddly timed announcement considering all the confusion surrounding the XM hearts Sirius affair, XM Radio Canada is to introduce fees for the online contingent of its radio service. Previously, XM Radio Canada subscribers could access XM stations for free on a Mac or PC: from September 1 this year, it'll cost new subscribers $9.99CAD per month, with existing subscribers having to pay $1CAD a month until September 1 2008 when the fees will increase to the full $9.99CAD a month. At that point, existing subscribers will either have to pay $22.98 a month for the same service that they currently get for $12.99, or lose the ability to access XM online, bringing whole new meaning to Bernard Shaw's phrase "Progress is impossible without change." It's worth noting that XM Satellite Radio in the US isn't the operator of XM Radio Canada: XM Radio Canada is in fact a fully owned subsidiary of Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (of which XMSR owns 23%) which owns an exclusive 15 year license to use the XM brand name. Hopefully none of the companies involved will feel the need to take out an ad campaign over this "addition," although we would obviously sympathize if any angry canucks do.[Via Orbicast]

  • XM and Sirius offer reassurance regarding existing radios

    by 
    Conrad Quilty-Harper
    Conrad Quilty-Harper
    03.03.2007

    Whilst raising the prospect of having Howard and Oprah on the same set, the announcement of a merger between Sirius and XM may also have presented the unappealing possibility that radio sets bought before the merger would become obsolete and stop functioning after the two companies joined. Not so: the two companies have made a statement to current XM and Sirius subscribers to say that current radios will work just fine after the two companies become one. This pledge comes after the companies asserted that owners of old kit wouldn't be left out in the cold in a recent conference call with analysts. As well as reassuring stock price influencing analysts -- both XM and Sirius's stock prices dropped recently due to concern regarding backwards compatibility and potential monopoly issues -- the soon-to-be-merged companies are carrying out ad campaigns (including a full page open letter in USA Today) to let current customers know that they will be able to tap into new programming once it becomes available. Now that that's out of the way, let the speculation about the name of the system after "merger day" begin: we think "Xirium" has got a certain ring to it.

  • Sirius' and XM's merger presentation revealed

    by 
    Paul Miller
    Paul Miller
    02.21.2007

    Brace yourself: corporate speak ahead. We normally aren't in for all this "cost synergies" and "roadmap" hogwash that all the suits seem to get so hot for, but when it comes to a merger of two cutthroat competitors like this, we couldn't help but take a peek. Other than the technology improvements we mentioned, there isn't much talk about consumer benefits in here, and there's absolutely no mention of creating some sort of single satellite radio provider, just the power of combined resources. Most of the talk is directed at shareholders and those "synergies" that help out the bottom line -- to the tune of an estimated $3-7 billion in savings, though a $4 billion "flex" does seem to cast a bit of doubt on those numbers. The rest of the slides deal with plans for getting regulatory approval, which basically amount to arguing the case of intense competition from radio, iPods and other emerging wireless standards (see above). That said, XM and Sirius seem quite confident of success on the regulatory end of things, and look to have put a quite a bit of thought into it. Pending approval from the feds, along with respective shareholder go-ahead, XM and Sirius plan on sealing the deal by the end of 2007.%Gallery-1735%

  • It's official: XM and Sirius plan to tie the knot

    by 
    Evan Blass
    Evan Blass
    02.19.2007

    It's been more than two years since we first reported that XM and Sirius were in talks to merge, and although the New York Post may have jumped the gun a bit way back then, it was certainly on the money today, as the two satellite radio pioneers have just issued a joint press release stating their intention to become life partners. In the proposed $13 billion deal -- which they'd like to go down by the end of the year but which still must pass rather daunting regulatory scrutiny and opposition from such heavyweights as the National Association of Broadcasters -- investors would get 4.6 shares of Sirius stock for each share of XM, with current Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin and XM Chairman Gary Parsons retaining those roles, respectively, in the combined entity (whose name has yet to be decided). As you might imagine, the companies are already trying to spin this as a big win for everyone from Martha Stewart on down, arguing that consumers will end up benefiting from more programming choices and better hardware, manufacturers and retailers will see increased sales, and of course shareholders would gain value through the economies of scale and elimination of redundancies realized from a merger. The new pals also took an opportunity to sneak in a mention about the growing number of choices consumers have for receiving audio content, from old school AM/FM to internet radio to the the still-nascent technologies of cellphone streaming and HD radio, clearly hoping to sway public opinion on that whole anti-trust thing. Still, keep in mind that the FCC is gonna be taking a long, hard look at this one -- in fact, current regulations would need to be changed in order for the merger to gain approval -- so don't get your celebratin' started just yet.Update: Just in case there was any confusion, both companies will continue to operate independently until such time as a merger is approved, meaning that you needn't fear losing your precious sat feed out of the blue. And even if everything goes according to plan, we highly doubt that your current gear will stop working or that you'll even see an interruption in your service whatsoever.

  • Sirius and XM set to merge?

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    02.19.2007

    Well, we can't exactly say that we didn't see this one coming, but for the deal to actually get inked would indeed be something special. According to the New York Post, Sirius and XM are all set to announce a merger deal after hammering out details all weekend long. Of course, it was noted that the somewhat shaky agreement "could fall apart at any time," and interestingly enough, both companies purportedly spent the majority of their (and their lawyers) time ironing out the good stuff while leaving "regulatory concerns" on the back burner. Unfortunately, those very issues could be insurmountable hurdles, as the typically stubborn FCC certainly has played hard ball with each company before, and having one overriding satellite provider with no competition in sight is ripe for monopoly arguments. Regardless, you won't find us complaining about a little Howard just a few channels down from Oprah, or a dash of MLB just a dozen notches from the NFL, but considering that gaining that oh-so-critical regulatory approval "could take up to 15 months," we wouldn't count on your lineup changing anytime soon no matter what.

  • Judge rules in favor of RIAA, XM ready for battle

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    01.19.2007

    Not like this is altogether surprising by any means, but a US District Judge has ruled that a lawsuit in which "record companies allege XM Radio is cheating them by letting consumers store songs can proceed toward trial." Deborah A. Batts has decided to not throw out the case which Atlantic, BMG Music, Capitol Records, and "other music distribution companies" filed against XM, and claims that the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 does "not protect the company in this instance." Essentially, the judge ruled that special handheld recording devices, marketed as XM+MP3 players (you know, like the Inno), are not at all like "radio-cassette players," and then proceeded to explain how "recording songs played over free radio doesn't threaten the market for copyrighted works as does the use of a recorder which stores songs from private radio broadcasts." Aside from our apparent inability to understand why source A is less illegal than source B, we're completely on the same page with Ms. Batts, but nevertheless, she also asserted that XM is attempting to be "both a broadcaster and a distributor, while only paying to be the former," but completely disregards the extra fees that satellite radio firms pay to record labels in comparison to "free" stations. But if you think XM is downtrodden, you'd be sorely mistaken, as the company simply stated that it "looked forward to making its case (read: winning) in court." Now that's the spirit.[Via Orbitcast]

  • Gibson goes wild, unveils new consumer electronics lineup

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    01.19.2007

    While a company not typically associated with consumer electronics can make the leap at any point, it's usually a relatively modest entrance, but Gibson has apparently had a bit too much fun at NAMM, and has thrown its logo on just about every device it could think of in the process. You won't find much of anything new in Gibson's lineup of consumer electronics, but if you're a Gibson purist and live life one riff at a time, these goods are for you. The company announced its own line of USB 2.0 Gibson Signature Series Les Paul flash drives, which currently come in a 1GB flavor and mimics a 1959 Les Paul Standard, and the firm plans to roll out more collectible drives shaped like other classic instruments in the future. Additionally, a 500GB external HDD was released, boasting USB 2.0 and a glowing Gibson logo on the side, and it seems that the firm is looking to snag a bit of that high-end interconnect market by offering up "premium gold" versions of optical audio, USB, and HDMI cables. Also on tap was a 7.1 AV receiver with a built-in guitar input, XM capability, and HDMI 1.3 video switching, various forms of recordable media, a dual-layer DVD recorder, surge protectors, and a few home theater speakers to boot. Although pricing is still up in the air at this point, it looks like you'll have the opportunity to get your external storage, surround sound gear, and a few spare E-strings all at the same place here soon.[Via Macworld]

  • Senators pushing for more limitations on internet / satellite radio recording

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    01.15.2007

    It seems that satellite radio just can't catch a break, as the RIAA and its indirect constituents apparently have a perpetual target set on crippling services associated with recording content. Yet again satellite radio (along with internet radio) is under fire, and this time a number of senators are pushing "rules embedded in a copyright bill, called the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act," which could "restrict listeners' ability to record and play back individual songs." Furthermore, the act calls for streams to be laced with "reasonably available copy-protection" so that timeshifting material becomes next to impossible (and illegal, too), and that portable recording devices such as the much-debated XM Inno and Sirius S50 would no longer allow "automatic recording." The reasoning stems from a belief that satellite / internet radio should still be a "passive experience," presumably forcing us to look backwards rather than forward in radio technologies, and proponents of the agenda somehow insinuate that enforcing these rules will curb "music theft." Unsurprisingly, the RIAA "applauded the effort and urged Congress to make passing the legislation a top priority this year," while most everyone else on the planet (including spokespersons for XM and the Home Recording Rights Coalition) is balking at what would potentially make satellite / internet radio less accessible to desiring consumers. While we've no idea how quickly action will be taken on these newly surfaced guidelines, we can all rest assured that our representatives will devote every waking hour to this here issue until it's finalized and implemented, at least if the RIAA has anything to do with it.

  • Jensen unveils NVXM1000 "Rock-n-Road" XM/GPS nav system

    by 
    Donald Melanson
    Donald Melanson
    01.12.2007

    Jensen looks to have walked into CES with its clever hat on, showing off its new NVXM1000 "Rock-n-Road" XM/GPS combo unit, which the folks at Orbitcast got a chance to check out and snap some pics of. Specs-wise, the unit definitely looks to bring the goods, with a 4-inch touchscreen display Orbitcast describes as "beautiful," an 8GB hard drive you can load up with MP3s, 11 million pre-loaded points of interest, and turn-by-turn voice prompts in no less than 12 different languages. The XM side of the equation comes courtesy of the unit's XM Mini Tuner slot, though it seems you'll have to fork over the $30 for the tuner itself separately. Optional accessories include a rear-view camera to watch your back and an FM modulator to pump tunes and voice directions through your vehicle's speaker system. Look for this one sometime this spring for an even $1,000.

  • Audiovox shows off DV7600XM XM Mini-Tuner home theater system

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    01.11.2007

    Audiovox is broadening its XM love from the portable / in-car units to a home theater in-a-box with its DV7600XM XM Mini-Tuner home theater system. This all-in-one solution features 600-watts of earth-movin' power, five satellite cubes, a passive subwoofer, and a slim, retro-styled DVD player / XM tuner. While we assume you'll find the usual assortment of AV ins and outs, there's not too many details floating around on this one just yet, but if you're scouting a 5.1 system with a dash of XM already throw in, the DV7600XM should go for $159.95 when it skedaddles on out of CES.

  • XM kicks out CommanderMT for your ride, supports Mini-Tuner

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    01.11.2007

    If you're going to have a little Mini-Tuner love going on in your crib, you can't just leave your vehicle hung out to dry, and now XM's dishing out the CommanderMT to bring the tunes with you while you travel. The sleek, black unit is purportedly designed to be integrated into your dash, and the Mini-Tuner design removes the need to actually carry your Commander with you when you exit the vehicle. It's also universal in nature, so it delivers the XM channels to your car stereo via FM, for better or (likely) worse. Possibly designed for folks looking to keep their existing head unit but add XM capabilities, the unit can be flush-mounted permanently if you're down with keeping the same tuner for the life of your vehicle. Regardless, the new CommanderMT should be hitting stores not too long after CES concludes, so be sure to click on through for a few more pics.[Via Orbitcast]

  • XM and Bushnell get busy, create first GPS device with XM Radio and Satellite Weather

    by 
    Thomas Ricker
    Thomas Ricker
    01.09.2007

    Bushnell and XM announced their new waterproof ONIX 400 portable GPS device today. A world's first apparently, to pack real-time XM WX weather data and XM Radio. And listen up sportos, it also delivers an enhanced sports scoreboard with user interface, sports statistics and scores. The device features a 3.5-inch, 320x240 pixel display, 64MB of internal memory, MicroSD card for data and map services, and rechargeable Li-Ion battery. Battery life and pricing was not announced but we can expect the ONIX 400 to hit sometime this summer.

  • Sharp introduces two iPod docks and a pair of XM-Ready audio systems

    by 
    Paul Miller
    Paul Miller
    01.07.2007

    That 108-inch monstrosity ain't the only game in town for Sharp this year. They're also busting out a pair of i-Elegance portable music systems, along with some XM-Ready micro and mini systems. The i-Elegance units come in white and black -- how convenient -- and feature external woofers to out bass-ify some of their iPod-docking brethren. The DK-A1 and DKA10 (pictured) units feature and electronic equalizer, Esound digital processing for sprucing up compressed tracks, and an AM / FM tuner for kicking it analog. The A10 units also include a CD slot, while both players feature a remote and built-in alarm clock functions. You should be able to snag an A1 in may for $230, while the A10 should be hitting shelves in April for $330. The XL-UH270, CD-G20000, CD-MPX850, CD-SW330 and CP-G15000S players pretty much stick to tried and true bookshelf audio functionality, but the XL-UH270 and CD-SW330 players do both come XM ready. Those two players will run you $160 and $230 respectively. Peep the XL after the break.

  • JVC throws down four Hi-Fi systems with iPod, XM support

    by 
    Barb Dybwad
    Barb Dybwad
    01.07.2007

    JVC unveiled four new iPod and XM satellite ready audio devices today -- the UX-EP300 is a 2.1-channel DVD home theater system, its wee cousin the UX-EP100 an ultra-compact 2-channel desktop audio system with CD/MP3/WMA support, the MX-KC58 a 400-watt mini system, and the RD-HA3 a boombox with side-firing subwoofers, perfect for the breakdancing XM fanboys in your life. Price? Street date? Don't bother us with trifles.