By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Tivoli Audio is moving into new radio configurations and distribution channels while refreshing its original table radio with hand-lacquered versions.
New radio configurations include the company's first satellite table radio, first tabletop CD-radio with built-in stereo speakers, first travel clock radio and first battery-operated portable radio designed cosmetically to complement the Apple iPod. New distribution channels include worldwide Timberland stores, which will be the exclusive sellers of the company's first portable radio in a choice of two Timberland boot colors. Other new channels are Apple-owned stores and Apple's Web site. They'll sell Tivoli's iPod-complementing iPAL portable radio, which will also be available through traditional Tivoli channels.
In refreshing its original Model One mono table radio, Tivoli will offer the model in two high-gloss hand-lacquered finishes at a step-up price of $149.99, compared to $99.99 for the model in its original finishes.
Tivoli Audio Music System: The $499.99-suggested single-box stereo CD clock radio will compete with Bose and Cambridge SoundWorks systems. It features MP3/CD playback, FM Radio Data System (RDS), dual alarms with battery-backed-up digital clock, down-firing powered subwoofer, remote and equalization that widens the stereo image.
In a departure, the system is the company's first tabletop product to incorporate a digital radio tuner, instead of analog, tuning to pack all of the device's feature into a single 5.5-inch by 14-inch by 9.5-inch hand-lacquered wood cabinet. It ships by September.
Satellite radio: The $299-suggested Sirius Satellite Radio with digital alarm clock will be the industry's first satellite table radio when it ships in late August, the company promised. Although it features Sirius digital-radio reception, its AM/FM tuner is based on the high-quality analog tuners featured in the company's other table radios. Its chassis incorporates a single top-firing speaker, but it can be connected to an optional companion speaker to deliver stereo. The price includes remote and satellite antenna.
A Sirius subscription costs $12.95 per month for a family's first Sirius radio and $6.95/month for the second.
Tivoli president Tom DeVesto said he chose to offer a Sirius model because of the service's content, including NFL games and NPR. "A lot of our traditional customers listen to NPR," DeVesto said.
The company currently has no HD Radio plans because of the technology's high cost and what he calls "MP3 quality," DeVesto said. A Tivoli HD Radio will make more sense when terrestrial broadcasting's content changes to take advantage of digital broadcasting technology, he said, citing HD Radio's potential to entice AM stations into returning to their music-broadcasting roots.
SongBook: The company's first travel clock/radio is hardcover-book size for easy packing. When it ships in seven colors by September at a suggested $159.99, it will be the company's first battery-powered portable radio with digital rather than analog tuning to maintain a compact size. It operates on six AA batteries, or NiMH or NiCad batteries that can be recharged by the radio's built-in recharger.
iPAL: The battery-operated portable is a single-speaker PAL that flies iPod's white-and-silver colors and is packaged with an iPod-connection cable. Like the PAL, it features analog radio tuner, is powered by a rechargeable NiMH battery pack, and retails for a suggested $129.99. It ships in June with included connection cable.
Later in the year, the iPAL will ship in multiple iPod mini colors at the same price.
A separately available $25 carrying case holds an iPAL and iPod.
The company was inspired to offer the iPAL because many iPod users had purchased PALs to amplify their iPod music, a spokeswoman said.
Timberland PALs: Orange and gold versions of the PAL will be available exclusively through Timberland's outdoor-gear stores worldwide. In the U.S., Timberland operates 75 stores. Tivoli already sells through more than 1,000 stores, including Tweeter, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. It also sells through upscale catalogs and Web sites.
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