By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Hardware vendors at International CES advanced Sirius' position in the satellite radio market even though the company itself did not exhibit.
Eton and Thomson announced that they would be among the first companies to offer Sirius-ready home audio products under a program called SiriusConnect Home. As in XM's Connect And Play program, Sirius-ready products would control small outboard tuner/antenna combinations retailing for a suggested $49.99.
Meantime, Xact expanded its Sirius portfolio with products that include a next-generation plug-and-play tuner that turns into a headphone stereo when docked with a portable rechargeable battery pack.
In Sirius-ready home products, Eton showed a mockup of a retro-style tabletop AM/FM radio called Eton Sound. It's equipped with alarm clock functions and will come in seven colors. It ships in the second quarter at a targeted suggested $150, a spokeswoman said. Eton also plans additional Sirius Connect radios.
In satellite radio, Eton already offers a $350-MAP XM-ready tabletop AM/FM/shortwave radio and a portable AM/FM/shortwave radio at $500 MAP. The company will expand its XM-ready selection in the second or third quarter with a one-piece tabletop model and a three-piece retro-style model, the spokeswoman said.
For its part, Thomson will add Sirius controls to three products due in the summer: a GE-brand undercabinet Spacemaker CD/radio, the 75400; the RCA-brand RTD260 home theater in a box (HTiB) system; and the RCA RS2100 Rip And Go stereo shelf system.
The RS2100 shelf system features five-CD changer and 2X CD-ripping speed to an included slide-out 256MB RCA MP3 player, which also records Sirius and FM radio broadcasts, The system also enables wireless streaming of digital music from a user's PC via a USB accessory transmitter included with the system. The RS2100 will be available at a suggested $299.
The RCA RTD260 HTiB is a 1,000-watt system with five-disc DVD/CD changer, HDMI output with high-definition up-scaling and USB port to play digital media such as music and photos. The RTD260 will be available at a suggested $299.
The GE 75400 Spacemaker CD/radio includes audio line input for connection to portable MP3 players and counter light at a suggested $119.
Xact Communications is expanding its Sirius Satellite Radio portfolio with the launch here of a Sirius-ready portable/car navigation system and the company's second accessory to turn a plug-and-play Sirius tuner into a headphone stereo.
The accessory, the $99-suggested Power Pod II, snaps onto the latest Sirius plug-and-play tuner called Replay, sold by Directed Electronics as the Starmate Replay and by Brix Electronics at a suggested $99. Power Pod II consists of a snap-on rechargeable battery pack with four hours of playback time and included stereo headphones with embedded Sirius antenna. The package ships in March at a suggested $99.
Around October 2004, Xact shipped the satellite industry's first accessory to turn a plug-and-play tuner into a headphone stereo. That Power Pod featured a larger three-hour battery pack, which incorporated a flip-up Sirius satellite antenna. Headphones were also included. It was compatible with the XTR1 plug-and-play tuner.
The company's first portable-navigation device is the NAVi, which can be docked in a car and is due in March at a suggested $699. When docked in a car, it can control an optional car-installed Sirius tuner available at a suggested $99. NAVi is equipped with a 10GB HDD and 4-inch color touch screen. It delivers turn-by-turn driving instructions by voice, features embedded GPS antenna, and doubles as an MP3 player and digital-still-image viewer. An embedded FM transmitter delivers MP3 music through the car's sound system.
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