By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sirius XM introduced a fall product lineup with a new car dock that converts an iPhone/iPod Touch to a true satellite receiver capable of playing all Sirius XM channels, including Howard Stern and NFL.
The $119 XM SkyDock also plays music stored on an iPhone /iPod Touch through the car radio.
The dock joins several new products shown at the Sirius XM headquarters for fall shipping, including the first dedicated Sirius XM tabletop Internet radio, new plug-and-play car radios with an a la carte model, and a home audio tuner.
The XM SkyDock car dock differs from the current Sirius XM app for the iPhone because it has an embedded satellite-radio chip and it works with a plug-in car antenna, so users receive true satellite reception vs. Internet streaming. It includes an XM chip, so users must subscribe to Best of Sirius if they wish to listen to Howard Stern.
The iPhone/iPod Touch then becomes an advanced Sirius/XM controller that lets you flick through programming via touchscreen so users can see what is playing as they search. Users can also use iTunes tagging to purchase a song heard on Sirius XM directly from iTunes.
The SkyDock has a built in FM modulator that does not require a separate FM antenna as in past plug and play tuners. A second way to connect the SkyDock to the car radio is through an aux-in cable as the dock has an aux-in jack.
The dock still requires the usual roof mount antenna for Sirius XM reception that the user may install himself.
The SkyDock is expected to be sold online and through retailers, including Best Buy and Radio Shack, this fall.
Sirius XM's new tabletop Internet radio (TTR1) is the first such device that is dedicated to Sirius XM streamed content, so it does not receive general Internet radio programming. The $149 radio has 10 presets for favorite Sirius XM stations and includes a Sirius chip, although users can get Best of XM service. It works wirelessly with 802.11b/g wireless broadband networks or via Ethernet and has aux-in and line-out connections.
In car plug-and-play models, a new Stratus 6 can receive the cheaper, a la carte Sirius XM programming, as well as all Sirius program packages and Best of XM. It has the new simplified FM modulator system for connecting to a car's radio without the need for a separate FM antenna. The device also allows for a direct aux-in connection to the radio. It is due this fall at $69.99.
A similar model, called XM OnyX, has a full-color high-resolution screen and supports all XM programming minus a la carte access and also receives Best of Sirius. It is due this fall at $79.99.
Both models are awaiting approval by the Federal Communications Commission. A third model, due in the first quarter, is the XM Xpress RCi, which updates current Xpress models by adding the new FM modulator system.
Also due this fall is a Sirius SR-H2000 tuner for adding Sirius and Best of XM to a home stereo system at a suggested retail of $349.
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