By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
In time for the Christmas selling season, Sirius Satellite Radio unveiled a wide-ranging line of downsized receivers designed to make satellite radio more portable and more easily accessible in the home and office.
The company's broadest line to date includes the satellite-radio industry's first personal headphone stereo and a new antenna system that allows the placement of a satellite receiver almost anywhere in the house, without being tethered to the antenna.
In addition, Sirius showed a new receiver designed for Wal-Mart from Sanyo.
All of the new products use Sirius' newest chipset. Many of them will be distributed by Directed Electronics, based in Vista, Calif., now Sirius' “de facto distributor,” said Todd Goodnight, director of retail mobile products for Sirius.
In personal stereo, Sirius showed Xact's recently available XTR1 plug-and-play receiver, which can be turned into a Walkman-style headphone stereo with the addition of a snap-on rechargeable battery pack delivering up to three hours of listening time. The battery pack includes built-in swiveling antenna. The receiver itself features headphone jack and volume control.
The XTR1 retails for a suggested $99, and a universal home/car docking station costs $59. Separate docking stations for car and home will be sold for $49 each. The battery pack is expected to ship in October at a price to be announced.
The Xact receiver, called the Stream Jockey, made its official debut on the Home Shopping Network earlier this month. General retail distribution is expected in September at $99 for the receiver plus $59 for a universal docking station with combined home and car kits, or $49 for separate home and car kits. The product will also be available with three different boomboxes in the future.
Sirius is heavily promoting its new Sportster plug-and-play receiver aimed at sports enthusiasts and announced that the unit would be produced and distributed by Directed. The Sportster allows users to display the logo of their favorite NFL team on the opening screen and offers a “game alert” feature to notify users when a favorite team's game is on the air.
Directed said it will also distribute Sportster accessories including a home docking station. The Sportster is expected to ship in October at a suggested retail price of $99.99.
Making its debut in the Sirius camp, Sanyo will ship in October a plug-and-play Sirius system to all Wal-Mart stores, as well as other stores in the future, said Goodnight. Sanyo's new CRSR-10 is especially designed to “self sell,” coming in a blister pack with both a home and a car kit. It carries a super low price of $149 for the square-shaped receiver with FM modulator and the home and car kits. It will be available in all Wal-Mart stores by Oct. 1, said Goodnight.
Sirius also debuted the first home antenna distribution system for satellite radio. Called the Echo, the system includes a transmitter that picks up the signal from the Sirius antenna and wirelessly sends it to an Echo receptor, which then delivers the signal to a Sirius receiver within 100 feet. The Echo system will be distributed by Directed in the fourth quarter at a price to be announced.
Directed will also distribute Sirius' new standard tuner for car radios, the Sirius Connect. It is a universal tuner design with different front ends for each car stereo brand. The first Sirius Connect will be offered for Alpine radios, which can also work with an XM Direct tuner. It is expected to ship in September, followed by a Kenwood unit in the fourth quarter.
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