By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
After frustrating retailers for many months, supplies of satellite radio tuners and adapters for the car should become more widely available this month and in April, said Sirius and XM.
Sirius is air-shipping its $49 SCC1 tuner that has been allocated since December and expects to "be in positive inventory" by the first week in April, said key accounts director Dean Hutto.
XM distributor Audiovox said it is rolling out Kenwood adapters for the new XM Direct2 tuner this month and has resolved compatibility issues between the Direct2 tuner and Alpine 2008 model head units.
XM adapters for Clarion should ship this month and for JVC radios in May. Translators are already available for most Alpine, Sony, Panasonic, Jensen and Eclipse radios. Pioneer supplies its own translator.
Also, Sirius Rear Seat TV, originally expected to ship to dealers late last year, is now in production and expected to ship this month, said Sirius
Several retailers said the shortages impacted business.
John Haynes, product manager for Al & Ed's Autosound, Van Nuys, Calif., said, "Since December we've walked a lot of business — probably hundreds of activations." He added, "The availability of tuners has been an intermittent problem for all 2007. Pioneer was out for most of 2007 of their brand of Sirius tuner, which literally cost us more than 1,000 satellite radio activations. The problem is the consumer doesn't necessarily wait around. It cost us cash-register business and maybe even customers."
Audio Express, Scottsdale, Ariz., said it easily walked 200 customers in December due to shortages.
The problems for Sirius began early in 2007 when the company switched to a new SiriusConnect SCC1 tuner. It required a new translator box for each brand of aftermarket car radio, and the rollout of these translators took nine months. "So you have Alpine, Kenwood, Sony and others all rolling out translators. It's been a nine- or 10-month project, and we're just at the point where all the translators are now available," said Hutto. But, as soon as all the translators became available, demand spiked for the SCC1 tuner itself, sending that unit into back order.
XM began the same process in the fourth quarter when it shipped the Direct2 tuner, and it is still rolling out translators on some car stereo brands.
In addition, there was a glitch in 2008 Alpine radios where the radios would experience background noise, when used with the new XM translator and tuner. At press time, Audiovox said the problem had been resolved. "Our resolution to the problem was confirmed by Alpine and the radios which previously exhibited a concern are now approved for sale and back on the Web site and available to be flashed," said Rick Montpetit, Audiovox OEM group VP.
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