By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
XM will begin its test pilot May 1 in 1,000 of Wal-Mart's 3,000 outlets with Pioneer and Sony providing the car stereo hardware. Sirius service is now available in 200 Wal-Mart stores with Jensen providing the car stereo hardware. Sirius also plans to enter 1,000 Wal-Mart stores during the year, although no specific date has been announced, a spokesman said.
Jensen said it released a special Sirius-ready car stereo package for the Wal-Mart pilot called the CP1-SSR. It includes the SSR-2000 satellite receiver with a display/controller that works with any head unit as well as the KVFM1 FM modulator and SRC 2001 adhesive mount antenna. It carries a list price of less than $300.
In the XM camp, Pioneer has lowered the price of its FM-modulated XM receiver, which works with any car stereo by $50, to $199, for all retailers including Wal-Mart. Pioneer also lowered the price of its XM receiver — for use with an XM-ready head unit — to $149, down from $199. XM said it is not subsidizing the price reduction but noted that a second generation, down-sized XM chipset will be available in the fourth quarter.
Sony is offering through Wal-Mart its current XM Plug 'n' Play system, including antenna, at $350. The home kit will also be available through Wal-Mart, despite the fact that it has been in back-order since its introduction last year, leading industry members to anticipate a strong demand for satellite radio in the home.
Sony's personal audio product management VP, Phil Petescia, said the company recently ramped up production on the home kit claiming, "we're right in line with demand right now." He added that Sony was excited about the Wal-Mart test pilot because it helps bring XM to rural markets where there are a limited number of radio stations.
According to Dan Murphy, XM's VP retail marketing and OEM distribution, it was Wal-Mart that approached both XM and Sirius to participate in a pilot program.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.