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Expo Drives Satellite Radio Home With Single-, Multizone Models

9/01/2003 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Sirius Satellite Radio will become the first satellite radio broadcaster to exhibit at a CEDIA Expo, where the company's booth will feature the industry's first three home-dedicated Sirius satellite radios: one each from Kenwood and Audiovox and a three-zone distributed-audio model from pro supplier Antex.

Meantime, rival satellite broadcaster XM will be represented in the Crestron and NetStreams booths. Crestron plans to unveil a single-zone XM tuner, and NetStreams plans an XM tuner card for its IP-based audio-distribution network.

Sirius president Joe Clayton contends that the home market will expand satellite-radio's potential to more than 100 million households on top of a potential 250 million mobile-audio users.

The market's potential is even greater when shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels are factored in, he said. Sirius recently launched a commercial music service that streams 60 channels of commercial-free music to commercial accounts, competing with services DMX and Muzak but at a lower $24.95/month service.

In the home, Clayton sees potential despite the existence of music services offered by cable companies and satellite-TV providers. Sirius, he contended, "offers more genres and selection than any satellite or cable operator offers. You can't get a lot of the music you hear on Sirius on cable or satellite TV."

In addition, the competing services don't yet offer multizone music tuners, which Sirius will offer for the first time through Antex's SRX-3 Triple Play, Clayton said. The $1,695-suggested Triple Play is Antex's first in a series of custom-home products. It incorporate three separate tuners in one chassis fed by a single antenna and controlled via a single interface. It ships in November with IR and RS-232 ports for integration into multizone distributed-audio systems.

Suitable for table-top display or rack mounting, the Triple Play features 160x240 graphical backlit LCD that displays category, channel, title, track, and artist information for each zone. The control panel also lets users select zones, scroll between stations and content categories, or choose from up to 10 preset stations power zone. It also features a parental lock and independent TOSlink, S/PDIF and RCA analog outputs for each zone.

For its part, Kenwood plans October shipments of a single-zone Sirius tuner at $299. The DT-7000S features RS-232C port for integration with distributed-audio and home-control systems. It also features four-line scrolling display that shows stream number, stream name, artist name, song title, and program category. A song-seek feature lets subscribers check what's playing on other channels while listening to their current selection. A memo feature lets users bookmark a song's title and artist information. Presets can be customized by user-programmable name.

Like Kenwood's model, Audiovox's Sirius tuner will be a single-zone add-on tuner. Pricing was unavailable.

Crestron's XM tuner, the C2N-TXM is a single-zone model that can be controlled from any custom-installed or wireless Crestron touchpanel, which will display song title, artist name, and channel. In an unusual twist, the touchpanels will also display the names of all songs playing simultaneously on XM's service. Users will be able to choose one of the songs to automatically tune to the channel playing that song.

It ships in late September. Pricing was unavailable.

Details of NetStreams's XM card were unavailable.

NetStreams's XM card is due in the fourth quarter as part of the company's DigiLinx distributed-audio system, which uses an Ethernet network to distribute audio in packetized form. Although the tuner card is a single-zone card, NetStreams's DigiLinx system will come with optional expansion module that accepts four additional XM cards or other system cards. For its part, Niles plans an XM tuner, possibly as early as the second quarter.

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