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Sirius XM Universal Car Tuner Hits The Road

4/20/2011 02:45:06 PM Eastern

Piscataway, N.J. -- Sirius XM has
begun shipping its SXV100V1 universal satellite tuner for installed aftermarket
autosound systems, and aftermarket supplier Alpine is gearing up to promote the
tuner, compatible Alpine head units, and a mail-in rebate offered by Sirius XM.

The tuner, about the size of a cigarette pack, is designed to cut
the cost and simplify the connection
of installed hide-away satellite radio
tuners. The tuner connects to new aftermarket head units that incorporate a new
universal satellite-radio DIN connector and a new Sirius XM control and
communications protocol.

Alpine has become the first company to ship compatible head units
and expects to be alone in the market until the fall, assistant sales and
marketing VP Michael Anderson told TWICE here during a dealer training meeting.
Sony and Audivox's Jensen brand have said they plan compatible head units this
year as well.

The universal tuner retails for $69, including antenna and DIN
cable, but a $30 mail-in rebate program offered by Sirius XM will remain in
effect until the end of the year, Anderson said. That brings the tuner's price,
excluding installation, down  to $39 from
the $100 to $120 that it previously cost to add hide-away satellite tuners to
aftermarket head units, said product marketing manager Steve Brown.

To promote the tuner, Alpine has developed a three-sided floor
display touting the tuner, satellite-radio service, and the mail-in rebate.
Alpine is also offering display-board head-unit wraps to go with its compatible
head units to promote the tuner and rebate.

Starting in late spring, Alpine will
launch web ads to promote the tuner and rebate, Anderson said. The first round
of ads will focus on music. A second round will tie in with the launch of the
NFL football season, whose start this year depends on the outcome of
player-management negotiations. A fourth-quarter ad campaign will tie into
Black Friday. Details of the ad campaign are still being worked out, Anderson
said.

The compatible head units currently
shipping from Alpine include the $199-MAP CDE-123 single-DIN CD-receiver with
Pandora controls. A second compatible head unit that's also available is the CDE-124SXM
single-DIN CD-receiver, which is bundled with universal tuner and also features
Pandora control. The package retails for $229, but purchasers are eligible for
the $30 mail-in rebate to reduce the effective price to $199.

A third compatible head unit ships
in May. It's the INA-W910 A/V-navigation unit, which features HD Radio and
Pandora control. Its price hasn't been announced.

The universal tuner delivers multiple features not
previously available in dedicated hide-away aftermarket tuners, including song
alerts, artist alerts, sports-game alerts, satellite-radio iTunes Tagging, and embedded
memory to pause and rewind a program up to 30 minutes.

In separate developments, Alpine
said it has just began shipping its first two Perfect Fit installation kits,
which provide an in-dash OEM look for a pair of Alpine double-DIN A/V-navigation
units with motorized face plates. Each kit is designed for a specific vehicle
model to match the shape, color and texture of the vehicle's dash and plug into
existing factory wiring.

The kits are promoted as a better
looking alternative to third-party install kits because they're designed to fit
only one brand of head unit, not multiple brands.

The first two Alpine kits are for
the 2010-2011 Toyota Siena. One kit is $79, and the other $149 kit is for Siena
models with steering-wheel-mounted radio controls. That kit includes a
steering-wheel interface that needs no programming.

The next Perfect Fit kit, due in
June, is a $299 kit for the 2010-2011 Camaro. It includes integrated
touchscreen HVAC controls that mount below the Alpine navigation unit to
replace the factory touchscreen controls.

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