After-market autosound companies continue to offer satellite-ready head units that control outboard satellite radio tuners tucked under the seat, behind the dash, or inside a glovebox. But new configurations are emerging in the car, including XM's 9-volt-battery-size XM mini tuner and Alpine head units that control Sirius plug-and-play tuners and headphone stereos.
Audiovox: The company will offer XM Mini-Tuner capability in two portable GPS models that can be mounted in the car. One, the NVX406, connects to an adapter that accepts the mini tuner in the car, and the NVXM1000 has a mini tuner slot built directly in the unit. Suggested retails for the units are $499 and $799, respectively, with shipping expected in March/April.
Alpine: In an industry first, Alpine is offering car radios that interface with Sirius plug-and-play tuners and Sirius headphone stereos. Until now, most car radios offered direct connections only with larger XM Direct or SiriusConnect tuners that mounted under the seat or in the glovebox. Now all Alpine Ai-Net head units are compatible with Sirius Stiletto headphone stereo and Sportster, Starmate, and Stratus plug-and-play units through a $50 KCA-SC100 interface that ships in January.
The Alpine radios will display all the Sirius info on their screens and control the devices as well as support Sirius song and game alert features. All Ai-Net head units are also now compatible with XM Mini tuner products with a new dongle adapter from Audiovox's Terk.
Alpine marketing VP Steve Witt noted that the market for black-box car audio tuners (XM Direct and SiriusConnect) is declining rapidly because consumers want entertainment content in portable devices.
Panasonic: The autosound department is supporting XM's new mini tuner in its new Strada in-dash navigation unit and throughout its 2007 head unit lineup. The mini tuners will plug into adapters that in turn connect to the car radios. The adapter is due in the spring.