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Gen 4 XM Receivers Debut

New York — XM Satellite Radio introduced its new fourth generation plug-and-play receivers at yesterday’s “Xmas in August” product preview and affirmed that that company expects to achieve a base of 40 million subscribers by 2015.

XM debuted dozens of products and accessories at the Jazz at Lincoln Center facility at the Time Warner building, here, where it also has broadcasting studios. XM highlighted two next-generation plug-and-play receivers from Delphi and Audiovox that are significantly thinner and smaller than the earlier generation models, according to Dan Murphy, product marketing and distribution senior VP. The units are also notable in that each can support a special battery pack offered by new XM partner Belkin, which transforms the units into “headset portables.”

Also at the preview, Audiovox showed a new $120 solution to convert factory OEM radios on 25 car models to XM without requiring installing a separate receiver on the dashboard. The solution uses a hide-away XM Direct black box and an RDS cable that can be professionally installed. The car radio then displays XM song title, artist and channel information on the radio’s screen, and controls XM through a remote. The Audiovox RDS smart cable solution works with RDS radios that are offered by Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln-Mercury, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Range Rover, Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo and others, said Audiovox.

XM also announced that Altec Lansing, along with Belkin, is expected to offer XM accessories such as docking stations and headsets. Due in October from Altec Lansing is a compact portable AC/DC speaker system that docks with XM2Go receivers to provide 4-watt power output. Also new is a 6 watt desktop AC docking station. Suggested retail prices are $149 and $99, respectively.

Belkin’s new products include the portable rechargeable battery kit and headphones that work with fourth generation plug-and-play receivers, as well as a boombox docking station and stereo headphones that are designed to boost the antenna signal of an XM2Go product for better reception. The boombox is due this fall at an estimated price under $100, and the headphones are due before Christmas at under $70, said Belkin.

XM’s new plug-and-play receivers include the Roady XT from Delphi with a wireless FM transmitter than works with 100 frequencies and a new brighter, high-contrast display, said Delphi. Delphi claims the unit is the smallest and thinnest plug-and-play receiver available. Audiovox’s new Xpress also has a 100-station wireless FM transmitter. Audiovox claims the unit is the smallest to offer a full five-line display. The receivers are expected to ship in September and October, respectively, both with $99 suggested retail price.

XM also announced the availability of two new smart cables that will convert car radios from JVC and Eclipse brand radios to XM capability. Also on display were two new Garmin portable GPS units that offer XM capability when used with a specially designed Garmin antenna.