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Recoton, Delco To Manufacture CD Radio Units

In its quest to bring satellite radio to consumers by the fourth quarter of 2000, CD Radio signed two manufacturers – Delphi Delco Electronics and Recoton – to build and produce its three-band receivers.

XM Satellite, the other company to receive an FCC license to broadcast digital satellite signals, signed Alpine, Pioneer and Sharp to manufacture its hardware last November. XM Satellite also plans to start broadcasting in late 2000.

In its 10-K report, CD Radio said it expects consumers to receive satellite broadcasts by purchasing specially designed radio receivers for their existing vehicles, and later, through a new generation of three-band radios installed in new vehicles by one or more major automakers.

Delphi Delco, manufacturer of more than 5 million OEM audio systems a year, will design, market and sell a factory-installed three-band (AM/FM/CD radio) audio system to vehicle manufacturers by March 2001.

CD Radio also reported in its 10-K that it hopes to foster adoption of three-band radios as standard or an option in all vehicles sold in the U.S.

On the aftermarket side, CD Radio said subscribers will have three options: a radio card, an FM modulated receiver, or a three-band receiver.

Recoton, one of the largest producers of aftermarket car stereos sold in the U.S., will design and develop several of these CD Radio receiving devices.

A plug-and-play adapter that will work through the cassette bay of existing car stereos will sell for about $199 and include the wireless satellite antenna.

An FM modulated receiver, which is said to work with 95% of existing car stereos – and which CD Radio said is about the size of a 35mm camera – can be mounted in the trunk, behind the dash or under a seat. Estimated cost of the system is $299, including installation.

Finally, three-band AM/FM/CD Radio receivers – which Recoton Mobile Electronics (RME) will develop and market under the Jensen brand name – will retail for approximately $150 more (including installation and antenna) than similar receivers that are not capable of receiving CD Radio broadcasts.

Scheduled for launch during the fourth quarter of 2000, CD Radio, which just opened an office in Detroit in addition to its New York City headquarters, is building a digital satellite radio system infrastructure to broadcast 100 channels of music and other programming to motorists throughout the U.S.

CD Radio made headway with programming efforts late last month as well. SpeedVision Network and Outdoor Life Network, both jointly owned by FOX/Liberty Networks, will broadcast programming for vehicle and outdoor enthusiasts on CD Radio channels 64 an 65.

In related news, XM Satellite added to its programming with new agreements signed last week. Three channels will be devoted to CNN Newsource Sales, a division of Time Warner, including CNNfn, The Financial Network, CNN/Sports Illustrated, The Sports News Network, and CNN en Espanol.