Sirius Shows Flash; ’05 Subs To Double - Twice

Sirius Shows Flash; ’05 Subs To Double

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LAS VEGAS — Coming off a year of 300 percent growth, Sirius said it expects to double its number of subscribers this year to over 2 million, according to CEO Mel Karmazin.

Although Sirius continues to lag behind rival XM’s sales by over 2 million subscribers (Sirius now has over 1.1 million), company chairman Joe Clayton stated Sirius’ brand awareness now matches that of XM and he traded barbs with XM by stating, “We’re the big dog in satellite radio. Our time has arrived,” adding, “As they say in the South, let the big dog hunt.”

Sirius affirmed but delayed its plans to launch satellite video for the car. Sirius said it will offer two to three channels of children’s programming late in the summer of 2006, a year beyond its previous target date. The satellite video system will use Microsoft’s Windows Media Video 9 compression, it said.

Sirius announced a full slate of new receivers for this year, including two models with flash memory for recording satellite radio programming, a feature now available in rival XM’s products.

The new Xact ReGo is a plug-and-play receiver with a four-hour memory buffer, and also the first of its kind to include an MP3 player.Users can fast-forward and rewind through songs in the buffer.The ReGo has a USB port and a Secure Digital slot for storing MP3 songs. Xact is also expected to offer headphones for the ReGo with a built-in antenna as well as a snap-on battery pack. Pricing and shipping plans will be announced shortly, said Sirius.

Also new is an upgrade to the Sirius-branded Sportster plug-and-play receiver, which now has a 44-minute memory buffer for recording and storing Sirius programming. The new Sportster IR also has a 100-channel wireless FM modulator to work with any car radio.It is expected to ship in April.

Sirius continues to expand its line of Sirius branded product and will add the Star Mate, the company’s smallest plug-and-play receiver to date.It will ship this month at $129.

In home audio, Sirius said Rotel will offer a dedicated receiver this year.

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