Yamaha Unveils First XM-Ready A/V Receivers

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Buena Park, Calif. — The first XM-ready home audio products available at retail will carry the Yamaha brand.

Eight Yamaha XM-ready A/V receivers will turn up in stores in March and April, followed soon after by a handful of Yamaha home theater in a box (HTiB) systems. The receivers will be priced as low as a suggested $229.

Earlier this year, Eton announced plans for January availability of a one-piece tabletop stereo radio, but the product won’t be in stores until April at a suggested retail of $300, a spokeswoman said. It will be followed in June by a battery-operated portable radio with built-in speaker at a suggested $150.

The Yamaha and Eton products will be available under XM’s Connect-And-Play program, launched at International CES to lower the price barrier to home-based satellite radio service. During CES, XM announced that 13 major home entertainment suppliers would start marketing XM-ready home audio and video devices in 2005 and 2006.

All XM-ready products control a tiny outboard universal XM tuner that’s built into a flip-up home XM antenna, which is only slightly thicker than current XM home antennas. A single antenna/tuner, due in April at a suggested $49.95, will plug into the proprietary XM connector of any XM-ready home entertainment device, which will display satellite-radio program information, including song title and artist name. XM-ready capability adds only $4 to $9 to a manufacturer’s cost of building products such as A/V receivers, according to one licensee.

In contrast, dedicated XM home tuners currently start at a suggested $329 for a component-size tuner from Polk. Other dedicated home models, starting at a suggested $999, are multizone models designed for custom-installed distributed-audio systems.

Also for home listening, consumers can opt for one of XM’s transportable plug-and-play tuners, which mate with home and car docking stations for connection to home and car stereo systems. The tuners start at a suggested $99, and the home docking stations with antennas sell for a suggested $39 to $69, XM said.

Other companies that plan to ship XM-ready home products in 2005 and 2006 include Boston Acoustics, Crosley, Denon, Eton, GPX, Harman Kardon, LG, Onkyo, Orient Power, Pioneer, Polk and Thomson.

The first Yamaha A/V receivers, due in March, are four RX-series models priced from a suggested $349 to $649. They will be followed in April by four HTR series receivers priced at a suggested $229 to $849 through mass distribution channels, the company said. Two or three YHT-series HTiBs will follow soon after, a spokesman added.

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