updated 10:30 am EDT, Thu August 7, 2008
Sirius XM on New Radios
Some of the channel technology promised in the wake of the completed Sirius XM merger will require new hardware and in some cases will be years away, company chief Mel Karmazin said today while discussing the combined satellite radio provider's quarterly results during a conference call. The executive notes that the ability to subscribe to individual channels rather than full packages, also known as a la carte, will require a new radio for either the Sirius or XM network. Those devices will be available in the fall, he says.
Karmazin adds that radios which support both Sirius and XM stations are likely to come months ahead of the one-year deadline imposed by the US Federal Communications Commission but that integrated in-car units could take far longer to implement. Car manufacturers aren't expected to implement their own radios that tune both networks for roughly three years, he claims.
The news potentially creates significant drawbacks for existing customers hoping to take advantage of the new rules, as moving to the newer Sirius XM service will require swapping out existing add-on radios and potentially locks existing cars into package radio deals on a permanent basis.