Sole holdout band remains, still seeking mega-payout
Sirius XM Holdings has agreed to a legal settlement with independent and major record companies for its use of recordings created before 1972. The satellite radio broadcaster will pay $210 million to plaintiffs ABKCO Music & Records, Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, and Warner Music Group.
Music unprotected under federal copyright, safe under CA law
In a new legal volley against digital broadcasters, music companies Sony, Universal, Warner -- in conjunction with smaller label ABKCO -- have filed suit against Sirius XM for unauthorized use of music and complete nonpayment of royalties for broadcasting music recorded before February 15, 1972 that isn't protected by federal copyright law. The suit has been filed in California, which has a state law protecting state industry that recognizes music copyright and protects recordings made well before 1972, in conflict with federal law.
Subscription radio service to compete with Slacker, Pandora
Sirius XM will be heading onto Google TV in the near future. The app, requiring a seperate Sirius XM subscription and will bring additional programming not receivable by standard satellite radio sets. It will also offer additional channels such as ESPN SportsCenter, a channel dedicated to the comedy of George Carlin, and headline personality Howard Stern, according to Reuters.
Licensing rights cut out beloved feature
The newest update for SiriusXM's iOS and Android app has seen the removal of a very popular feature due to conflicts over licensing rights. As of Version 2.0.2 of the iOS app, SiriusXM has confirmed that users no longer have the ability to rewind five hours on all stations. Sirius cited contract complications involving the owners of the channels that lost the rewind feature, but gave no further details as to when, if ever, the feature might be available on these channels again.
Sirius XM app for Android gives more control, flexibility
Sirius XM Radio has updated its (free, Google Play) SiriusXM Internet Radio app to version 18.104.22.168, bringing with it some new features. Users can now go back up to five hours on most channels to hear content. A Start Now button will go back to the start of a program even if they've tuned in part-way through.
Pioneer adds two Elite AV receivers, AirPlay/DLNA
Pioneer has taken the covers off to new additions to its Elite range of AV receivers. Both the Elite VSX-42 and the Elite VSX-60 sport AirPlay support for lossless iTunes and iOS streaming, as well as support for DLNA (1.5) and Bluetooth audio streaming with an optional Bluetooth adapter. They also come with vTuner Internet radio, which is extended in the VSX-60 to include support for Pandora and Sirius XM.
Android powered Satellite Radio
SirusXM made its Lynx Portable Radio, the first to use Android, official at the end of December and has given us a chance to try it this month. The actual device is relatively small, roughly the same size as a fifth generation iPod, and can be docked into a number of accessories. While most of the internal specs have been kept under wraps, we do know that the device incorporates a Wi-Fi radio, microSD slot, and an 1,150 mAh battery. The Lynx runs a heavily modified version of Android that doesn't include the Android Market, and according to Sirius XM, won't anytime soon.
Sirius XM Lynx goes Android for first time
Sirius XM picked the very end of the year to unveil its most advanced satellite radio after a long wait. The Lynx Portable Radio is the first of its kind to use Android, both to give it an overall newer interface as well as Internet radio over Wi-Fi and smarter Bluetooth linking. As the first Sirius XM 2.0 radio, it gets the expanded channel lineup as well as wider timeshifting.
Receives broadcasts from satellite or Wi-Fi
Sirius XM's new Lynx satellite radio, first revealed in October, has reached the FCC for approval. The radio will be one of the first devices to support Sirius's expanded broadcast capabilities. The portable audio device runs a modified version of Android and is one of the few devices outside of phones and tablets to get the treatment.
Radio adds convenience features & more channels
Sirius XM Radio has introduced the SiriusXM Edge Dock and Play Radio. The Edge will be the first device capable of receiving the satellite radio provider's broadcasts using the new SiriusXM 2.0. The 2.0 revamp uses better modulation and compression to squeeze more content into a transmission, effectively increasing the available bandwidth and channels by a quarter.
Sirius XM Lynx accidentally llisted early
An unusual strategy for satellite radio was spoiled early after Best Buy briefly posted a listing (since pulled) for the Sirius XM Lynx SXi1. The portable radio runs a heavily customized version of Android and, accordingly, has some of the behavior of a smartphone. It uses a multi-touch screen with extra Android keys as its controls and Wi-Fi to share the radio connection.
Sony 2011 car head units tie to iPhone for Pandora
Sony picked Wednesday to revamp its in-car head units with a much heavier influence on digital sources in eight new devices. The CDX-GT565UP, DSX-S210X, and DSX-S310BTX all stream Pandora's Internet radio from a connected iPhone and go beyond just basic USB or Bluetooth audio. At least on the S210X and S310BTX, all the Pandora controls shift to the receiver, including the thumbs-up/thumbs-down to tune the recommendations.
Pioneer Elite receivers carry AirPlay, Air Jam
Pioneer wrapped up the week by adding two new Elite receivers with a heavy emphasis on their iOS links. The 7.1-channel SC-55 and 9.1-channel SC-57 hubs revolve chiefly around their new, Class-D3 amps. The two have quicker response times and reduced total harmonic distortion even as they consume less power and generate less heat.
Sirius XM 2.0 radios out late this year
More details on the upcoming Sirius XM 2.0 technology have been revealed. It will arrive near the end of the year with two radios that support the tech. By mid-2012, a 2013 model year car from an unnamed manufacturer with an OEM radio that supports the tech will be released. The Android-based platform aims to compete with Internet radio and will have built-in support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Internet access as a whole.
Yamaha Aventage adds 9.2ch and more mobile
Yamaha on Tuesday revamped its Aventage home theater receivers with an increased focus on mobile. The entire line, the RX-A710, RX-A810, RX-A2010, RX-A1010, and RX-3010, now has complete support for both iPhone remote control as well as front USB ports to play music directly from iOS hardware. Android is also finally getting support and will have its own remote app in the fall.
Dish now near certain buyer for TerreStar
Dish Network's hopes to buy out TerreStar may have come true as reports have surfaced Tuesday that it's now the only bidder for the satellite smartphone creator. A deadline Monday night has passed with only a nearly $1.38 billion bid from Dish still around, giving it a near-certain win. Cellular carrier MetroPCS had considered a bid to get much-needed wireless spectrum, Reuters says, but has since backed out for unknown reasons.
Liberty Media proposes buying Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble finished Thursday with surprise word that it had received a buyout proposal from Liberty Media for about $17 per share, or almost $1 billion. The deal would require that Barnes & Noble chair Leonard Riggio stay in his executive position and keep his controlling stake. Officials stressed the notice wasn't an approval of the deal and said they would study it with the help of a legal advisor team.
Sirius 2.0 due this fall, to bring new features
An unnamed source has shed some light on a new Satellite Radio 2.0 release from Sirius XM due this fall, CNET reported. This will bring with it a time-shifting, DVR-like recording feature, more storage in portable devices and channels with on-demand content. This last one will allow users who miss a show to catch up before the next episode, the source inside Sirius claimed.
Sirius XM app retooled for iPad, AirPlay
Sirius XM this morning put out a new version of its iOS app optimized for the iPad (free, App Store). The new version is universal for both iPad and iPhone, and takes advantage of the extra screen area to show a much more visual, art-guided channel picker. Those running iOS 4.3 on any device also now have the option of pushing audio through AirPlay to an Apple TV or another external audio source.
Chevy intros MyLink to take on Ford Sync
Chevy tonight kicked off GM's own alternative to Ford Sync. MyLink is designed to pair up with smartphones and will stream audio and handle calls from smartphones over Bluetooth. Like its challenger, it uses voice commands (here handled using Nuance's engine) and will directly control smartphone apps aware of the interface, starting with Internet radio from Pandora and Stitcher.
Grace Digital Solo Touch, Bravado X, Mondo hit CES
Grace Digital hoped to get in updates on its radios before a wave of CES news with the launch of three new Internet radios. The Bravado X, Mondo and Solo Touch now have color, higher resolution displays that provide a much clearer and more image-driven interface. All three can be controlled either from buttons or from the company's iPhone remote control app (free, App Store).
Howard Stern re-up with Sirius XM OKs iPhones
Sirius XM today confirmed a new five-year deal with its best-known host, Howard Stern, in a move that would significantly increase uptake of its mobile apps. The contract clears the jockey to play on not just satellite radio but also the Internet streaming apps, including the Android and iPhone apps. The deal lasts through the end of 2015.
Sirius XM intros simple XM Snap car receiver
The XM Snap accessory that underwent FCC testing earlier this month has now been officially revealed. Unlike theorized, it will not support Android devices but simply be an in-car satellite radio receiver that's much easier to install than a head end unit. The device will plug in to a vehicle's power port, and includes a stem that holds up the control panel.
Indian tablet gains launch date
Sirius XM has updated its XM SkyDock app (free, App Store). for the iPhone and iPod touch with background audio support. The new update adds background audio for all iOS devices running 4.0 or later, allowing anyone to listen to their favorite shows while using other apps. In addition, the update improves dock transitions when used with iOS 4 devices and address a bug that displayed a "Dock not detected" error messages even when the device was docked. The app needs a Sirius XM account and the XM SkyDock hardware ($130).
XM Snap may be a dock for Android smartphones?
A new piece of hardware from Sirius XM Radio has been spotted undergoing testing in an FCC filing. Called the XM Snap (XSN1), there is little known about the technical aspects of the device, but it appears to be some type of a vehicle dock that will allow another device, such as a smartphone, to control the satellite radio interface. The only image shown by the FCC is a technical diagram, showing off buttons or plugs on top.
Sirius XM teases new features for 2011 radios
Sirius XM during its results call this morning teased that it would have a major second-generation refresh of its satellite radio receivers next year. Nicknamed "Satellite Radio 2.0," their details aren't clear but should have "more choices" in terms of channels and new features. The radios will reach stores but should also reach cars with satellite-capable head-end units.
Sirius XM now handles iOS multitasking
As hinted earlier, Sirius XM today posted an iOS 4-native version of its Premium Online radio app (free, App Store). The upgrade brings it up to par with versions for other mobile platforms by allowing its audio in the background. No mention has been made of the data warning, but the app should buffer less aggressively when on 2G or 3G.
Users will be able to reorganize their favorites
Sirius XM is allegedly preparing to update its iPhone app with several iOS 4 enhancements and other features. The streaming audio player is said to be adding a data warning screen to help users avoid overage charges on AT&T's new data pricing plans, according to details that an unnamed source has told Orbitcast.
Pioneer Elite VSX-30 and VSX-31 arrive
Pioneer today rolled out a pair of new Elite AV receivers that bring some of its more advanced features to a lower price level. All of them, including models like the VSX-30 and VSX-31 (links active soon), support iPhone and iPod control through the company's custom iControl AV mobile app. They similarly share the option of Bluetooth audio with an adapter, HDMI 1.4a for 3D support, and a new "wide" surround that produces a better sense of motion with virtual height and 9.1-channel surround options.
ATT going back on promises of open OS
AT&T was alleged today to be blocking the use of the Sirius XM app on its Android phones. Both the new HTC Aria and Motorola Backflip prevent downloading of the title as the two have a known, carrier-imposed ban on downloading any apps outside of Android Market, even though the OS itself normally allows this. It's unclear why Sirius XM's app isn't officially in the market itself, but its presence outside Google's store denies it as an option.
Sirius XM hits most US Android phones today
After a brief teaser last month, Sirius XM for Android has launched on Android Market. The app provides Internet streaming of most Sirius and XM channels, and in its official release supports many more phones than promised. Along with the Droid Incredible, it should support many pre-2.0 Android phones, including the Cliq and G1 along with newer phones like the Motorola Droid, Nexus One, and Hero variants like Sprint's or the Droid Eris.
Pioneer AVIC-Z120BT uses iPhone for 3G radio
Pioneer today brought out the AVIC-Z120BT, a new flagship navigation head-end unit with a unique Apple tie-in. Those with both the in-car GPS and a new PioneerLink for Pandora iPhone app can both stream Pandora Internet radio over the smartphone's 3G connection and move the service's controls over to the AVIC's 7-inch touchscreen. The approach supports the usual thumbs up and thumbs down controls as well as changing stations and Quickmixes.
Droid, Nexus One get Sirius XM streaming
Sirius XM expanded its radio streaming at last on Friday by launching the Sirius XM Android app. Like the iPhone version, it gives Internet streaming versions of most of the stations from both the Sirius and XM channel lineups. The Android build keeps favorites and lets users browse other channels without leaving the existing station.
Pioneer receiver has iPhone Control, Bluetooth
Pioneer on Monday put out a pair of new AV receivers highlighted most by their tight link with Apple's handhelds. At the top of the mix, the VSK-820-K has the iPhone-approved USB connection but expands on it with an iPhone Control button: where the receiver's own controls normally take over, the button can force the receiver to hand back control and let the listener pick from the touchscreen of an iPhone or iPod touch.
Sirius portable radio running low on stock
Sirius XM's long-serving Stiletto 2 portable satellite radio is being taken off the market, sources said Wednesday. While still available in a few areas, stocks are reportedly dwindling and could clear out soon. Orbitcast hasn't received word of whether there will be a replacement.
Sirius XM ships satellite radio for Apple
Sirius XM today began shipping its promised XM SkyDock. The cradle gives any iPhone or iPod touch a satellite radio tuner that plays all of XM's channels, including the Best of Sirius package and others normally kept out of the Internet streams. A companion XM SkyDock app (free, App Store) ties directly into the tuner and provides both the main interface as well as support for iTunes song tagging.
Foreshadows actual hardware
Although its companion hardware has yet to be released, Sirius XM has released a dedicated XM SkyDock app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users are able to tune into various XM satellite radio stations, including artist-specific stations for the likes of Elvis Presley and the Metropolitan Opera. While listening, stock and sports tickers provide visual feedback.
Sirius XM Stratus 6 onyX
At the same event that launched the XM SkyDock, satellite radio provider Sirius XM today updated its hardware for the fall with three of new radios, a boombox and a tuner. The Sirius-oriented Stratus 6 as well as XM's onyX and Xpress RCi both add a new feature known as PowerConnect that simplifies reception by using the FM radio's antenna, rather than separate wiring, to get a good signal. All three can store 10 presets, while the Stratus 6 and onyX get traffic and weather updates for up to 20 cities and have connectors to use them outside of the car.
Sirius XM SkyDock and More
Sirius XM this afternoon held an event to launch its fall lineup of satellite radio gear and headed it up with the first-ever satellite radio peripheral for the iPhone. Confirming rumors, the XM SkyDock (shown at top) will let subscribers to the XM half of the company's service tune into the actual satellite feed through an iPhone or iPod touch. It has both the true receiver as well as the antenna and so won't require an active Internet connection like the existing Sirius XM Internet radio app for Apple's devices.
Sirius iPhone Dock Rumor
Sirius XM is about to launch a wave of new satellite radio devices that could include the first-ever add-on radio dock for the iPhone, a rumor asserts this evening. The satellite radio provider has reportedly sent invites for a New York press event on August 26th that will not only update Sirius XM's regular technology but also introduce an accessory for Apple devices known as the SkyDock. It would take advantage of iPhone OS 3's support for third-party hardware to give iPhone and iPod touch owners direct satellite radio access. A diagram of the peripheral given to Satwaves shows the dock having its own antenna that would also have a direct audio output to feed music to headphones or a car's aux-in jack.
Sonos Bundle 250 Review
Sonos was founded with the dream of building a reasonably affordable whole home audio solution in an era where many systems did (and often still do) cost several thousand dollars or more. Now on its second generation of hardware and with much more mature software, it's possible the company's music system may have reached its zenith. We want determine just how true that is in our larger review.
Sirius XM iPhone App Live
Sirius XM early today launched its promised Sirius XM Premium Online app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The free software gives either of Apple's devices access to almost all of Sirius' and XM's stations as long as they have an active Internet-enabled subscription to one of the two. Songs can be tagged to buy through iTunes; channels can also be tagged as favorites or browsed while still listening to a single feed.
DirecTV and Liberty Merge
DirecTV this morning said it would merge with the eventual spinoff of Liberty Entertainment from Liberty Media. The deal is meant to simplify Liberty Media's own structure but puts the satellite TV provider together with TV channels themselves, including the Game Show Network and 3 local sports stations. Executives at DirecTV will keep their positions, though the move will still have Liberty Media founder John Malone and trusts have about a 24 percent stake in the new venture.
Sirius XM iPhone app
After avoiding declaring bankruptcy last month, Sirius XM has announced plan to stream its subscription radio service to the iPhone and iPod touch this spring as part of the company's latest fiscal results conference call. The new app will let either Apple device receive Sirius or XM stations over their Internet connections without requiring a separate radio. Currently, Sirius has roughly 19 million subscribers, an improvement of about 10 percent from last year, but is being significantly slowed by plunging car sales and the absence of radios.
Liberty Stake in Sirius XM
Sirius XM on Tuesday morning said it has agreed to give an equity stake to Liberty Media in a deal worth $530 million. Best known as the owner of the DirecTV satellite service, Liberty is offering a $280 million emergency loan to cover both an immediately due $172 million debt for Sirius XM and to cover related financial costs. An extra $150 million also goes specifically to the XM half of the satellite radio provider, while Liberty is further volunteering to pay off about $100 million of Sirius XM's existing loans.
Sirius XM Debt Exchange
Sirius XM on Friday took emergency steps to save itself by starting a debt exchange. The company says it has started a deal that will swap about $172.5 million of the convertible senior notes keeping the company afloat for equivalents that will expire at the start of June 2011. The exchange would give the company about 1.5 years of extra time to pay the portion of the debt, which would otherwise have come due in December this year.
Sirius takeover talks
Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin has reportedly established talks with DirecTV Group and Liberty Media, in what is viewed as a last ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy or a loss of control, according to Reuters. The satellite-radio provider has held preliminary talks with Liberty Media, while another report suggests the executives asked DirecTV to purchase the company. Liberty Entertainment, a division of Liberty Media, holds a controlling interest in DirecTV Group.
Sirius XM Near Bankruptcy
People aware of the situation have told the New York Times that satellite radio provider Sirius XM is readying itself for the possibility it may declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although still solvent, the company is believed talking with experts in bankruptcy cases and restructuring and has made enough progress in the necessary documents that it could make its declaration "within days." No official signals have been given regarding a potential collapse.
EchoStar Eying Sirius XM
Sources allegedly familiar with the situation tell the Wall Street Journal that EchoStar is taking steps that may lead to a buyout of Sirius XM. The satellite TV provider has reportedly bought up some of about $300 million of Sirius XM debt that must be paid back on February 17th, with the possibility of buying out more debt that would be owed in May. EchoStar would potentially use the sudden influence to either get equity in the target company or else sit in a position of power that lets it force a deal should Sirius XM go bankrupt or otherwise need help from its bank.
Sirius XM Price Hike
Sirius XM today confirmed rumored price increases with notices for subscribers to the individual Sirius and XM networks. Either satellite radio station will no longer offer its Internet streaming component for free and will instead charge $3 per month extra for individuals listening to the stations. Sirius XM justifies the move by noting that the audio quality will go up by March 11th and is giving existing users a chance to "lock in" free listening before that date.