Satellite Radio Expands
– Sirius Satellite Radio celebrated the premiere yesterday of Howard Stern’s new show on their service. They felt the millions they paid him well worth it to double their subscriber base of users paying $12.95 a month. All of their 68 music channels are commercial-free. Sirius introduced at CES a 4 by 3-inch Sirius Connect Home Tuner designed to add their reception to “Sirius-ready” home systems from Thomson and GE, plus a wireless display controller permitting connection to non-Sirius-ready systems. Sirius is the popular choice for after-market installation in vehicles, while the competing provider – XM Satellite Radio – is being offered as standard equipment in many new cars. XM, in cooperation with Audiovox, introduced at CES a portable tuner for their satellites to hook up to a variety of “XM-ready” products. Measuring only 1.3 by 1.65 inches, the XM Passport is inserted directly into a port offered by manufacturers, or placed in an outboard docking station. The tiny tuner makes it possible for users to receive XM on different devices with only one subscription of $10 per month.
Wireless Wi-Fi Device Supports 5.1 Surround
– Linksys introduced at CES their Wireless-G Music Bridge, a Wi-Fi client device that receives music wirelessly from any PC and sends it to a home audio system via either optical digital cable or analog audio cables. Unlike some other digital audio adapters, Music Bridge can receive and play any audio format that can be heard on the PC’s own speakers. This includes Internet Radio, CDs and all sound files, including Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround.
Google May Get Into Home Electronics – The rapidly-growing Internet giant may be moving into hardware. It is reportedly in talks with Wal-Mart about a possible inexpensive Google-brand personal computer. There are also rumors of a mesh networking device called “The Google Cube.” It would wirelessly shuttle digital videos, stills, music and other content from personal computers to various home electronics. Google has also joined with Linux OS specialists Red Hat Inc. and others in an effort to create and produce a $100 PC for the developing world.