Portable satellite radio/MP3 players introduced at CES

Thursday, January 5th 2006, 8:44 am
By: News On 6

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ While video, especially the portable kind, is expected to make the big splash at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, there is also a lot happening with devices that combine satellite radio and portable music players.

Pioneer Electronics and Samsung Electronics introduced MP3 players that also include satellite radio service from XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

The Pioneer Inno and the Samsung Helix XM2go are about the size of a deck of cards and can store a listener's own music collection ripped from CDs as well as XM programming.

Both devices save music in the popular MP3 and WMA formats.

Listeners can also bookmark songs heard on XM, then later purchase downloads of the songs for 99 cents from the Napster music download and subscription service.

The Inno and Helix XM2go will both retail for about $399 and will be available by March.

Samsung is also offering even smaller music player called the Nexus. The two units will not have built-in XM tuners, like the Helix. Instead, the units will receive XM signals when placed in a docking station along with the XM Passport, a small 1.3-inch by 1.65-inch cartridge, which serves as a portable satellite radio tuner.

When taken out of the docking stations, the NEXUS 25 will play up to 25 hours of recorded XM radio content or songs, while the NEXUS 50 will hold 50 hours.

The NEXUS 25 player will sell at retail for $199.99 and the NEXUS 50 will cost $249.99.

Top competitor Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. isn't sitting idle, either. On Wednesday, Thomson Multimedia said it is partnering with RCA and GE to roll out several new Sirius-enabled audio systems this summer, priced between $119 and $299.

The $299 bookshelf audio system has a 5-CD changer, and can rip CDs directly onto an MP3 player via a USB port. Listeners can also record Sirius Satellite and FM radio broadcasts on the system's MP3 player.

Thomson's $299 home theater system has a 5 DVD or CD changer, and the $119 under-cabinet kitchen audio system has a CD player.

The new products require a Sirius Satellite Radio antenna, which could add another $49.99 to the total cost.

Auto supplier Delphi Corp. announced Wednesday that it would supply XM radio receivers for three Hyundai models to Hyundai Motor America, a unit of Korea-based Hyundai Motor Co.

Hyundai is the first auto maker to add satellite radio as a standard feature to all its vehicles, said Delphi.

Troy, Mich.-based Delphi will provide the receivers for Hyundai's Santa Fe, Azera and Elantra models. Delphi didn't disclose terms of the Hyundai deal.

Delphi also announced it had made a ``significant'' investment in Spanish startup Ondas Media, which hopes to launch Europe's first satellite radio network by 2009.

Ondas estimates the European market could represent more than $1 billion in subscriber revenue early next decade.

Delphi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 8 to restructure its money-losing U.S. business.