XM Satellite Radio is adding to its Xpress product line, and its partner Audiovox has introduced an in-dash car radio.
At the same time, manufacturers of several XM radios plan to discontinue certain models.
XM will stop including SureConnect, its wired-FM modulator solution, in packaging of plug-and-plays since the new Xpress models feature SureConnect, which the satcaster has been featuring for “at least” seven months, a spokesman tells me.
When not part of a product, XM SureConnect will be sold as an accessory and list for $19.99. Fewer than 40% of customers who purchased an XM radio with SureConnect included actually used it, an XM spokesman confirmed to me. Many customers had wired FM modulators professionally installed, connected the radios to a head unit’s audio inputs or used a cassette adapter.
When the FCC looked into the problem of wireless FM modulators from satcasters and other products interfering with terrestrial radio stations last year, XM began including its wired FM modulator solution in radio packaging for plug-and-plays; it indicated a wired FM modulator would be the long-term solution for the issue as some customers were not correctly using the devices.
The satcaster tells me the new Audiovox XpressEZ and XpressR XM plug-and-play satellite radios are shipping to retailers this month; the XpressR includes a split-screen display.
XM manufacturing partners will discontinue the Sportscaster, Delphi SkyFi2, Samsung Helix and Samsung NeXus. The Pioneer Inno, which matches the Helix in features, will continue to be available through the holidays.
Delphi will continue to offer the SKYFi3 and the RoadyXT. Audiovox will continue to offer the original Xpress radio.