XM Radio Predicts 20 Million Subscribers by 2010

Polk Audio and Yamaha kick off the Home Entertainment Show by announcing XM-ready receivers, while ZVOX Audio introduces a new audiophile-quality, iPod-compatible sound system.

The Home Entertainment Show kicked off Friday with an optimistic briefing on the future of XM Satellite Radio by one of the companys executives.

"This year, XM is making the most aggressive push that we have ever made into the whole market," said Brian Shea, vice president of marketing at XM Satellite Radio Inc. The company boasts more than 3.8 million subscribers, but it hopes to boost that number to 5.5 million by years end and 20 million by the end of the decade.

"Were looking to break into new segments and to be able to offer fundamental solutions that are easy for consumers to understand and easy for dealers to merchandise," Shea said.

In addition to new XM-ready receivers announced by Polk Audio Inc. and Yamaha Corp., Shea said at least 13 manufacturers have already taken advantage of XMs one-chip solution for making their consumer electronic products capable of receiving XM programming.

Consumers can add XM service to any of these products by connecting a $50 XM "Connect and Play" antenna and signing up for XM service. Devices as varied as DVD players, clock radios and high-end receivers are capable of taking advantage of Connect and Play technology while still selling at the same price as comparable non-XM-ready products.

He also described plans to make XM service available to America Online Inc. subscribers and several new handheld XM products scheduled for release this year. The new handheld receivers all will retail for $299 and will feature time shifting as well as the ability to play through a conventional FM radio. (Listen to an extended excerpt from Sheas speech via podcast here.)

Other announcements at the show included:

  • Polk Audio demonstrated its new I-Sonic HD Radio system, a bookshelf-sized unit with a full digital display and the ability to receive HD radio broadcasts as the service becomes available across the United States. HD radio service will enable clearer sound on both AM and FM bands and also will enable FM stations to broadcast several digital programs on a single FM channel.

The I-Sonics display screen can show digital text streams sent by HD Radio broadcasters. The unit also can play DVD audio or DVD video (via an S-video output) and is XM-ready as well. It is scheduled for release in September at a suggested price of $599.

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