Quite a bit has happened to satellite radio over the past year. First, we had two companies vying for your dollars and then, in a ridiculously long merger process, the two companies finally became one.
Since then, the new Sirius XM has tried to find its footing in a world where terrestrial radio still reigns supreme and advertising dollars aren't floating around as much as they did last year. And to make matters worse, the company is forced to pay Howard Stern $100 million per year on a total subscriber base of about 19.1 million by the end of the year -- not the kind of numbers that would attract advertisers, let alone shareholders.
Following that, we can't forget that the company's share price is at a woeful $0.26 and $1 billion in debt is coming due in 2009 as the company posted a huge $4.88 billion loss. Sirius XM is working on refinancing and recently reduced a $300 million note to $210 million, but its troubles persist.
And although it sounds like the company is facing enough issues already, this whole discussion has left out an important piece of the puzzle: automotive sales are declining at a rapid rate, there are no signs of that slowing down next year, and America's three major car manufacturers -- Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, and GM -- are hoping the U.S. government will bail them out. And considering most people listen to Sirius XM Radio in the car, the company is feeling the effects.
So what can really be done? Should Sirius XM dump Howard Stern and other prominent radio personalities and stick to music? Should Sirius XM call it a day and try to sell its operation to the highest bidder? Or should Sirius XM forge ahead with its current strategy and hope against hope that everything will be OK?
To answer those questions won't be easy. But at this point, I simply don't know how Sirius XM can survive unless it does something drastic.… Read more
If satellite radio has a corner on any market, it's in the car, and with the increasingly narrow selection offered by terrestrial radio in many areas, it's no wonder. But for those who want to listen to Sirius or XM at the gym, in the train, or on the streets, the selection is a bit more limited, namely because many portable receivers aren't as adept at picking up satellite signals due to the small size of the units, and thus, their antennae.
With the Inno XMP3 for XM, Pioneer aims to offer the most compact device while … Read more
At 2008's SEMA Show, I took a spin in a Toyota Sienna with a rather unique feature designed and installed by AT&T: CruiseCast Satellite TV. I have to say after seeing the system, I'm impressed.
We here at CNET Car Tech have test driven vehicles equipped with satellite TV, such as the 2009 Dodge Ram and Durango Hybrid vehicles with their Sirius Backseat TV systems. These systems have two fatal flaws. First, the signal is poor even at its best. At its worst, it's unwatchable because of spotty reception. Secondly, the selection of channels is … Read more
NEW YORK--He made it past the Federal Communications Commission. But Sirius XM Radio CEO Mel Karmazin now has to deal with Wall Street.
In his keynote interview Tuesday at the Media & Money Conference, a joint production of Dow Jones and Nielsen, Karmazin wasn't in humility mode. "We're probably one of the top 25 media companies today," he said of the newly merged Sirius XM, which brought together the world's only two satellite radio companies. "I think it's very clear that we will be the most successful company in the audio entertainment industry. … Read more
Before we're awash in MacBook news later today, Toshiba would like to keep the focus on its Satellite laptops. The company introduced minor updates to the U405, M305, M305D, A305, A355, P305, L305, and L335 lines of Satellites. A refresh for the Satellite X205 is still in the works. The new models will feature the Fusion finish that Toshiba introduced earlier this year, along with face-recognition technology that lets you log on by placing your mug in front of the laptop's Webcam, and sleep-and-charge USB ports that let you charge your cell phone or iPod when the laptop … Read more
Sound & Vision magazine's Brent Butterworth conducted a test comparing the video quality of Dish Network's 1080p video-on-demand service with that of a Blu-ray movie, and found very little difference.
Dish offers a very few select VOD movies in 1080p resolution, the highest-definition available today, only one of which was available at the time of the comparison: Speed Racer. Comparing the 1080p Dish VOD version with the 1080p version on the Blu-ray disc, Butterworth "could detect only subtle differences" from a normal seating distance, reporting that both "looked fantastic."
Dish overcomes bandwidth constraints by … Read more
When we first laid eyes on the Dodge Ram, a few words came to mind: gargantuan, behemoth, colossal. The words that didn't immediately come to mind when the big ol' truck rolled into the CNET garage were "high" or "tech." However, after--literally--climbing into the Ram's cab and spending some time behind the wheel, we found a surprising amount of drive-train tech and, more surprisingly, some very sophisticated cabin tech.
Satellite TV, a hard drive-based audio system, and in-vehicle Wi-Fi are just some of the ambitious, if unrefined, tricks the Dodge Ram has up its … Read more