Industry Roundup

Satellite radio goes high-end: Beginning early next year, Krell Industries will enter the booming market for satellite radio receivers with an XM Radio tuner. The $4000 unit will reportedly also receive traditional AM and FM broadcasts; an optional module will let it stream Internet audio via 802.11g wireless connection to a broadband modem, according to the September 27 edition of This Week in Consumer Electronics (TWICE). The tuner will join Krell's line of custom installation products. In a similar but less expensive vein will be new Sirius tuners from Russound. At $699 and $999, the two new models will also include AM/FM tuners.

Directed buys Def Tech: Vista, CA–based Directed Electronics has acquired loudspeaker manufacturer Definitive Technology. Known primarily in the mobile audio and automotive security niches, Directed also owns the Orion, Precision Power, and a/d/s Mobile brands. As part of the deal, Definitive Technology co-founder Sandy Gross becomes president of Directed's new home-audio division and takes a place on the corporate board of directors. The acquisition is part of a long-term strategy to move into the home theater/home audio arena, according to a press release. "The acquisition of Definitive Technology and the formation of Directed's Home Audio Division will add significantly to Directed's ability to provide our customers with the very best in high-end home audio," said Directed president and CEO Jim Minarik.

More than Wave Radio: Bose Corporation is looking for partners in the automotive industry to take on an electromagnetic suspension system. Developed over the past 24 years by the Framingham, MA audio company, the Bose suspension system uses—in addition to MacPherson struts in front and double-wishbone suspension in the rear—"linear electromagnetic motors with magnets and wire coils mounted at each wheel" for a "supple luxury car ride," according to a September 13 report by Andrew Luu in Auto Week. The electronic array—including high-power amps to control dive and roll at each wheel—adds about 200 lbs. to the car's total weight.

Twilight of the dinosaurs department: Television viewing is on the decline among people in the 18–34 age group, according to a study released September 30 by the Online Publishers Association. For this group, the Internet is now the dominant source for information and entertainment. Almost half (47%) say they spend more time on the Internet now than they did a year earlier, and 28% say they spend less time watching TV.

RadioShark: Taking a cue from TiVo and other digital video recorders, Griffin Technology has announced that it is finally shipping an AM/FM radio that records broadcasts onto a hard disk. Features include station scanning and preset, time-shift recording, "live pause," and USB connectivity. The RadioSHARK also enables transfers of off-the-air recordings to iPods or other portable music players. Griffin Technology makes a dozen or more really clever accessories for the iPod, including earbud adaptors, an LED flashlight, a PodPod that holds the little player while driving, and more. Griffin is also the maker of the PowerMate, a programmable USB multimedia controller that resembles a large analog volume control. Recording off-the-air broadcasts has always been 100% legal, by the way.

House ups the ante: The US House of Representatives has passed a version of the "Induce Act" that would impose criminal penalties of up to three years in jail for people found to have shared more than 1000 songs online or to have videotaped movies in theaters. The bill could force many peer-to-peer file-sharing services out of business, or at the very least, out of the country. It also considerably increases the animosity between the tech sector and the entertainment industry. "We must not let new Internet technologies become a haven for criminals," said sponsoring congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX). A similar bill was passed earlier by the Senate; differences between the two must be resolved before being enacted into law. Consumer advocate groups from across the political spectrum have denounced the move as favoritism for the entertainment industry.

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