Promising technology, interesting programming, and good business plans may not be enough to keep satellite radio services XM Radio and Sirius Radio aloft. Both companies are struggling with massive financial problems as they scramble to gain subscribers.
On August 18, XM Radio invited the press to Manhattan's Rainbow Room to announce its latest product offerings. The locale was not unintentional, according to Chance Patterson, XM's vice president for programming operations, "This building [30 Rockefeller Plaza, headquarters of NBC] was at the center of radio's first flowering, and XM represents radio's future."
This week, XM Satellite Radio launches Classical Confidential, a series of hour-long artist profiles. Modeled after XM's Artist Confidential series, in which listeners can get to know high-profile artists "up close and personal," per XM, the new show's first installment features an hour with Sony BMG's favorite male violinist, the sweet-toned, extremely gifted Joshua Bell. Subsequent shows will feature the magnificent mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and conductor Leonard Slatkin.
XM Radio held a press conference in New York City Thursday, April 18. The event was heralded with great secrecy—attendees were enticed with promises of "major news," but no one leaked details beforehand, and the press arrived expecting something juicy indeed.
After enduring frustrating delays, XM Satellite Radio announced the successful launch last week of its first satellite, which the company has named Rock. XM reports that lift-off occurred off the Sea Launch Odyssey Launch Platform in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean on the equator, and that the first signals from the satellite were captured by a ground station in Australia a little over an hour later, as planned.
Beginning next year, XM Satellite Radio won't merely offer 100 channels of news, sports, talk shows, and the entire spectrum of music nationwide. Thanks to a partnership announced May 30 with Command Audio Corporation, XM will allow listeners to personalize their radio programming.
It's no wonder the public is confused about audio formats and sound quality, Consider claims such as the recent "major breakthrough" announcement concerning two audio technologies from Creative Technology, a company best known for making PC peripherals (most notably the Sound Blaster audio cards).
Speaking at the Music 2.0 conference in Los Angeles on February 23, Yahoo Music's general manager Dave Goldberg startled listeners with a statement probably never previously heard from the head of a for-pay digital music service: Lay off the DRM.
For years now, Internet users willing to walk on the audio wild side have had access to millions of illicit music files via peer-to-peer file-trading services. But those who have tried to find locate of the commercial sources for online music files have found their choices limited.
Yamaha Electronics Corporation has introduced four new A/V digital home-theater receivers equipped with XM Satellite Radio capability (XM-Ready). The $649.95 RX-V757, $549.95 RX-V657, $449.95 RX-V557, and $349.95 RX-V457 will allow users to plug an XM Connect-and-Play home antenna into the Yamaha XM-Ready A/V receiver and activate the XM service to receive 150-plus digital radio channels—no other accessories or installation are required. Using XM's industry-leading chipset technology, as well as a new proprietary chip and signaling protocol, the XM Connect-and-Play home antenna is capable of receiving XM's satellite and terrestrial signals, in addition to performing channel tuning, decoding, and audio transmission functions.
High-resolution digital audio got a big boost on March 2, when Yamaha Electronics Corporation announced the release of its new RX-V1, a multichannel receiver featuring Burr-Brown PCM 1704 24-bit/96kHz DACs for all 10 channels, including two subwoofer outputs. Six of the channels are full-range with amplifier power of 110W each, with claimed frequency response beyond 100kHz.
The next generation of streaming media technology was unveiled last week at RealNetworks' Conference '98 in Burlingame, California. The star of the show? "Bandwidth-friendly" RealPlayer G2, which promises to make noisy audio and glitchy video a part of the Web's past.
The Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES) launches its second annual three-day show on September 28 in downtown Toronto's historic King Edward Hotel. Produced by Canada HiFi's publisher/editor-in-chief, Suave Kajko, and his partner, Simon Au, and "presented by Porsche," TAVES promises multiple exhibit rooms in which between 65 and 70 exhibitors, over 80% of whom are manufacturers, will display approximately 274 component brands and media from 26 recording labels (CD, LP, and Blu-ray).
"I'm pretty excited about the preponderance of manufacturers, because they tend to have more elaborate set-ups and bring a lot more product with them," Kajko told Stereophile.