As part of the effort to have their merger approved by the FCC, former satellite radio rivals XM and Sirius introduced eight new pricing tiers they feel will be popular with current and new subscribers. Included is an “A la Carte” option that allows listeners to choose up to 50 channels from one service, for $6.99/month, almost half the current $12.99 fee. However, “premium” channels (assumed to be the sports, Oprah and Howard Stern channels) will not be included. Another “A la Carte” option allows listeners to choose up to 100 stations (including “premium”), from both services, for $14.99. The catch? Pre-merger subscribers who choose either option will have to buy a new receiver. There are 6 other options, including one geared toward families and one for sports fans—that don’t require buying a new receiver. The two companies hope the FCC will approve their merger by the end of the year. As a subscriber to XM Radio for nearly 2 years, this writer is very enthusiastic about the proposed pricing, even if it means purchasing a new radio.
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Fabrice Gonet, Jorg Hysek, and Valerie Ursenbacher decided to team up to form the HD3 Complication, designing watches based on their imaginations. Now one of these has come to fruition, although only 11 of them will be created. The Vulcania, named after Captain Nemo’s home port and devised by Gonet, has a deep-set 3-dimensional display on an etched map back plate. Hours are counted from rotating cylinders on the left, while minutes are determined on a Chadburn Telegraph-like wheel. The watch also features a sextant power reserve indicator and porthole loop date window. In a case of titanium and platinum, the functions can be viewed underneath sapphire glass panels. It is too bad that Jules Verne couldn’t live to see his tale inspiring more than just “Under the Sea” readers.
XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. have just announced that they have come to an agreement to merge. Monopoly outcries are likely a sure bet, as the deal would result in the consolidation of the two two companies in the subscription-only satellite radio business, so we can expect federal regulators to be looking at this deal under the microscope long and hard before it’s hopeful approval. The companies have also announced that Mel Karmazin, Sirius CEO, would become CEO of the newly formed company, while Gary Parson, XM chairman, would remain in the same position.
For all the Howard Stern fanboys out there who just can’t get enough, the Sirius Stiletto 100 may be right up your alley. This is the first handheld portable that Sirius has released that can go toe-to-toe with the XM Radio equivalents, like the Helix. The Stiletto 100 provides on-the-go satellite radio from Sirius, and a 100-hour recording capacity, allowing you to record the tracks that you find most appealing (or, the best recipes from Martha Stewart, as it were.) If you are out of range from a Sirius signal, the internal WiFi antenna gives access to 64 commercial-free Sirius Internet radio streams. You can also flag your favorites, which ties in to Yahoo’s Music Jukebox, allowing you to make a purchase of the song to store on your PC and Stiletto. The device can play both MP3 and WMA files. The pleasure of owning one of these will run you about $350 USD.
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