Sirius Satellite Radio To Deliver Video And Data Next Year - InformationWeek
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6/13/2005
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Sirius Satellite Radio To Deliver Video And Data Next Year

Technology developed by Sirius Satellite Radio will lead to new services such as music videos, stock reports, and news feeds beginning in the second half of 2006.

Sirius Satellite Radio said Monday it will add new channels, data, and video services next year as the result of technology it has developed for expanding its existing spectrum by 25%.

The new technology, known as hierarchal modulation, increases the bits Sirius can transmit through its satellite and ground networks, giving it the capacity to start delivering new services such as music videos, stock reports, and news feeds beginning in the second half of 2006.

Subscribers won't be affected, but new radios equipped with the modulation technology will be needed for accessing the services. The technology was created by Sirius' advanced development team, and will require minimal upgrades to the company's satellite uplink and on-ground infrastructure. Sirius has been working with its chip-making partners to integrate the new technology into future products.

Sirius' innovation comes as the service continues to experience rapid growth. The company said last December that its subscriber base had passed 1 million, and four months later that number had grown to 1.5 million. As a result, the company--whose $43.2 million in first-quarter revenue was 365% greater than a year earlier--projects it will have 2.7 million subscribers by the end of 2005. Rival XM Satellite said it had passed 4 million subscribers in May, and it expects to be at 5.5 million by year's end.

Both services have gotten a boost from automakers eager to package satellite radio with newer models. Toyota said Monday that Sirius would be available in its 2006 Land Cruiser and several 2005 and 2006 models of its Lexus line. The service is expected to expand to additional Toyota and Lexus models later this year.

Sirius said in recent months that it has reached exclusive agreements to broadcast Jimmy Buffett's Radio Margaritaville and a Martha Stewart channel.

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