Now that satellite radio companies XM and Sirius have merged next up is a common radio that is able to tune stations from each.
While Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin has promised the FCC that such devices will be available within 9-months, investors have been told to expect them to available “a number of months sooner.”
Unfortunately that doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll have them in time for this holiday season but Karmazin did point out in an interview with Orbitcast that the new devices will be making their debut at CES 2009 in January.
After what seems like forever, the merger of satellite radio providers Sirius and XM has finally been approved by the last group that needed to bless it–the FCC.
By a vote of 3 to 2, the FCC agreed to the merger after Sirius and XM agreed to pay a $19.7 million fine for violating FCC regulations for the and-based signal repeaters the companies use to operate.
Looks like all the lobbying by land-based radio companies against the merger didn’t make enough of a difference.
Both companies have promised that within three months of the deal they would allow listeners to pay only for the channels they want.
If you’ve been thinking about getting satellite TV through AT&T you might want to hold off for a bit and see how this plays out–Dish Network has announced that AT&T is ending their agreement to bundle Dish Network services with AT&T broadband and phone service (AT&T’s “triple play”).
While this could just be a play for AT&T to negotiate a better deal with Dish Network, it could also mean that AT&T is considering an agreement with DirecTV.
Too early to say how this might impact current customers.
On Monday satellite television provider Dish Network issued press release announcing the addition of 22 new high definition channels to its lineup with Dish Network senior vice president saying “we are excited to extend our competitiveness in HD by enhancing our already comprehensive HD lineup with these 22 channels, bringing our total HD lineup to over 95 channels.”
That’s great, BUT, the very next night they turned off 15 of its Voom HD channels bringing their total to 80.
Pretty damn sneaky. They make a big deal about having nearly as many HD channels as DirecTV, then quietly turn off 15.
BlackBerry users who also like XM Satellite Radio service have a new reason to be happy today.
XM has announced that it is teaming up with QuickPlay Media to deliver “20 exclusive XM channels of commercial-free music and 24-hour comedy programming for just $7.99 per month with an option for a complimentary 24-hour trial.”
The BlackBerry devices that will support the service are the 8800, 8700, Pearl and Curve, just make sure you have Blackberry Device Software 4.2 or higher.
You’ll need to install an application first before you can use the service which you can find at http://www.xmradio.com/bb or text “XM” to 47201 and click on the download link that’s send to you.
You can check out the full press release here if you’re interested.
According to the Satellite Users Interference Reduction Group (SUIRG), they have found conclusive results of unacceptable levels of interference from WiMAX against C-band satellite signals.
Their tests show that WiMAX antennas can disrupt satellite reception up to 20 kilometers (roughly 12.4 miles).
C-band satellite antennas are generally the “big dish” variety with sizes ranging from 7.5 to 12 feet, so they’re the big style dish, not the smaller dishes used by DirecTV or Dish Network. These days the big dishes are more common in rural areas, the same areas that could really benefit from WiMAX since they often won’t have access to other means of high speed Internet access.
With a name like Satellite Users Interference Reduction Group there’s an outside chance they MAY have a little bias…hopefully we’ll hear a comment from the WiMAX folks soon.
Last February Sirius and XM satellite radio services announced a proposed merger of the two companies and set a deadline of March 1, 2008, for the companies to walk away from the deal if US regulators had not yet approved the deal.
Today’s March 1, and the two have announced that they would be extending the deadline by two months with the hopes that the FCC and Department of Justice will approve the deal.
The traditional radio industry isn’t a fan of the deal, saying that the move would be anti-competitive.
The out of control spy satellite that was on its way back to Earth has been hit with a modified Navy SM-3 missile roughly 150 miles above Earth.
The decision to attempt to destroy it was made because of the chance it could survive re-entry and land in a populated area.
The US planned to spend up to $60 million on this attempt, enough though the possibility of the satellite falling into a populated area was believed to be remote, because “the regret factor of not acting clearly outweighed the regret factor of acting,” said James Jeffrey, deputy national security adviser.
The missile that was used did not contain a warhead, and instead was to hit the satellites fuel tank to explode the hydrazine tank and break the satellite up into smaller pieces that would burn up in the atmosphere.
If the missile strike was not as successfully as planned, whatever is left is expected to re-enter Earths atmosphere on or about March 6.
A few weeks ago word came out about an out of control spy satellite that was weeks away from hitting Earth.
Appropriate government agencies were said to be monitoring the situation to decided what, if any, action should be taken.
Shooting it down was not ruled out and it looks like that’s exactly what will happen.
To help avoid possible disaster with it crashing back to Earth, the US government has decided to shoot it down using a modified SM-3 missile that will attempt to intercept the satellite just prior to re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
This is the first time such a thing has been attempted so there is a chance it may miss. If it does miss, a decision will be made at that time whether a second missile is used.
For more info check out the full story at MSNBC here.
According to a US government spokesperson, a US spy satellite has lost power and propulsion is expected to fall back to Earth in late February or early March.
The satellite is classified secret so its not know what type it is nor how large it is, but it might be a KH-11 class satellite, manufactured by Lockheed and launched around 1990. If it is a KH-11 (a “Keyhole-class” reconnaissance satellite), that would make it about the size of the Hubble telescope, so approximately 43 feet long and 24,250 pounds.
“Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause,” says Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the National Security Council.
Its not known exactly where it will be falling, but “appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation.”