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XM Satellite Radio Launches XM Direct

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – XM Satellite Radio has introduced XM Direct, a universal tuner that can be connected to any satellite-radio-ready car stereo with smart digital adapters developed and distributed by third-party companies. XM Direct uses an open operating system to give third parties the opportunity to develop a wide range of adapter cables to satisfy consumer demand in the automobile aftermarket and OEM segments. The third-party adapters connect the XM Direct to the in-dash stereo system so drivers can tune into XM Radio using their existing stereo controls.

"With XM Direct and smart digital adapters, automobile dealerships and retailers can now satisfy customers who want to listen to XM through their in- dash stereo, regardless of vehicle or car stereo brand," said Dan Murphy, senior vice president, Product Marketing and Distribution, XM Satellite Radio.

The companies Blitzsafe and Terk Technologies are currently developing a variety of smart digital adapters for XM Direct. Blitzsafe has developed and shipped the first adapter for 2003 and 2004 BMW and Mini vehicles, which is sold through Satellite Radios Direct. Consumers will be able to purchase XM Direct from participating BMW and Mini dealers for $299 plus installation.

"This reminds me of the early days when we were instrumental in getting CD changers to become more widely available as a new audio platform," Ira Marlowe, president of Blitzsafe, said. "We are very excited to be offering the very first digital adapter for XM Direct for BMW and Mini. It accurately transfers the superior digital sound quality of XM with full functionality, and it enables key features that can't be found on the existing BMW and Mini satellite systems. And this is just the beginning. We look forward to introducing more adapters for more applications in the near future."

Blitzsafe is working with Alpine to develop an adapter for its aftermarket car stereos available early next year.

Terk plans to introduce adaptors for other applications in January at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. All of these adapters for XM Direct will connect the tuner to the manufacturers' equipment and provide seamless operation and digital sound quality. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen