XM Satellite Radio Technology & Content Evolution 2006-21-0068
XM Satellite Radio launched its nationwide service in September of 2001. With 6.5 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter of 2006, XM is one of the fastest growing audio formats and entertainment services. This paper addresses XM's technology and content evolution, primarily for the radio unit and the signaling protocols, from the early years to the present time, and the applicability of this technology in fostering exciting new infotainment services. The radio architecture includes an antenna, an RF tuner module, a baseband chipset and a microprocessor. All of these subsystems underwent a complete transformation in the past four years from a size perspective, capability and cost. Specifically the following phases of the radio platform are addressed: a) Phase 1: The early years; b) Phase 2: The invention of the Plug and Play ; c) Phase 3: Connect and Play ; d) Phase 4; The wearable; e) Phase 5: Infotainment convergence of audio plus data services. Phase 6: Future XM Content. The continuous radio architectural evolution in conjunction with new signaling protocols opened up new business opportunities in the residential and pedestrian environments as well as in the area of Telematics. Through continuous innovation in the technology segment and substantial investment in content, XM is well positioned to become a major force in the media business with a forecast 20 million subscribers by the year 2010. Although XM content was initially focused on music entertainment and talk radio, by 2005 XM content expanded to traffic and weather information, live sports including major league baseball, and real time traffic data for autonomous vehicle navigation systems as well as real time weather data for the aviation and marine markets. Future content may include imaging, video, and other real time data for consumer and commercial markets.