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XM To Deliver Voice-Enabled Digital Car Radio

Posted by inet - 2005-12-31

XM Satellite Radio and VoiceBox Technologies Inc. said Thursday that they are jointly developing a voice-controlled digital radio for the car.
The companies, which have formed a multiyear creative and commercial alliance, are scheduled to demonstrate their technology at the Jan. 5-8 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The demonstration is expected to use a specially equipped 2006 Lexus LX 470.

The technology, which is set for availability to automakers and the aftermarket in mid-2006, would enable drivers to access XM radio's 160 digital entertainment channels, which include commercial-free music, news, sports and talk. The service is available by monthly subscription.

In addition to XM channels, the joint service is also expected to provide subscribers with personalized information on stocks, weather, traffic and other information.

"After extensive analysis, XM chose VoiceBox as its source for voice technology because of its intuitive and conversational voice search offerings that have remarkable accuracy in noisy, real-world environments," Rod Mackenzie, director of advanced applications at Washington, D.C.-based, XM, said in a statement.

The joint product uses VoiceBox's Navigator Platform, which enables conversational control of media from a mobile device over an Internet protocol (IP) network. The technology runs on various embedded, desktop and server systems for applications such as music and media, navigation and driving directions, directory and hands-free dialing, and control over digital devices.

VoiceBox is headquartered in Kirkland, Wash.

In a separate announcement, XM said it would begin broadcasting two of its channels in high-definition surround sound in March 2006. The service stems from a partnership with Kirkland, Wash.-based, Neural Audio Corp., which provides digital-signal processing and surround-sound technology for the broadcast industry.

XM plans to demonstrate its XM HD Surround service at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Manufacturing partners Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. and Yamaha plan to introduce home audio systems capable of playing XM's advanced programming in 2006.

Beginning in March, XM plans to broadcast in surround sound the free-form music channel Fine Tuning and the classical pops music channel XM Pops.

XM, which launched its satellite-radio service in 2001, expects to end 2005 with more than 6 million subscribers.

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