New XM Radio Service Mac-ready Using Windows Media Player, Company Says

Satellite radio provider XM Satellite Radio confirmed Wednesday its new streaming music service will be available for Mac users using Microsoftis Windows Media Player 9 for Mac OS X. The new service - XM Radio Online - will debut in October at US$7.99 a month offering over 130 digital audio channels.

Company spokesman Chance Patterson confirmed exclusively to The Mac Observer that the service will be cross platform. "Mac users will very much be a part of this online music service," he said. "Weive been working on this streaming service for some time and were anxious to get it launched."

XM Radio Online, also announced Wednesday, will offer all of the same channels heard on the serviceis regular service which requires a satellite radio receiver either in the home, office or in the car. Customers of its regular service pay $9.99 a month. Existing XM customers - of which there are presently 2.1 million - will be offered a discount rate of $3.99 a month for a limited time, Mr. Patterson said. The service will be available for U.S.-based customers only.

Until now, the only other way to listen to XM Radio on a Mac was to use the companyis XM Personal Computer Hardware (XM PCR) device together with a shareware software application to control channels. XM PCR was not a streaming product, capturing programming via its four-inch antenna directly from satellite, controlled and then played through a PC or Mac.

XM recently discontinued the PCR product, shortly after the release of a Windows-based software product that touted its ability to record and edit digital files of music from the XM PCR. Many believe the company decided to discontinue the product based on piracy litigation concerns, but Mr. Patterson denied such rumors, saying the life-span of the PCR product had run its course and was not as popular a product as its standalone XM Radio products. In addition, Mr. Patterson said plans had been in the works for a number of months to discontinue the XM PCR and launch the streaming online service.