| XM Radio to Offer Voice Commands As New Service |
By Yuki Noguchi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 30, 2005; Page D04
XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. plans to introduce new technologies next year that will allow users to switch stations using voice commands, the company said yesterday.
XM, working with Kirkland, Wash.-based VoiceBox Technologies Inc., is designing a system that allows the driver of a car to control the radio by asking it to search by genre of music, for example. The system will then reply to the driver with several options.
The feature is part of a push into new services that will market the company as more of a computing-and-communications service for the car.
"Originally, XM was simply a service that delivered music, sports and talk radio to cars and eventually the home," said XM Radio spokesman David Butler. "We are now expanding into new services that can be beamed into the same signal," which means being able to access the kind of information that usually would come over a desktop computer, including real-time traffic information, as well as other entertainment.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month, the District-based company will demonstrate its version of a futuristic car, which includes services that can search for available parking, give advance warning about weather conditions, and receive or record video feeds, all through a satellite radio system. Some of the services would be available for a fee on top of the current $12.95-a-month subscription rate, which gives access to 160 music and news channels.
XM, which this week also said it would start broadcasting two of its channels in surround sound in March, had more than 5 million subscribers at the end of September. Its biggest competitor, Sirius Satellite Radio, said this week that it has more than 3 million customers.
Sirius does not offer a voice-command service.
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