Speculation surrounding the capabilities of Sirius' Starmate 5 has made its way around the Internet. The new device is in the midst of testing at the FCC, and a letter regarding the testing from the FCC mentioned XM Satellite Radio. This tidbit of information could be a clue as to an A-La-Carte capable receiver, or simply just an innocent use of the XM name in correspondence relating to the receiver.

Viewing the instruction manual for the Starmate 5 gives no real indication of XM capabilities. Some look at this as evidence that this is not a "special" receiver. I would caution such assumptions. An A-La-Carte radio would have a subscriber subscribing to either Sirius or XM initially, and the A-La-Carte offerings would be a handful of channels from the other service. Thus, it stands to reason that the directions would give no real indication of the channel line-up, and there would be no need, especially at this point, to divulge these capabilities.

With the understanding that the new Starmate 5 carries many similarities to the Starmate 4 in form and function, we decided to dig a bit deeper in an effort to see if there was something that differentiates the two devices. We pulled the internal photo of the Starmate 4 as filed with the FCC on August 17, 2007 as well as the internal photo of the Starmate 5 as filed with the FCC on May 3, 2008, and BEHOLD......extra stuff and substantial changes!!!

starmate.JPG

Now, I am no circuit board expert, but perhaps a reader can comment on what some of these changes might mean. It could be as simple as an upgrade to the chipsets, but only 8 months has passed between these two FCC filings. Is there something in here that relates to additional functionality? I guess we need experts to let us know. If the changes do relate to an A-La-Carte radio, it could mean that such a device would be available for the2008 Holiday season. There is plenty of time for production if this is the case.

FCC Filing for Starmate 4

FCC Filing for Starmate 5

Orbitcast Article

Position - Long Sirius, Long XM