Master Class- Alan Binder's Leap of Faith
At the present time the greatest challenge relates to actually getting equipment. As a smaller retailer it can sometimes be hard, during the initial phases of the rollout, to get inventory. Right now glass-mount antennas and certain tuners are difficult to get. The only company offering a glass-mounted antenna is Terk, and there is shortage of supply. Apparently, Antenna Specialists will be releasing a competitive product at some stage in the future. We've found a short-term solution to that problem for those customers eager to get an XM system. It's not a panacea, but in San Diego, because of all the repeaters in this city, we can put a trunk or roof-mount antenna inside the rear deck of the car and get perfect reception in the city.
When you travel out— let's say you go from San Diego to Las Vegas—that may be an issue if your antenna does not have direct line of sight to the satellite. Tuners are hard to get right now as well. Alpine has been tight on the supply of the XM tuner. We got our first shipment, but we're on a waitlist for the second. With Pioneer it doesn't matter, because any Pioneer radio with P-Bus works with the Pioneer XM tuner.
Even with some of these problems, Progressive Mobile is taking a positive approach to this new product category. It is my guess that somewhere in the not too distant future, satellite radio broadcasters may package their service similar to a cellular deal. Customers would sign up for two or three years and have very little up-front outlay. That's the one thing that will permit more people to get into this technology. Just think about all the millions of existing vehicles on the roads that can have an FM modulated system added to whatever is already in their vehicle. We'll also need to watch what the car manufacturers are doing. If OEMs put radios in that are XM compatible, then there's an opportunity for the 12-volt dealer to add the tuner. But if they put the XM tuner in the vehicle at the factory, then we're back to square one. In any new business it is important to watch it carefully to see how it grows and how the rest of the market reacts to it, but that's part of the excitement and we see real potential in selling this service.