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Old 1st January 2002, 01:56 PM   #1
Sawzall is offline Sawzall
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Default Sony XM Radio

Its digital, so I guess it goes here. Cool toy. Not really portable since it needs power to run its antenna. But it works well, sounds reasonable (near CD my ***, more like a 128k stream, but I digress). For you across a pond types, it is our first DAB from space provider here in the States. XM Radio I can even use it in my office since I have a window.

Anyway, it has a clearly marked USB plug on it. Sony has not released anything to do with it, but they would not have put the plug there for nothing. So if anyone spots anything about it, let me know? I have enjoyed playing with it. The reciever is mostly two big PGA chips - one doing the recieving and the other the decoding it seems. Needs a fan to keep cool. The antenna is a dual LNA - one for space and the other for terresterial signals. Given that they have only 12.5 Mhz of freq to work with, its amazing that they have crammed 100 stations into that space.

Hacking it is clearly against the rules (or so it says in the manual) but people will be people. So if you spot something out there, drop me a note.
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Old 3rd January 2002, 03:00 PM   #2
Schaef is offline Schaef  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Have you tried plugging the USB connector into a computer and see what it says? Worst case it'll ask for a driver, best case it may actually do something. (It's probably for firmware upgrades as they find bugs and come up with better compression ideas) Any idea what generates all the heat? (Is it one or both of the PGAs or something different?)

Just a quick side question, how does the radio know you've subscribed to the system? Is there a card or something that has to be inserted into it to allow playback? Just curious...
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Old 3rd January 2002, 04:46 PM   #3
Sawzall is offline Sawzall
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Alexandria, VA USA
The heat is from both the PGA's. They are having to do some serious computing. One is the reciever, the other the decoder. Given XM has only 12.5Mhz of bandwidth for 100 channels, there is some serious compression going on here.

As for how it gets turned on? There is part of a two part cipher burned into the decoder chip. They send the other part down the system and that allows the decoder to work on channels. It also allows them to offer parental controls - thus Little Johnny won't get XM Raw (rap) or XM Comedy since they are uncensored.

Its also gonna make it really hard to hack this system - and given its price, just not worth it. There are about three layers to get to it.. to save 10 bucks a month? Sirius is supposed to have a similar system, but there is even less known about their equipment at this point.
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