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June 03, 2009

AT&T Intros 22-Channel In-Car TV Service

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor


“Oh, she’s a 90 pound suburban housewife
Drivin’ in her SUV,
Talkin’ on her cell phone,
Oblivious to you and me.
Kids in the back seat, watchin’ the little TV.
She’s a 90 pound suburban housewife drivin’ in her SUV.”
 
– from “90 Pound Suburban Housewife Drivin’ in Her SUV,” by Rozeanne Gates and Suzanne Sheridan
 
 
It’s safe to say that drivers have enough dangerous distractions on the road: text-messaging while at the wheel, tuning into Rush Limbaugh’s program by accident, listening to sports radio show host Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo try to pronounce “Milwaukee Brewers” (think Elmer Fudd).
 
Yet today, we’re hearing that AT&T (News - Alert) has joined a Dallas, Texas-based RaySat, a developer of satellite antennas for in-motion use, to launch a mobile TV service with 22 channels.
 
According to Todd Spangler of Multichannel.com, available stations on the so-called AT&T “CruiseCast” service will include USA, Discovery, CNN Mobile, the NFL Network, Fox News (more danger from Limbaugh) and Disney.
 
For $1,299 and the monthly subscription fee is $28, CruiseCast also provides 20 channels of satellite radio, according to Spangler.
 
“The service is delivered via satellite operator by Intelsat (News - Alert) to a three-pound, pod-like antenna affixed to a vehicle’s roof,” Spangler reports.
 
A bunch of brand-name equipment vendors are collaborating the make the service possible.
 
They include: ST Electronics (News - Alert), a company that provides the circuitry that enables the line-of-sight blockage protection for the service; Hyundai Digital Technology, which manufactures the service’s in-vehicle receiver; NDS (News - Alert), which is providing the conditional-access system, middleware and integration service; Harmonics’ video encoders; . Synchronoss provides subscriber-account management and the service-activation front-end for AT&T CruiseCast service.
 
I’m not sure who has a spare $1,300 or so throw around for a service like that, but for the sake of my good buddy who works for AT&T, I trust that CruiseCast – a feature I personally like for cross-country trips in RVs, but find a little absurd for the kinds of terrible drivers that seem to wind up in SUVs – is not AT&T’s answer to what could be an emerging crisis for the product that experts say is keeping it afloat. TMCnet already reported on the rumors that Verizon (News - Alert) could emerge as a carrier for Apple’s iPhone.
 

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.


Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan



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