By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
AT&T CruiseCast announced pricing for its satellite-video service for the car due in March, and said its service will be offered to Avis/Budget rental cars customers in April.
AT&T CruiseCast joins other live video services heading for the car including MediaFLO's FLO TV from Audiovox (see story at right) and a satellite-video service from ICO Global Communications due in 2010.
AT&T CruiseCast will provide 22 channels of live and delayed programming to cars at a fee of $1,299 for the receiver and a low profile antenna (measuring about a square foot and 4 inches thick), a set-top box for video screens and an RF remote. The service fee will cost $28/month.
The company also announced that in April, Avis and Budget customers may rent a portable version of the CruiseCast at select locations in the top 50 markets for $8.95/day or $62.65/week.
Channels to be available include the Disney Channel, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MSNBC and CNN Mobile Live.
Also this month, ICO announced that it has commenced alpha trials of its video satellite, launched last April, and is on track to deliver 15 channels of live video to the car, plus navigation and OnStar-like emergency service in 2010 at a fee of $15 to $25 per month.
Live video for the car has been offered in the past but was hampered by limited channel selection, high price or bulky antennae.
The above video services could be joined by general digital TV transmission to the car of local and other broadcast stations. A mobile digital TV standard is expected to be approved by the third quarter in 2009, which would allow a standard TV signal to be received in a moving vehicle or a handheld product. This might open the door to an initial flood of add-on tuners for the 20 million car TV screens already in automobiles. At CES, prototype car tuners for the new standard were demonstrated by Kenwood, Visteon and Hyundai.
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