By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Audiovox is in the process of finalizing an agreement with USTelematics, maker of one of the first WiMAX car video products, to manufacture, distribute and market US Telematics' car video systems under Audiovox brand names, said USTelematics, here.
The deal, expected to be finalized within 45 days, would allow USTelematics' to gain access to Audiovox's more than 20,000 retail and automotive outlets worldwide. USTelematics CEO Howard Leventhal said, "This expected arrangement with Audiovox is the first step toward significantly accelerating the marketing and distribution of Voyager." Voyager is an IPTV car video system that streams video from Internet sites to the car over WiMAX and cellular EV-DO. Until now, it sold only in spot outlets, said Leventhal. "Instead of trying to force our way through a few points of distribution, we now have 20,000 points."
Audiovox approached USTelematics, he said.
Leventhal said Audiovox is likely to begin offering the Voyager through car dealerships before the holidays this year. At the car dealer, the cost of the device can be rolled into car financing. Later, the product will be offered to aftermarket retailers, he said.
Subject to remaining due diligence, Audiovox is interested in investing a certain amount of cash directly into USTelematics and to paying royalties for rights to the Voyager intellectual property, software, trade secrets, and for manufacturing and distribution rights worldwide, said USTelematics.
The Voyager was introduced in January this year.
USTelematics also announced earlier this week that it signed an agreement with Dish Network to offer Voyager customers full access to all Dish Network programming in the car. Through further deals with Verizon and Sprint, the company is acting as a cellular/WiMAX video provider for the car. Its service is called 4VDO and customers can sign up for the package when they buy a Voyager.
To receive 4VDO service requires a $30/month or less charge from Dish Network and a cellular fee of $15 to $60/month. USTelematics also offers free access to certain Web portals such as Disney.com and CNN.com and has deals with iTunes and Sirius to provide content.
The company said it also negotiating with DirecTV.
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