By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Satellite TV companies Audiovox, KVH and RaySat are introducing new products here that offer mobile Internet connections to the automobile.
In addition, OEM integrator Blitz Safe says it is developing a nonmechanical 4-inch by 4-inch car satellite TV antenna that works with DirecTV.
RaySat is showing the new SpeedRay 3000, a low profile, 5.7-inch satellite TV system that can also provide two-way high-speed Internet access via satellite. It then uses Wi-Fi to stream the Internet signal into the vehicle or within 100 feet around the vehicle, where it can also be shared by a wireless laptop, PDA and other devices. Shipping is expected in July at a price to be announced.
Audiovox said it will also introduce a SkyBox rooftop satellite TV system with Internet capability in the next three months. The unit will be produced by RaySat. Further, the company hopes to offer a model with a reduced antenna size. The current version of the SkyBox has a 5.7-inch high antenna that is about as wide as a car rooftop. The new model would be only 9 inches wide, said senior sales VP Tom Malone.
KVH announced it has partnered with Microsoft to create an “Internet appliance” for the automobile.
The agreement calls for KVH to create a mobile version of Microsoft's MSNTV2 (Internet appliance with wireless keyboard) to be on the market by mid-2006. The product will allow broadband access to Internet Web browsing, Windows Media Player, MSN Mail and Messenger, digital photo viewer, digital media receivers and MSN Video and MSN Radio. It would be designed to work with video monitors from other suppliers, including monitors that are already installed in the car, and it would basically include a box, wireless keyboard and remote.
KVH said the mobile MSNTV2 will use an EV-DO/Wi-Fi router that KVH will integrate into the MSN product, and it will likely use Sprint or Verizon service. EV-DO cellular service offers typical speeds of 400Kbps to 700Kbps, similar to residential DSL. This will also turn the vehicle into “a roaming hot spot” said KVH, so passengers can wirelessly connect laptops, PDAs and other devices to the Internet through Wi-Fi.
No price is available yet for the mobile MSNTV2. However, the service is expected to carry a fee of approximately $100 per month.
Blitz Safe's new satellite TV antenna is electronic and does not use moving parts. It will offer 360 degree tracking and live streaming of DirecTV programming. The company is targeting a spring release at a suggested retail price of $400.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.