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Winegard will join the handful of companies planning to deliver satellite TV to the car market.
The 50-year old antenna maker said it expects to ship a thin-mount antenna/ receiver package, called the RoadTrip XLP, to retailers at the end of the second quarter for less than $3,000 for the full package.
The antenna is similar in size to that of the KVH TracVision, measuring less than 5 inches high and 30 inches wide. Winegard will initially deliver DirectTV programming although it plans to enter talks with other satellite providers.
According to Winegard, DirecTV is looking into providing a special service plan for mobile subscribers. A spokeswoman for DirecTV confirmed it is in talks with car satellite TV companies about special 12-volt service plans. "We think down the road there will be a big market for it. Right now we have DirecTV in the air on JetBlue and Frontier Airlines," said the spokeswoman.
Brian Fleming, Winegard national sales manager for the automotive group, said the growing number of TVs in cars is laying the groundwork for 12-volt satellite video. He added, "If you ask any car dealer what is the most requested package for a mini-van or SUV he will tell you its video." He also cited a study that claimed that people with CD players still listen to the radio 70 percent of the time. "Obviously, live broadcasts are more valuable to the consumer than previously-recorded materials," Fleming said.
Winegard will target the aftermarket initially. It then hopes to branch into the OEM sector, Fleming added.
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