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Audiovox Talks FLO TV, Outlines CES Plans

10/13/2010 12:02:13 PM Eastern
Hauppauge, N.Y. - Audiovox expects no financial impact from FLO TV's decision to turn off direct-to-consumer mobile-TV service early next year, president/CEO Pat Lavelle said today during a conference call for analysts.

The company "expects no exposure" to its financial statements and will work with FLO TV "to transition ... with no loss to Audiovox," he said.

On other topics, Lavelle said the company "fully expects" an International CES launch of the RCA-brand Air Power battery charger, which wirelessly "harvests" 2.4GHz Wi-Fi energy to charge a connected portable device.

He noted Audiovox plans a CES launch of 14 OEM-look in-dash head units for the expediter channel with multimedia, navigation, satellite-radio and HD Radio capabilities.

And during the quarter its Zentral Home Command devices, which turn BlackBerrys, iPhones and iPod Touches into Bluetooth remotes to control home-entertainment systems, should begin shipping. They were shown at January's CES along with a product that turns a BlackBerry into a Bluetooth garage-door remote.

Referring to FLO TV, Lavelle said Audiovox was disappointed in FLO TV's decision to turn off service and was a "firm believer" in the service's "long-term success." The decision "will not have a significant impact on sales" because Audiovox knew it would take time to build the market and did "not anticipate overly high sales in the first year," he noted.

Audiovox expects lost FLO TV sales to be replaced by sales of ATSC M/H products that deliver the signals of local over-the-air HDTV stations to portable and mobile devices in motion, he said.

Audiovox marketed a FLO TV-equipped portable DVD player and FLO TV tuners that could be added onto existing car-A/V systems.

As for the Air Power product, shown at the 2010 CES conventions, Lavelle said a patent application is proceeding and "testing is going well."

Previous press reports said the device would charge itself in five to six hours and would recharge a connected portable device at the same rate as an AC charger. But a spokesman today said the product has changed since its initial showing and that specifications haven't been disclosed.

In the future, the technology could be embedded in portable devices so they could charge themselves.

As for additional company acquisitions, Lavelle said Audiovox has "identified a number of potential acquisitions" and is "in the process of determining feasibility."

 Earlier this year, Audiovox acquired Invision, a major supplier of rear-seat entertainment systems to automakers and car dealers. And in October 2009, it acquired Schwaiger, a German manufacturer of CE accessories.

 Lavelle made the comments during a conference call to discuss the company's second-quarter financial results.

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