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Audiovox Updates FLO TV, Mobile ATSC Plans

6/18/2010 03:46:12 PM Eastern

Hauppauge, N.Y. - More
FLO TV products are due from Audiovox in the coming months, but the company
will hold off shipping mobile ATSC products until early next year, Audiovox
Electronics president Tom Malone told TWICE.

In updating the
company's mobile DTV roadmap, Malone said a portable DVD player with embedded
FLO TV tuner and embedded antenna will ship in limited quantities in mid-July
at a suggested $199 to support a couple of key retailers. Distribution will expand
as demand warrants. The ship date "slipped a little" because "it took a little
more time to get it the way we wanted," Malone said.

The first aftermarket
FLO-ready overhead DVD/monitor, built to control an add-on FLO TV tuner, will
ship in June, followed 60 days later by two other in-vehicle aftermarket products:
a FLO-ready Jensen-brand in-dash multimedia head unit with 7-inch screen and a headrest-mounted
LCD monitor/DVD system with dual 7-inch screens.

The Jensen head unit and
add-on FLO TV tuner were originally targeted to ship in the spring, followed
about a month later by the FLO-ready overhead system and dual-headrest system.

Three months ago, the
company shipped the Audiovox-brand FLO TV car kit, which adds FLO TV tuner and
controls to previously installed in-car video systems. It retails for $599 with
installation, excluding subscription service. It joined an Advent-branded
expediter version installed by car dealers at $899 to $999, including a year of
subscription service.

The company has been
shipping the handheld tablet-style FLO TV portable since late 2009.

In Mobile ATSC, the
company pushed back until next year the availability of a portable DVD player with built-in mobile ATSC tuner,
originally planned for the first half
of this year. To make the product appealing to regional chains and national
accounts, Malone explained, Mobile ATSC broadcasts by local TV stations must
expand well beyond the approximate eight markets where the Open Mobile Video
Coalition says more than 40 local TV stations are currently offering the
service. Service standards were ratified by the ATSC only last October.

With that in mind,
Audiovox plans January 2011 shipments of an add-on Mobile ATSC tuner that
integrates with currently installed in-vehicle video systems, Malone said. By
that time, he explained, Mobile ATSC broadcasting will be online in enough geographic
pockets that the company will be able to ship the tuner to smaller 12-volt
specialty retailers in those pockets.

At 2011 International CES,
nonetheless, Audiovox will show preproduction working samples of a handheld TV
and portable DVD player, both with Mobile ATSC tuner. The products will be
rolled out "as the markets fill up with broadcasters," he said. Local
independent and small regional retailers would be the first to offer the two
products, with larger regional players and national retailers brining them on board
"when coverage is robust," he said. A regional retailer with 30 of 80 stores in
Mobile ATSC markets might hold off until coverage expands, he noted. "We will
map coverage as it grows," he added.

FLO TV coverage, in
contrast, is near national.