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FLO TV Plans New Products, Tiered Subscriptions, Recording

3/23/2010 09:15:00 AM Eastern

Las Vegas
- Qualcomm's FLO TV subsidiary is readying new products, developing its first tiered
subscription options, and planning TV-program downloads to select FLO TV
devices, the company told TWICE here at CTIA Wireless 2010.

In new products, the live mobile-TV service plans in four to six
weeks to ship the Mophie-made Juice Pack TV, a first-of-its-kind accessory that
adds FLO TV tuning to an iPhone and iPod Touch equipped with a free FLO TV app,
said product management director Jeffrey Gattis. The Juice Pack TV takes the
form of a protective case that incorporates FLO TV tuner, a battery to extend
iPhone/Touch battery life by 70 percent to 80 percent, and Wi-Fi to send FLO TV
broadcasts to the attached iPhone/Touch as well to up to three more iPhones and
Touches equipped with the FLO TV app.

Flo TV is demonstrating the Juice Pack TV at the convention but
hasn't revealed pricing, nor did the company reveal the names of the retail
outlets that would get the initial shipments.

 Another new product, a
FLO-equipped portable DVD player, is targeted for June shipment at a targeted
suggested $199, Gattis said. Plans for it were announced at CES. It's not on
display at the CTIA show.

Updates on Audiovox's previously announced plans to expand its
selection of in-vehicle FLO TV products were unavailable.

In May or June, FLO TV will announce plans for multiple
subscription tiers for its handheld Personal Television, for Audiovox-marketed in-vehicle
FLO TV systems, and for the Mophie accessory, Gattis said. The options will provide
consumers with less-expensive subscription options. For the Personal TV, a
subscription costs $14.99/month for up to 20 channels, although six months of
service are included in the Personal TV price, currently advertised by
retailers at $199. A prepaid three-year subscription costs $8.99/month.

With the lower-priced subscriptions, FLO TV could offer
limited-time access to all channels to acquaint consumers with them, Gattis
said.

The optional subscription tiers aren't planned for FLO-equipped
cellphones, whose subscription prices are set by cellular carriers.

In another development, FLO TV is targeting late-summer
availability of download-and-store capability for its Personal Television,
which incorporates 4GB of embedded memory, and for cellphones equipped with FLO
TV tuner and memory. The download-and-store capability, which can be added to
existing devices via a software update, won't be available for in-vehicle FLO
TV systems because those systems lack memory storage.

Initially, the company might dedicate some of its bandwidth to
push previously broadcast TV programs of its choice to FLO TV devices for local
storage, Gattis said. In the future, the service could evolve to enable
consumers to use a PC or a FLO device's Wi-Fi to select the programs they want
to download and store, he noted.

The company hasn't decided whether to charge extra for the
download capability.

Also at the show, FLO TV is displaying Lenovo's Skylight
smartbook, due sometime late this year, with canned demonstrations of potential
datacasting services, such as sports scores and Twitter feeds, related to
live-TV programs. Other canned demos demonstrate the potential to use Wi-Fi or
3G cellular as a backchannel to deliver interactive services over the FLO
network.

FLO TV expanded its 700MHz footprint nationwide last July after
TV stations nationwide shut down their analog channels, and since then, the
number of FLO-equipped cellphones has risen to 12, from about seven to nine
about a year ago, a spokesperson said.

A Chrysler-brand dealer-installed FLO TV tuner for addition to
Chrysler OEM entertainment systems became available in recent months, the
company noted.

 

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