Freemont, Calif. — Mio is discussing the possibility of offering in the United States a personal navigation device (PND) with built-in TV capability.
Mitac, Mio’s Taiwan-based parent, supplies PNDs with built-in TV tuners in Korea and just began shipping two models in Japan.
Kiyoshi Hamai, Mio senior director of U.S. sales and marketing, said that while watching TV in the front seat of the car is common in Korea, "there are a lot of concerns about the liability of doing that" in the United States. Regarding a PND/TV in the United States, he said, "There have been discussions but no plans."
Garmin and TomTom are considering offering PNDs with built-in TVs and PNDs could become a key device for mobile TV deployment, according to a report in the Digitimes.
Hamai said it is not difficult from an engineering standpoint to combine the two technologies.
TomTom said of the report, "TomTom is always assessing new functions and technologies to bring to market. However, we can not comment on future innovations."
Although U.S. laws restrict use of TV in the front seat in many states, Minnetonka, Minn-based analyst TRG expects eventually mobile video will migrate to the
In Asia and in Europe front-seat video is legal up to speeds of 3 mph or 4 mph so drivers can watch TV in slow traffic, said TRG.
There are new technologies, however, such as dual-screen imaging that will send one image to the front-seat passenger and another to the driver, simultaneously on the same screen, which could eventually lead to the use of front seat video in the United States by the year 2012, TRG said.
of the car.