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Audiovox Ready To Go With The FLO

Audiovox Electronics provided more details on its plan to “breath new life” into car entertainment by offering MediaFLO FLO TV to the car.

The company plans to offer a MediaFLO DTV tuner, now targeting a $599 to $699 installed price through new car dealers when the device ships in late September or early October.

The price is without a bundled service plan, but the company is considering a bundled price that includes up to a year of service, Audiovox Electronics president Tom Malone told TWICE.

As previously announced, Audiovox will initially target car-dealer expediters during the launch, but shipments to key installing retailers will follow probably within three to four months, Malone said. Shipments to other installing retailers will follow about six months after the expediter launch.

Expediters, car dealers and retailers will make a margin on the hardware. No activation commissions are planned, he noted.

The effort is part of a plan by Qualcomm’s MediaFLO subsidiary to extend FLO TV reception beyond the approximate 10 cellphones that incorporate embedded MediaFLO tuners. (See p. 26.)

In the Audiovox implementation, an alarm-module-sized tuner and thin antenna, possibly glass-mounted and only about 3 inches in length, will be packaged with needed cables and connectors to integrate with already installed OEM and aftermarket A/V systems. The installed base of car A/V systems is about 20 million, Malone said.

For the expediter rollout, Audiovox will also provide installation diagrams to integrate FLO TV with the OEM A/V systems of 2009 and 2010 vehicles. For some vehicles, the package will work with vehicles a few years older. For other vehicles, experienced installers will be able to find the needed connections on their own. “Every video system gives you a way in,” Malone said. Aftermarket systems with headrest-mounted displays, he noted, come with an under-seat distribution box that can be tapped.

When FLO TV is added to existing A/V systems, consumers will have to use two remotes: the A/V system remote to control the A/V system and an Audiovox-supplied remote to control the FLO TV tuner. A new generation of Audiovox and Advent video systems, however, will be FLO-ready to eliminate the need for a second remote, Malone said.