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Audiovox Updates FLO TV, Mobile ATSC Roadmap

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 headrestmounted
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

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