Comcast, Delphi to explore in-car video

January 9, 2005

Comcast and electronics maker Delphi plan to explore ways to send video programming to cars.

Delphi currently has deals with Sirius Satellite Radio and rival XM Satellite Radio for satellite radio receivers built into vehicles.

Details on Comcast’s deal remain scarce, Reuters reported. The two companies said they plan to find ways to export video from the living room, presumably from a home cable connection, to cars.

Reuters said in one early scenario Comcast subscribers would be able to download cable video onto a device manufactured by Delphi that can be attached inside an automobile. In another scenario, users of the new devices would be able to download Comcast-distributed video by driving near wireless “hotspots” or areas that provide wireless high-speed Internet connections.

Delphi said the goal of the agreement was to “leverage” Delphi’s wireless-enabled rear-seat video system, letting users transfer programming to their vehicles. But Reuters said the deal was non-exclusive and said they have no immediate plans to release a device.

One sticking issue involves programming licensing rights. Video distributors such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable pay programming networks like ESPN a fee based on the number of subscribers that are expected to view the networks.

While some newer carriage contracts include provisions to license programming for cable video-on-demand services, the contracts may not include agreements covering new distribution methods, such as mobile video.

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