VIENNA, VA.: As families load up the car for their summer vacation this year, AT&T and RaySat Broadcasting are hoping its new in-vehicle entertainment will draw in parents hoping to cut down on the number of times they have to threaten to pull the car over.
AT&T CruiseCast, which launched nationwide on June 1, brings 42 channels of television and radio programming to cars. It can work with existing rear-seat entertainment systems.
Hardware for the system is available from a nationwide network of authorized installers and aftermarket-car retail outlets.
AT&T CruiseCast uses a small, pod-like antenna, developed by RaySat, that affixes to the roof of vehicles. This paired with an in-car receiver that connects to existing in-car audio/video systems.
To help the system overcome line-of-sight obstacles that might otherwise hamper satellite delivery of television programming to a vehicle, RaySat worked with ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems) Pte Ltd. to develop advanced circuitry and algorithms for continuous reception of video services on the move.
The service is expected to cost some $1,299 to install plus a $27.95 monthly service fee.
Programming will be delivered in the Ku band via Intelsat satellites covering the contiguous 48 states. A total of 22 television channels will be available, including Discovery, Animal Planet, CNN mobile, Lifetime, NFL Network, MSNBC, FOX News, AccuWeather, MTV Mobile, Noggin, ESPN Mobile, Disney, Disney XD, Discovery Kids, Cartoon Network Mobile and CBS College Sports Network. Twenty satellite radio channels are also offered, ranging from pop hits and classic rock to smooth jazz and classical to pop latino and classic country, as well as a rap channel that is rated “TV-MA.”
The in-vehicle receiver is manufactured by Hyundai Digital Technology, while NDS provides the conditional access system, middleware and integration services and Synchronoss Technologies Inc. manages subscriber account management and service activation. Harmonic provides encoders and other equipment used in the teleport to support delivery of service.
In a FAQ on the CruiseCast site, AT&T says that the service has a greater capacity than its current 42 channels and that the company plans to monitor ATSC-M/H developments, leaving open the possibility that it could in the future add access to local over-the-air channels.
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