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Audiovox to Bring FLO TV to Cars

Qualcomm's FLO TV has been looking for ways to make its programming available on a wider range of devices than carrier provided cell phones. Last week, Audiovox Corp. announced distribution plans for the launch of FLO TV Auto Entertainment, an in-vehicle entertainment system showing live TV from FLO.

"We believe our FLO TV offering is head and shoulders above any other mobile TV system, from the reception quality and breadth of FLO TV programming content to the unobtrusive antenna that literally fits in the palm of your hand," said Tom Malone, president of Audiovox Electronics Corp. "This car entertainment system from Audiovox and FLO TV, scheduled for initial introduction in the fourth quarter of 2009, will give consumers affordable live TV with the programming brands and TV shows that consumers know and love."

The first FLO TV Auto Entertainment systems will be marketed under Audiovox's Advent brand and sold exclusively through the new car dealer network. Audiovox said it is compatible with screen sizes up to 10.5 inches. Existing in-car entertainment systems can be retrofitted with the FLO TV Auto Entertainment system.

"Our collaboration with Audiovox demonstrates FLO TV's market expansion beyond mobile phones to deliver innovative live TV service to consumers," said Bill Stone, president of FLO TV. "The market for live mobile TV is growing, with tens of millions of U.S. vehicles already equipped with a variety of mobile video entertainment systems. FLO TV Auto Entertainment can provide consumers with the ideal combination of affordable and high-quality service to give them a home-like viewing experience in their automobiles."

Introductory pricing for FLO TV service starts at $119 per year or $299 for three years.

Audiovox competitor Kenwood previously showed in-car entertainment systems capable of receiving ATSC Mobile DTV. Although Audiovox will have make its system available to consumers in the fourth quarter of 2009, it is unlikely Kenwood will have ATSC Mobile DTV products available in that time frame, so Audiovox's early introduction of FLO TV may give them an early advantage. However, in the long run, will consumers want to pay for FLO TV after lower cost ATSC Mobile DTV options become available?

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.