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CruiseCast Mobile Satellite TV Moves Out

AT&T's CruiseCast mobile satellite TV service was soft-launched late last month. The company is targeting a hard launch in June. The article Soft Launch for New Car Satellite TV by Amy Gilroy in TWICE (This Week in Consumer Electronics) said the 22-channel satellite-TV service is working with small groups of car stereo specialists, expediters and distributors to sign up a "few dozen" customers for the test.

CruiseCast uses the Intelsat Galaxy 25 satellite at 93 degrees west longitude to deliver programming to a small car roof-top antenna developed by RaySat.

Satellite digital audio radio services use terrestrial repeaters to fill in coverage when the satellite is blocked by urban buildings and other obstructions. AT&T's CruiseCast takes a different approach, using a very large buffer and interleaving to allow uninterrupted viewing even if reception of the Galaxy 25 satellite signal is lost for short periods of time.

It will be interesting to see how well this technology works. A high level of consumer interest in the product would bode well for broadcasters' Mobile DTV plans.

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.