AT&T To Launch In-Car Satellite TV Service
On the heels of Audiovox's announcement of an automotive version of the MediaFlo TV service for cell phones, AT&T has revealed plans for its own robust, satellite-based in-car TV service. AT&T Cruisecast, slated to launch this spring, promises 22 channels of satellite TV at launch and 20 more of satellite radio-but will cost serious money: $1299 for the system, and $28 a month for the satellite TV service (developed in conjunction with satellite industry veteran RaySat).
A final channel lineup is still being developed, but AT&T says it will include lots of family-friendly entertainment, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Mobile, USA, COMEDY CENTRAL, MSNBC, CNN Mobile Live and CNBC.
The system requires installation of a 3-pound, 11.3-by-10.3-by-4.3-inch antenna on the roof of your vehicle. AT&T describes this as "not particularly noticeable," but I'd take that observation with a grain of salt: Check out the rooftop image, above.
AT&T says its technology addresses shortcomings of other in-car entertainment systems. For example, the company says, its breakthrough buffering technology keeps the show going even when you're under a tunnel or other line-of-site obstacle.
Avis and Budget car rental services have announced plans to make the Cruisecast service available in rental cars at some locations for $9 a day or $63 a week.