January 8, 2009

Audiovox Announces In-Car Broadcasts

Options for watching TV in the car are about to become broader.

On Wednesday, Audiovox Corp. announced that it will begin making an in-car receiver for Qualcomm Inc.'s mobile TV broadcasts. 

The receiver, which is expected to be available in the next eight to 10 months will retail for less than $500.

According to Audiovox senior vice president Tom Malone, the receiver will be compatible for all existing in-car screens.

"We feel with this partnership, we have an opportunity to breathe new life into rear-seat entertainment," Malone said.

Audiovox is hoping to capitalize on the 20 million cars in the U.S. sporting in-car entertainment screens.

According to Gina Lombardi, president of MediaFLO USA, a division of Qualcomm, users will pay a subscription fee to use the system that was previously only available on AT&T and Verizon Wireless cell phones.

As of know, AT&T and Verizon subscribers pay $15 per month for the 10 channels provided by MediaFLO. 

The MediaFLO system currently covers 68 markets and plans to reach 100 by the end of the year, said Lombardi.

The system was developed to be received by mobile antennas, while normal TV broadcasts are created for stationary antennas.  By early next year, some TV broadcasters will begin transmitting signals for mobile antennas, meaning Audiovox customers will likely receive free broadcasting, much like standard TV.

Currently, Sirius XM Radio broadcasts three children's channels to some Chrysler cars that come with factory-installed receivers. 

There are car-mount antennas available on the market today that can receive signals from satellite services such as Dish Network.  Unfortunately, the installation costs are too expensive for most consumers, and the signals are often blocked by buildings.


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