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CES Feature Articles

January 08, 2009

Audiovox, MediaFLO Eye Competitive In-Vehicle TV Market

“Oh, she’s a 90 pound suburban housewife,
Drivin’ in her SUV.
Talkin’ on her cell phone,
Oblivious to you and me.
Kids in the back seat,
Watchin’ the little T.V.
She’s a 90 pound suburban housewife,
Drivin’ in her SUV.”
Those are the opening lyrics to Rozanne Gates and Suzanne Sheridan’s “90 Pound Suburban Housewife Drivin’ In Her S.U.V.” – a song that made a big hit a few years ago, and still applies to many drivers here in lower Fairfield County, Connecticut – home to TMC (News - Alert) as well as the song's writers.

Well, thanks to technology created by a San Diego-based subsidiary of Qualcomm (News - Alert) and a consumer electronics company headquartered in Hauppauge, New York, those little TVs in the back seat may be spreading.
Officials at MediaFLO and Audiovox say they’ve solved the major hurdle to in-vehicle mobile TV viewing: how to deliver quality, uninterrupted coverage at vehicle speeds, especially in urban environments.
According to Tom Malone, president of Audiovox nothing rivals FLO TV for delivering a quality TV experience and breadth of content to a moving vehicle.
“The combination of this technology and our innovative products will take in-vehicle entertainment to the next level delivering fast channel changing at the touch of a button, just like what consumers experience at home,” Malone said.
The technology, diagrammed by MediaFLO below, is being unveiled at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show:

Audiovox and MediaFLO aren’t alone in eyeing the in-vehicle TV market.
As TMCnet reported, TV-on-the-go is emerging as a major feature this week at the show.
Officials at PC Magazine say that one mobile TV system featured at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – ICO‘s mim – is a satellite-based service for cars. The company says its ICO mim will deliver 10 to 15 channels of premium live TV content for 7 to 15-inch screens.
Chris Doherty, a spokesperson for ICO Global Communications, reportedly told PC Magazine that the company’s G1 satellite launched in April, and it covers the entire United States, though mim will roll out city-by-city.
That’s because ICO must install ground-based repeaters to make sure drivers get signal even where they can’t see the sky, Doherty reportedly told the magazine.
“Terrestrial repeaters in urban areas allow signals to get to places where satellite signals tend to be challenged,” Doherty reportedly said.
According to AFP – a news service based in France – officials at MediaFLO USA’s FLO TV, a service available on mobile devices, allows for television signals to be delivered “in even the most challenging mobile environments.”
“FLO TV is already available on mobile phones from US carriers AT&T (News - Alert) and Verizon but Audiovox and MediaFLO USA, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc, said they were the first to offer live in-vehicle mobile television in the United States,” AFP reports.
The companies told AFP that the system will be sold through car dealers, electronics retailers and other outlets.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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