AT&T CruiseCastSM Debuts Even More Satellite ICE at SEMA

November 3, 2008
Delivering exactly what distracted American drivers need more of, AT&T CruiseCastSM and RaySat Broadcasting Corp. will unveil AT&T CruiseCastSM, "the Total In-Car Entertainment service that will enable families, commuters, and mobile professionals to watch a lineup of 22 satellite video channels anywhere in the country." The official unveil will occur tomorrow at SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association yearly festival of bling, ICE, lowered (and raised) suspensions, and generally tricked-out automobiles and automotive accessories.

Notably, the new satellite reception service, which employs a new low-profile antenna, is reported to use reception technology that is able to overcome "line-of-sight obstacles" like freeway overpasses, buildings, trees, or tunnels that typically scramble or kill in-car satellite reception. Sounding to us like oversampling in compact disc technology, "video buffering" promises to keep all of the kids and family, documentary, music, comedy, news, and sports programming streaming loud and clear with little to no interruptions. "We believe consumers will flock to bringing living room entertainment into the back seat of their car," says Yoel Gat, who will serve as chairman and CEO of RaySat Broadcasting Corp.

Specifically, the Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Mobile, USA, Comedy Central, MSNBC, CNN Mobile Live, and CNBC will be the featured satellite video channels. Twenty satellite radio channels will also be offered at launch, along with the capability to add more channels if demand rises.

With gigando full-frame SUVs--some of the first vehicles to offer preposterous amounts of ICE (formal: in-car entertainment. Informal: shiny or ostentatious jewelry; bling)--dying a quick death in this tough market, do you think there will be demand for DVD, satellite video and radio, and other bits of audiovisual frippery in the backseats of Toyota Priuses, Honda Insights, and 2011 Chevy Volts? We suppose there's still the crossover market, and in-car entertainment does make sense in those seven-passenger-plus, three-row affairs.

When I was a kid, we played the license plate game, passed around the Mad Libs, or listened to my dad tell stories. Either parents have it easier these days, being able to simply press "play" to quiet the kiddies, or the new generation coming up will be ever more hopelessly addicted to the TV monitors that seem to be serving as surrogate parents.--Colin Mathews

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