In-Car Satellite TV Still Tuning In, Slowly

May 21, 2009
KVH TracVision A5

KVH TracVision A5

In-car television is still in its infancy--at least, the satellite-powered variety. But AT&T may have moved a step closer to delivering 22 channels of auto-aimed broadcasting with its CruiseCast service, announced last year and finally moving out of the vaporware phase.

Engadget reports that CruiseCast is finally rolling out, bit by bit. The telecom company is pushing out its satellite TV hardware to small groups of installers and customers as it executes a soft launch of the technically challenging concept. AT&T's flavor of in-car TV offers up 22 television channels and 20 audio channels, plus all the hardware, for $1,299 plus a $28 subscription fee. Channels include mobile versions of ESPN, Adult Swim and CNN, with live versions of Fox News Lifetime and Disney.

The alternatives are few: SiriusTV is available on many Chrysler products, but it offers only three channels of kid-oriented programming. Then there's Tracvision's A7 roof-mounted satellite and DirecTV service, which can cost a few thousand for hardware and installation--though if you already have DirecTV, the additional service only runs $5 more a month.

Our hands-on experience with TracVision suggests there's a lot to recommend with in-car TV--so long as it's installed safely. Will AT&T's entry in the race give consumers a reason to consider it? Stay tuned.


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