While millions of consumers already enjoy satellite radio thanks to XM and Sirius (who have now merged into one body), consumers can now watch satellite TV with AT&T's CruiseCast.
Set to hit the general market this Spring, AT&T's consumer-friendly CruiseCast promises to deliver 22 satellite TV and 20 Satellite radio channels using AT&T's breakthrough antenna and receiver technologies; the Total In-Car Entertainment service first debut back in November at SEMA, an automotive specialty products tradeshow. While receiving satellite television in the backseat of Mom's van sounds enticing, the package comes with a very scary price: $1299 for the system, followed by a $28 monthly fee for the feed.
According to AT&T, the CruiseSat utilizes a compact, low-profile antenna for use on cars, trucks, and SUVs; the "breakthrough" technology apparently overcomes line-of-sight obstacles such as overpasses, buildings, tunnels, or overhanging trees using video-buffering technology to minimize loss of programming. The overall package is a result of a collaboration with RaySat Broadcasting Corp, a well-known manufacturer and supplier of cost-effective, low-profile satellite antennas that enable communication on the move.
AT&T and RaySat created an "affordable" package for the general consumer (depending on whom you ask that is) by scaling down satellite technology into a small pod-like antenna (3-pounds, 11.3" x 10.3" x 4.3" as shown to the left) that attaches to the roof of the automobile. The connected receiver mounts inside the automobile and provides all video and audio connections to appropriate vehicle systems (Rear Seat Entertainment, Vehicle Audio System etc.).
"AT&T is a leader with innovations that enable people to do more and get more from technology," said Sean O'Leary, vice president of Business Development for AT&T. "We will deliver an unprecedented capability for people to enjoy live television in their vehicles. AT&T CruiseCast furthers AT&T's mission to enable people to access the content and applications they want and need, whenever and wherever they may be."
AT&T's CruiseSat will offer programming for every family member in its 22-channel lineup including The Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Mobile, USA, COMEDY CENTRAL, MSNBC, CNN Mobile Live and CNBC. The company also says that twenty satellite radio music channels will also be available at launch, however the service has the ability to add channels "to meet market demands" (*cough* porn channel *cough*).
The CruiseSat service will be sold through auto dealerships and other automotive "aftermarket" channels when it debuts this Spring.