updated 09:05 am EDT, Wed June 3, 2009
AT&T launches CruiseCast
Wireless provider AT&T on Tuesday announced its CruiseCast mobile satellite TV service has now launched in the US. Introduced in January at CES, the service offers 42 video and radio channels on existing rear-seat entertainment systems, including the NFL Network, Disney, Cartoon Network Mobile and Discovery channels. CruiseCast streams the mix of adult and children's TV programming into the car, via an antenna that mounts to roof racks or thanks to a magnet on a bare roof.
An in-car receiver has audio and video connections to tie into a vehicle's factory or aftermarket A/V system. AT&T says it has applied a new technology to the system that enables the service to receive programming even when a vehicle is in large metropolitan areas between buildings, around trees and in tunnels. This is done thanks to a controller module that buffers the data for up to three seconds, so being stuck in a tunnel for longer than that, for example, would result in an interruption in the delivery of the programming. AT&T will not install the system itself, but rather distribute it to, and rely on, a network of aftermarket in-car entertainment system installers.
The CruiseCast system, comprised of an antenna and in-car receiver, is priced at $1,299 and has a $28 monthly subscription fee.