AT&T is starting to work with pockets of customers to test its CruiseCast satellite-based entertainment service before officially putting the TV/radio service on wide offer. When the whole clan is on the go, it may work to keep everyone calm and quiet, and when your Prevost motor coach is loaded up with everything else, you might as well go for the TV service, too. Truckers sticking DBS dishes on their rigs would likely be pleased with the CruiseCast system, especially since AT&T is using some new technology developments by RaySat that defeats the typical issues with line of sight obstacles and underpasses.
For comparison's sake, Sirius is cheaper and offers much more variety than AT&T's 20 music/talk radio stations, but their optional Backseat TV service only offers three television channels, and they are all geared for the kiddies. Conversely, AT&T's CruiseCast hardware must be professionally installed and will set you back $1,299, and the monthly payment is $28. Once the service is available for all customers in early June, they'll have 22 television channels to choose from. All that for the price of a used car and more than $300 bucks a year in subscription costs. Official press release posted after the jump.
AT&T CruiseCastSM Will Deliver 22 Satellite TV and 20 Satellite Radio Channels into the Car for First Time with Breakthrough Antenna and Receiver Technologies
Product to be Available in Spring 2009 Through Auto Dealerships and Automotive After-Market Channels
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 3, 2008 - AT&T Inc. (NYSE:AT&T) and RaySat Broadcasting Corp today debuted to the auto industry 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. Unveiled at SEMA, the world's premier automotive specialty products tradeshow, AT&T CruiseCast utilizes a compact, low-profile antenna for use on cars, trucks and SUVs, and a breakthrough technology that overcomes line-of-sight obstacles such as overpasses, buildings, trees or tunnels.
AT&T CruiseCast will have a robust 22 channel line-up that will include a variety of kids and family, documentary, music, comedy, news, and sports programming. AT&T CruiseCast will deliver TV programming that family members of all ages enjoy at home, which will include Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Mobile, USA, COMEDY CENTRAL, MSNBC, CNN Mobile Live and CNBC. Twenty satellite radio music channels will also be available at the launch. The service has the ability to add channels to meet market demands.
The groundbreaking service was developed in collaboration between RaySat™, Inc. a leading manufacturer and supplier for the mass market for cost-effective, low-profile satellite antennas that enable communication on the move, and AT&T, the world's premier telecommunications company. RaySat Broadcasting Corporation, a privately held U.S. company, will be working with AT&T to introduce the new product to the marketplace.
The service will be sold though auto dealerships and other automotive aftermarket channels when it debuts in Spring 2009. AT&T CruiseCast is building its industry distributor network today and enabling resellers to submit advance orders.
At the AT&T CruiseCast booth, SEMA attendees will have the opportunity to schedule demonstration rides around the convention center. Anyone interested in the service can visit www.cruisecast.com for further information.
"AT&T CruiseCast is a significant advancement from what is in the market today-both in terms of technology and channel offerings," said Winston Guillory, President of RaySat Broadcasting Corp.. "We see this as opening up an exciting new source of accessory revenue for the automotive manufacturer, accessory distributors, and the local auto dealerships...one that will make quality total in-car entertainment a reality for the end consumer."
AT&T CruiseCast is made consumer-friendly by the unique scaling down of satellite technology into the small pod-like antenna that affixes to the roof of vehicles. The antenna is paired with a receiver that is mounted in the vehicle and provides all video and audio connections to the appropriate vehicle systems, such as 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."
Yoel Gat will serve as Chairman and CEO of RaySat Broadcasting Corp. "Due to our smaller antenna and expansive programming we believe consumers will flock to bringing living room entertainment into the back seat of their car," said Gat. "AT&T CruiseCast is the first service that uses video-buffering technology to minimize loss of programming when a vehicle loses line of sight with the satellite while driving alongside a tall building or under a tunnel."
AT&T CruiseCast Service will be sold through auto dealerships and other automotive product vendors where buyers can have the compact antennas and receivers installed to link into rear-seat entertainment systems. Initially, the installation will be on sedans, SUVs and mini-vans properly outfitted with roof-racks, with additional mounts introduced in the coming months.
For more information, go to www.cruisecast.com
About RaySat Broadcasting Corporation
RaySat Broadcasting Corporation is a privately held U.S. company that has been chartered to introduce Total In-Car Entertainment to the marketplace with the revolutionary AT&T CruiseCast service. Headquartered in Dallas, TX, RaySat Broadcasting Corporation capitalizes on pioneering technology that has enabled the creation of a small compact antenna for use on cars, trucks and SUV's that also provides continual coverage on-the-go thanks to an advancement that overcomes line-of-sight obstacles such as overpasses, buildings, trees or tunnels. RaySat Broadcasting Corp. is an affiliate of Vienna, VA-based global satellite-antenna innovator RaySat™, Inc., a leading manufacturer and supplier for the mass market of cost-effective, low-profile satellite antennas that enable communication on the move.