The system, which is on sale now, will cost $1,299, and carry a $28 monthly charge. Viewers will be able to watch 22 satellite TV channels and listen to 20 satellite radio channels via their rear seat entertainment systems.
The initial programming will chiefly be focused on families, says Winston Guillory Jr., president of RaySat Broadcasting Corporation, which is working with AT&T to introduce the product.
Adults won’t be left out, though, with channels such as the NFL Network and CNN being part of the mix.
A more thorough lineup of featured channels is after the break.
Among the channels CruiseCast will offer are:
- USA Network
- SCI FI
- Animal Planet
- CNN mobile
- Adult Swim
- Mobile Lifetime
- Fox News
- NFL Network
- Fox News
- ESPN Mobile
- Disney XD
- Discovery Kids
- Cartoon Network
- CBS College Sports Network
- Nickelodeon Mobile
- The N
Programming will be beamed to vehicles and captured via a low-profile antenna that AT&T says will not be affected by line of sight obstacles, such as tunnels, overpasses and buildings. The antenna is roughly the size of a child’s bicycle helmet. A set-top box and remote are also part of the packaging.
Specialty retailers, focusing on automotive accessories, will be the first places to buy the CruiseCast. AT&T and RBC plan to expand to big box retailers in the near future, but declined to give any timetable. Guillory said the companies are “years away” from the system being part of an OEM install in cars.
AT&T is already looking to expand the channel lineup on the CruiseCast. Guillory said the company’s roadmap includes pay channels (such as HBO) and pay-per-view. Again, though, he declined to give a time table.
Granted, the CruiseCast sounds like a lifesaver for parents on long road trips with the kids, but I have to admit I’m a little worried about this. We’re a nation of distracted drivers as it is, what with cell phones, blackberries and farding. Imagine the distraction and temptation to sneak a peak when you’ve got the playoffs on TV in the car – or when a major piece of breaking news comes on the air.