NEW YORK, March 30, 2007 - Satnews Daily - Mobile satellite TV to users in moving vehicles is finally coming to the USA, but it’s only for kids - for the meantime -and comes at a somewhat hefty price.
Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc., more famous as one of only two providers of satellite radio in the USA, has reached a deal with DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group to provide limited satellite TV service for its the 2008 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
On offer in the U.S.’ first commercial use of mobile satellite TV broadcasting to moving vehicles are three channels: Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. Chrysler said it will provide the channels exclusively through the 2008 model year, after which Sirius will offer it to other auto makers.
The service will cost $470 and will be packaged with Chrysler's rear seat entertainment system and. The cost includes the first year of service, after which the TV channels will cost $7 per month, plus the satellite radio fee of $12.95 per month.
This "backseat TV" is, however, limited by bandwidth allocated to satellite radio, said Frank Klegon, executive vice president of product development for Chrysler. Sirius broadcasts using 12.5 MHz of the S band between 2320 and 2332.5 MHz.
He noted that Sirius had found out how to send a limited TV signal within the airwaves allocated to satellite radio, and might expand the channels on offer in the future. Analysts believe TV content will be broadcast to hard disk drives in cars for on-demand playback instead of being streamed live.
"I think there's certainly some potential in the future for expansion of additional channels," he noted.
Klegon also said satellite TV is the latest step in a continuation of information technology moving from home to vehicle.
Sirius has been promising such a service since 2004 but had launched only now because deals with manufacturers and content providers had to be put in place. Last November, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin said the service would launch in 2007.
The service will be provided via Sirius’ constellation of three in-orbit satellites: RadioSat-1, -2 and -3. A fourth satellite is a ground spare and is stored at a facility of Space Systems/Loral, maker of the satellites. A fifth has been ordered.
The RadioSats fly in geosynchronous highly elliptical orbit in a 24-hour orbital period. Sirius says the elliptical path of its satellite constellation ensures that each satellite spends about 16 hours a day over the continental United States, with at least one satellite over the country at all times. The primary uplink facility is located in New Jersey.
The introduction of mobile satellite TV broadcasting to moving vehicles in the U.S., however, comes three years after the world’s first such commercial service was introduced in Japan.
Mobile Broadcasting Corp. (MBCo) of Tokyo began transmitting video and audio programming via satellite to Japanese consumers in October 2004.The services are delivered via the MBSat-1 satellite, also built by Space Systems/Loral.
From its geostationary orbital slot at 144 degrees east longitude, MBSat-1 broadcasts TV and radio programming in the S-band to mobile customers equipped with specialized terminals. The satellite is owned jointly by MBCo and SK Telecom of Seoul, South Korea, which is developing a similar service for that country.
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