AT&T CruiseCast: 22 Live TV Channels in Your Car

Satellite TV in your car

AT&T for TV On The Go:  Our friends at AT&T are beating the drums louder for their in car satellite live TV service called “CruiseCast” since their nationwide US launch date on June 1, 2009.  And with the rather steep installation price of just under $1,300 their success will be a sure sign that consumer spending is up and the economy is really rebounding.

RaySat Broadcasting Leads the Charge: RaySat, a Dallas based privately held U.S. company, has been enlisted to introduce total in-car entertainment to the marketplace with the innovative AT&T CruiseCast service. RaySat capitalizes on the creation of a small, compact antenna for use on cars, trucks and SUVs that provides continual coverage on-the-go.  Unbroken video signals are accomplished using a two-minute buffer of the satellite signal to compensate for signals blocked by overpasses, buildings, trees or tunnels.

Not the Only Game In Town: AT&T are in the mix with other mobile MSOs including DirecTV’s offering using TrackVision A7 from KVH Industries and boat, RV and trailer offerings from King Controls. The DirecTV subscribers are offered more viewing choices: 185 channels vs. 22 for AT&T.  SIRIUS offers Backseat TV™ equipment for  $470 if purchased with a new Chrysler or $299.99 as an aftermarket install, providing you already have a video entertainment system in the car. With only 3 channels (are they serious?) Backseat TV™ costs $6.99 per month in addition to a SIRIUS Radio subscription totaling $19.94 per month. SIRIUS Backseat TV™ is only be available to SIRIUS Satellite Radio subscribers.

The Divided Market: As with any market, competitors are looking for the best edge to make their numbers.  It appears that DirecTV is attacking the RV and Trailer market while Sirius is focused on Chrysler factory installed systems.  Instead of (or in addition to) the RV and travel trailer market, AT&T seems be going for the families with kids who already have rear seat entertainment systems installed in their car or SUV.  With millions of vehicles on the road with simple DVD video systems already installed, this represents a sizeable live TV upgrade market to tackle.

Is a $1,299 Antenna and $28/mo Fee Too Much? If you like to take long car trips with the kids, or you’re a real road warrior logging thousands of miles, the expense could be justified.  And what about those tailgate parties?  You can get all of the pre-game hype while cooking up your burgers in the parking lot.  It may not be a product for everyone, but it certainly looks like there’s a large enough base to support one or two dominant players.

Keep pushing forward

Jeff Vinson

[You may contact Jeff directly for consulting and trade show speaking events.]