Thursday, June 29, 2006

Digital Car TV Trials Singapore


I came across this gem via TracVision, the Rhode Island company specialising in communications on the move.

SingTel in Singapore, has unveiled a collaborative effort with Mercedes-Benz, Siemens and NEC that allows passengers to receive broadband internet feed on the move.

A demonstration system in an S-class sedan is undergoing tests in Singapore after being shown around Europe last year.

The car gives rear-seat occupants access to the World Wide Web as well as video-conferencing on the move. But even early adopters in Singapore will have to wait a little longer for a satellite serving of digitally broadcast TV series such as Friends, 24 or The Simpsons live on their laptops or DVD screens.

In the United States, 4-wheel drive and multi-purpose vehicle buyers have been tuning into DVD in their in-car systems in huge numbers in the past year and, while only about a dozen models come equipped with the technology as standard, almost 50 per cent of buyers of full-size 4WDs surveyed in the US stated their next vehicle would be DVD- quipped, either factory-fitted or an after sale installation.

The purveyors of the TracVision A4 antenna hope that by making in-car satellite TV possible, eclipsing satellite radio - early versions of which are just appearing in new cars as factory-fitted items.

"Satellite radio, for all its variety, is still just audio entertainment," says Jim Dodez, vice- president of marketing for the TracVision antenna manufacturer, KVH.

"While 600,000 people have subscribed to the various satellite radio services, industry data estimates that one million in-car video systems were sold in 2002 alone (in the US)," Dodez says.

"Passengers in these vehicles are going to want something to watch. Satellite TV, with more than 300 channels of video, 35 to 50 channels of commercial-free music and nationwide coverage, is the perfect solution. "KVH's ultra-low profile TracVision A5 satellite TV antenna makes it possible," he says.

KVH's automatic antenna is a very compact unit, just 125mm high. It mounts on the roof rack of a vehicle and can support multiple video screens and receivers within the vehicle.

And there is more to come

Aftermarket suppliers, including KVH and Delphi, are said to be looking now at on-board digital broadcast television, according to American research firm JD Power and associates.

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