Sirius Backseat TV™ provides consumers with a clear, nationwide digital television service delivered via satellite. It offers three channels of live, family-oriented content, including Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and the Cartoon Network.
In order for this innovation to be commercially viable it had to meet a number of demanding requirements and technical challenges. It had to function within existing bandwidth without interrupting or diminishing existing Sirius audio service. The TV also had to use existing satellite receivers, compatible with existing terrestrial repeaters. Physically, it had to take up a small roof print. It had to provide a clear, continuous signal under all potentially disruptive conditions. And finally, it had to be compatible with existing in-vehicle receivers using the Sirius audio service.
The “squeezing” of video signals within Sirius’existing frequency spectrum allocation was accomplished through a bandwidth-efficient modulation innovation known as Backward Compatible Hierarchical Modulation, or HM. This allowed an order of hierarchical modulation never seen before. It also enabled working with existing, installed repeaters, requiring only minor changes. The small, in-vehicle receiver unit developed by Delphi requires only two small roof antennas which have little impact on design or visibility.
First available (with a one-year exclusive) on the new Chrysler mini-van models in 2007, the take rate on this information technology innovation has exceeded all expectations, changing the competitive battleground for in-vehicle information and entertainment. Behind the success lies a story of numerous innovations and technology breakthroughs as well as collaboration between Sirius and Delphi, their suppliers, and the Chrysler Corporation, which was willing to take risks in a very tight timeframe.