Chrysler will offer live TV services

Mopar's suggested retail price for the TV service is $629 plus installation. Buyers would get a year of programming free.
Chrysler plans to provide live TV, including sports and news programs, in vehicles starting in late December.

The automaker will offer a service called FLO TV Auto Entertainment as a dealer-installed option from the automaker's Mopar accessories unit.

FLO TV will carry as many as 20 channels of live programming, including CBS, CNBC, Comedy Central, FOX News, MSNBC, MTV and NBC 2Go.

The system is geared primarily toward back-seat passengers, who can watch on installed DVD screens. Front-seat passengers would be able to watch on the vehicle's navigation screen, but only when the vehicle is in park.

Chrysler spokeswoman Ann Smith said the automaker will disable all front-seat viewing where prohibited by state law.

She said Chrysler will continue providing Sirius Backseat TV, a limited program lineup aimed at children, as a factory-installed option in the Dodge Grand Caravan, Journey and Ram 1500; the Chrysler Town & Country, and Jeep Commander. Channels available on Backseat TV are Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network Mobile.

Over the air

Unlike satellite TV, FLO TV programming is sent over the air, through a technology known as multicasting. FLO TV receives digital TV signals through a small antenna, about the size of a computer mouse, mounted on a vehicle's roof.

FLO TV can be put in 2008-10 model vehicles that have factory-installed DVD entertainment systems. Among them are the Chrysler Town & Country; Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander; Dodge Grand Caravan, Journey and Nitro, Ram 1500 and 2500/3500.

Owners of 2008-10 vehicles without factory-installed DVD systems can access FLO TV through aftermarket rear-seat DVD screens from Mopar, which are installed in headrests. Early next year, Mopar also will have DVD screens that are installed lower in the seatback.

Price starts at $629

Mopar's suggested retail price for the TV service is $629 plus installation. Buyers would get a year of programming free. The normal price for a subscription is $119 a year or $299 for three years.

Pietro Gorlier, president of Mopar Service Parts and Customer Care, said Chrysler will be the first automaker to provide up to 20 channels of mobile TV. “We want to offer our customers the ultimate in entertainment,” Gorlier said in a statement.

FLO TV, which is a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc., is a mobile TV service provider in San Diego. Audiovox Corp. of Hauppauge, N.Y., supplies the hardware for vehicle integration.

You can reach Leslie J. Allen at lallen@crain.com

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