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Satellite on the road

Posted by Richard on April 18, 2007

Live TV on your cell phone is so last month. How about live TV in your SUV or minivan? Via satellite? Yes, I'm Sirius. It's coming to a Chrysler dealer near you, it provides high quality of service (QOS) while you're zipping down the highway (unlike other wireless TV solutions), and it's practically guaranteed to keep your rug rats mesmerized until you reach grandma's house. It's called Mobile Digital Television (MDT), and it's even reasonably priced:

Sirius successfully demonstrated satellite mobile television at the 2004 CES, but it lacked one major component – a partner with equal vision to make delivery of the service to the customer a viable commercial reality. Chrysler had that vision. Chrysler realized the most important customers for MDT are not the drivers, nor the front seat passengers, but kids in the backseat. With an increasing number of automobile purchase decisions being made by women (approximately 45% – up from 25% just 15 years ago) and with those decision focusing on family travel, safety and convenience, accommodation the kids becomes a major selling point. Further, today's family structure is increasingly mobile with both parents working, a greater variety of children's activities, and widely separated family members (not to mention the worsening hassle or air travel) driving the desire and demand for high-quality, in-car multi-media entertainment.

In response, Chrysler and Sirius will start augmenting this demand by offering MDT in selected 2008 model year Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, followed by the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The MDT hardware price premium will be $470 above a required Chrysler entertainment center that includes dual DVD players and a front seat screen (not to mention several cup holders). The Sirius MDT service will cost $7/month when bundled with the standard $12.95 Sirius Service. However, the first year of service will be free.

The initial programming package will consist of Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon, so there's no question who the target audience is. If you're going to have a DVD player in your minivan anyway, the extra $7 a month over the satellite radio subscription is less than the cost of keeping a fresh supply of DVDs on hand for the kids. I'm sure there are lots of people who'd like to have satellite radio, but can't quite justify the cost to themselves. If they're parents, this relatively inexpensive add-on may be just what it takes to get them to sign up.

I hope MDT is a big hit for Sirius, which so far hasn't been one of my better stock picks. It's currently worth less than half what I paid for it in 2005. C'mon, parents! Hurry down to your Chrysler dealer and order one now!

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