January 13, 2009

Some Folks Get Buzzed Over Satellite TV at CES 2009

If you read the following blog from Gadget Blog, then you might wonder who gave the go ahead for this service from AT&T in this economy. (Can I apply for his job or is it that AT&T has a useless and expensive satellite up in space not doing anything?)

There are some serious flaws in this technology that some see as a threat to Sirius Satellite Radio. In my opinion satellite content just isn't going to be a viable entertainment option for consumers when wireless technology is not going anywhere. Maybe AT&T should just stick with phones.

Come this spring, parents will have another tool at their disposal when it comes to shutting up kids in the backseat. Called Cruisecast, it's AT&T's foray into car-based satellite TV, and it's expensive.

And heavy. To get the promised 20 channels of satellite TV programming, users will have to install a 3lb., 11.3-by-10.3-by-4.3-inch antenna on their roof that's "not particularly noticeable," says AT&T. They've obviously never driven off to work with a laptop on the roof, which is what this sounds like. Believe me, people notice this kind of thing, especially when it falls off in the middle of the freeway.

While the number of channels appears to be set in stone, the full lineup is unknown. So far, the confirmed family-friendly focused channels include the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Mobile, USA, Comedy Central, MSNBC, CNN Mobile Live, and CNBC. Twenty satellite radio stations are also included in the package, which costs $1300 up front for the system, and $28 a month for the service.

Service cut-outs that occur when similar services go under a bridge or into a tunnel, like my ancient 4-year-old Sirius XM radio receiver, will be addressed—allegedly—by AT&T's proprietary "breakthrough buffering technology."

Additionally, there was no word on the kind of insurance claim one should file when the satellite receiver caves in your roof, but we'll keep an eye out for an update.

A silly animated marketing video from AT&T at cruisecast.

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