FLO TV Opens Car Doors

FLO TV, Qualcomm's mobile television subsidiary, has signed a deal with Audiovox to offer an in-vehicle entertainment system delivering live TV service through more than 12,000 new car dealers in 85 markets.

Audiovox, which sells automotive entertainment, vehicle security and other aftermarket auto products, will be a supplier of the FLO TV Auto Entertainment system and will manage the launch through its distribution network. FLO TV Auto Entertainment is scheduled to be available to consumers in the fourth quarter of 2009.

FLO TV is currently available through AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless on select handsets. The lineup of more than a dozen live channels includes CNBC, Comedy Central, MSNBC, MTV, NBC, NBC News, NBC Sports and Nickelodeon.

The service will compete with other in-car entertainment ventures, including AT&T CruiseCast, which launched its service with 22 live TV channels earlier this year.

The first FLO TV Auto Entertainment system, to be marketed under Audiovox's Advent brand, is compatible with all vehicle makes and models and adds to any in-car entertainment system with screen sizes up to 10.5 inches, according to the companies.

"Our collaboration with Audiovox demonstrates FLO TV's market expansion beyond mobile phones to deliver innovative live TV service to consumers," FLO TV president Bill Stone said in announcing the deal. "The market for live mobile TV is growing, with tens of millions of U.S. vehicles already equipped with a variety of mobile video entertainment systems. FLO TV Auto Entertainment can provide consumers with the ideal combination of affordable and high-quality service to give them a home-like viewing experience in their automobiles."

Authorized car dealers will offer one year of FLO TV Auto Entertainment service -- included with the hardware purchase -- with annual plans starting at a special introductory rate of $119 per year, or $299 for three years.

In addition, FLO TV said, the auto entertainment option will be available in major retail outlets for purchase and installation by the end of 2010.