Chrysler has become the first US car manufacturer to offer live, mobile television in selected models across its 2010 vehicle range.
The system, which is available as an optional extra and via subscription, will allow rear seat passengers access to a range of television programs provided by a dedicated multicast network, FLO TV Inc.
Chrysler will showcase its new technology at this week's New York International Auto Show, and says the network will provide "something for everyone" with programs suited to a wide range of interests, age groups and professions.
“We are the first automaker in the United States to offer live, mobile TV in more than 100 metropolitan markets,” said Mr Pietro Gorlier, President and Chief Executive Officer - Mopar Service, Parts and Customer Care, Chrysler Group LLC.
“Live, mobile TV gives our customers the ultimate in entertainment and it’s a great example of how Mopar adds value to our Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck brands.
“With Mopar’s wide range of options and accessories, customers may customise their vehicles to fit their needs and aspirations,“In addition to accessories, Mopar also supports each brand with excellent customer service, enhanced with cutting-edge service-tool technology including wireless diagnostic.”
In the past, mobile TV had posed a challenge to vehicle manufacturers with high-quality, uninterrupted coverage in built-up areas and at highway speeds almost impossible to achieve. Existing systems also often required large, roof-mounted receivers or only offered limited channels. They were also quite expensive.
The Chysler system experiences none of these issues and is already available in over 100 major US cities and on many interstate highways. The system uses a small antenna, roughly the same size and shape as a laptop mouse, mounted to the outside of the vehicle's roof to receive a digital TV signal. The receiver unit and all wiring inside the vehicle is completely hidden from view.
The system, which can be integrated with existing Chrysler branded entertainment systems, is available on Chrysler Grand Voyager, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Journey, Dodge Nitro, Ram 1500 and Ram 2500/3500 models for approximately USD$629 (excluding installation). The price includes a one-year subscription. A remote control and wireless headphones are also available.
Selected models dating back to 2008 can also have the system retro-fitted.
This morning, CarAdvice asked Chrysler Australia's Manager of Public Relations, Jerry Stamoulis, if the live, mobile TV system is being considered for sale locally.
"As the system is provider based, we don't currently have the network capabilities to provide such a system in Australia," explained Mr Stamoulis.
Mr Stimoulis went on to say that the system may be considered if and when the technology becomes available.
The New York International Auto Show will run from April 2 - 11.