- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2009

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. | Life is getting lots more like “The Jetsons” with Mopar’s latest offering of live, mobile TV into Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge car and Ram truck vehicles.

Starting in late December, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge car and Ram truck customers may watch many of their favorite TV programs with a dealer-installed mobile-TV option from Mopar.

Chrysler Group LLC is the first automaker in the United States to offer live mobile TV to consumers with the capacity for as many as 20 channels through FLO TV Auto Entertainment. The system offers something for everyone: college and professional sports, breaking news, children’s shows, prime-time sitcoms, reality TV and daytime dramas.

Mopar was is showcasing FLO TV Auto Entertainment at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show through Nov. 6.

“We want to offer our customers the ultimate in enter tain ment,” said Pietro Gorlier, president and chief executive officer, Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care. “With FLO TV Auto Entertainment, we are the first automaker to offer mobile TV with the capacity for as many as 20 channels.”

Until now, the challenge for mobile TV has been to deliver high-quality, uninterrupted coverage in urban environments and at highway speeds. Existing mobile-TV systems in the United States either offer limited channels or require large satellite dishes on vehicle roofs - and a large price tag to match.

Mopar’s suggested retail price is $629, plus installation. A one-year prepaid FLO TV service subscription is included with installation.

The entertainment package will be available as a dealer-installed option on the following 2008-2010 model-year vehicles with factory DVD entertainment systems: Chrysler Town & Country, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Grand Cara van, Dodge Journey, Dodge Nitro, Ram 1500 and Ram 2500/3500.

The service also can be added to select 2008-2010 model-year vehicles when new Mopar headrest or seat-top DVD entertainment systems are purchased.

How it works

Television signals are delivered through a dedicated multicast network built by San Diego-based FLO TV Inc., a live mobile TV-service provider, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc. FLO TV offers live and time-shifted programming from top entertainment brands, including CBS Mobile, CNBC, Comedy Central, Fox News, MSNBC, MTV, NBC 2Go and Nickelodeon.

Up to 20 channels will be available in late December, when the feature is available for dealer installation. By the end of 2009, the FLO TV service should be available in more than 100 major markets and many interstate driving corridors. The FLO TV service is not available in some rural areas.

Audiovox Corp. of Hauppauge, N.Y., supplies FLO TV Auto Entertainment hardware that integrates with Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge car and Ram truck vehicles’ existing entertainment systems and new Mopar 7-inch DVD-screen systems. A small antenna, similar in size to a laptop mouse, is mounted on a vehicle’s roof to deliver the digital-TV signal. Inside the vehicle, the receiver and wiring are installed under the interior trim of the vehicle and are not visible to occupants.

User-friendly wired and wireless remote controls allow viewers to easily surf channels, similar to TV systems at home.

Mopar’s FLO TV Auto Entertainment option includes a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty on new vehicles or a 12-month/12,000-mile warranty on used vehicles for hardware and installation.