Sirius, Delphi exploring backseat video players

The companies announced separate deals.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Two pairs of companies are developing in-car video systems geared at making it easy for consumers -- and perhaps more importantly, their kids -- to access and view television programming on the go.
Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and auto parts maker Delphi Corp. unveiled separate deals last week aimed at giving users more programming choices when they fire up their backseat video displays.
Only play DVDs
Currently, most video units in cars, minivans and sport-utility vehicles only play DVDs or connect to video-game consoles, but one analyst said streaming television broadcasts have become feasible as more vehicles sport gadgets using satellite technology such as GPS navigation and dashboard computers.
"For over a year now we have anticipated the introduction of video solutions using satellite," said Phil Magney, principal analyst with Telematics Research Group. "That has been in the cards for a while and is a natural evolution of the technology."
With help from Microsoft Corp., New York-based Sirius is moving ahead with plans for a video companion to its premium satellite radio service, which currently airs commercial-free music and talk-radio programming for a monthly fee.
Under the agreement, announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sirius said it will use Microsoft's Windows Media Video 9 software and work with the software giant to jointly develop video applications -- eventually extending beyond the car and into the home or personal computer.
Delphi deal
Meanwhile, Troy, Mich.-based Delphi forged a deal with cable giant Comcast Corp. to create an in-vehicle system that allows users to select video programming and transfer it to their cars across a wireless connection. Delphi will develop a consumer device capable of downloading and playing content as Comcast explores ways consumers can access television and premium programming both at home and on the road.
Sirius expects to launch its service in the second half of 2006, while Delphi says it will take six to 18 months to evaluate and develop its system.
Neither company said how much it will charge for video service or what kind of content will be available to subscribers, but Sirius -- which charges $12.95 a month for access to its 120 radio stations -- said it anticipates providing two or three channels of content specifically for children.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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