Get ready for more TVs to hit the road: About 17.6 million television systems for automobiles will ship in 2015, up from 8.2 million this year, according to market research firm iSuppli.
The iSuppli forecast encompasses worldwide shipments of mobile television systems for cars, including embedded solutions and TVs included in portable navigation devices (PNDs).
However, the market for in-car TVs and related services faces numerous financial and technical challenges, according to iSuppli principal analyst of automotive electronics Richard Robinson. "For broadcasters and receiver manufacturers alike, considerable technical issues need to be addressed," he said. "For example, the uninterrupted delivery of picture and audio is imperative in moving vehicles, regardless of the receiving environment."
Mobile TV in the automotive space is likely to piggyback on any successes in handheld mobile TV delivery, according to Robinson.
For broadcasters, the major mobile TV play is being led by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), which represents more than 800 local TV stations that plan to use the ATSC's mobile digital TV broadcasting standard. The OMVC has lined up device manufacturers that plan to sell products that work with the DTV specification, and the group plans to launch a customer trial in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
Also hoping to crack the market is FLO TV, Qualcomm's mobile television subsidiary, which has 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. FLO TV is currently available through AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless and via a Qualcomm-developed handheld device with a lineup of more than a dozen live channels, including CNBC, ABC Mobile, Disney Channel, Fox Mobile, MTV, NBC2go and Nickelodeon.
Another attempt to deliver a multichannel TV service to cars -- AT&T CruiseCast -- has fallen by the wayside. Last month, the service, which was operated by RaySat Broadcasting in partnership with AT&T, said it was winding down operations.