In recent weeks, Chrysler Group new car dealers and some auto industry analysts have criticized the automaker for remaining silent while many of its competitors have announced new models and features in a high-stakes battle for market share. In what may be the automaker’s attempt to silence those critics, Chrysler today announced that it plans to begin offering FLO TV on selected models beginning in late December.
FLO TV equipped vehicles will have the capability of accessing live TV, including news, sports and entertainment programming on up to 20 channels. Among the channels available will be CNBC, CBS, MTV, Comedy Central and FOX News.
The FLO TV Auto Entertainment system delivers live programming to vehicles using state-of-the-art multicasting technology and allows vehicles to receive over-the-air signals via a small, roof-mounted antenna about the size and shape of a computer mouse. The system, which was developed by Chrysler’s Mopar automotive accessories division, will be available as a dealer-installed option with an MSRP of $629, excluding installation charges.
Chrysler says the system is primarily designed for the enjoyment of back-seat passengers who can watch programming using standard, installed DVD display screens. Drivers and front-seat passengers will be able to watch programming using the vehicle’s in-dash navigation display screens when the vehicle is in park. Front-seat viewing will be disabled when the vehicle is out of park and in states and areas where local laws prohibit front-seat viewing according to Chrysler spokeswoman Ann Smith.
Smith also said that Chrysler will continue offering a limited program lineup from Sirius Backseat TV geared toward younger audiences as an option for the Dodge Journey crossover vehicle and Ram 1500 full-size pickup, Jeep Commander and the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. Sirius Backseat TV includes Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Mobile and Disney children’s programming.
The FLO TV system can also be installed in select 2008-2010 Chrysler vehicles equipped with Mopar, factory-installed entertainment systems including the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee, Dodge Journey and Nitro crossover vehicles, Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups and the Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Owners of other 2008-2010 Chrysler vehicles not equipped with the factory-installed systems have the option of adding FLO TV and Mopar aftermarket rear-seat displays which can be installed in the front-seat headrests. Mopar also plans to launch a new display screen that can be installed lower in the seatbacks which will reduce glare created by ambient light and provide a more comfortable viewing angle for backseat passengers.
Buyers of the system will receive a full year of programming at no charge and annual subscriptions thereafter will be $119 or $299 for a three-year subscription.
Mopar’s president of service parts and customer care, Peitro Gorlier said, “We want to offer our customers the ultimate in entertainment.” He also points out that Chrysler is the first automaker to offer up to 20 channels of real-time, mobile programming.