CruiseCast launch stalled by GM woes

News conference pushed from Monday to Wednesday

CruiseCast, a back-seat subscription TV service from AT&T and RaySat Broadcasting Corp., delayed their plans to announce the service Monday. The reason for the delayed news conference, now slated for Wednesday, was the "intense focus on General Motors' bankruptcy."

Introduced late last fall to the automotive industry, CruiseCast plans to offer 22 satellite TV and 20 satellite radio channels for a monthly subscription fee of $28.00. The price of the equipment will set a consumer back $1,299, according to several reports.

On its Web site, CruiseCast lists several program providers lined up to provide the channels including Disney, CNBC, MSNBC, Discovery Network, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, SciFi, USA, Animal Planet and Cartoon Network. Other networks are expected to be announced Wednesday.

The timing of the service comes at an odd time. Consumers are cutting back and, as the GM bankruptcy so vividly demonstrates, the health of the automotive industry is at its worst.

Meanwhile, CruiseCast will compete with Sirius' Backseat TV, a less ambitious back-seat subscription TV service. While the satellite radio company only offers three channels of TV programming from Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network, it's a lot cheaper than CruiseCast. Its equipment costs $299.99, and the monthly fee is $6.99 on top of the Sirius radio subscription of $12.95.