Sirius is ready for live TV

Could beam mobile b'casts by '08

Sirius Satellite Radio could have a live TV service in U.S. automobiles before 2008, CEO Mel Karmazin told Reuters on Thursday.

While at the Reuters Media Summit in New York, Karmazin said that deals with TV content providers could be in place early next year and that television delivered by way of Sirius satellites could be a feature in 2008 model cars.

Neither Sirius nor competitor XM Satellite Radio has made a secret of a desire to beam satellite TV to screens residing in the rear seats of cars. In fact, Sirius once had expected to be in the live TV business beginning as early as last year, and both have talked in vague terms of their plans at previous Consumer Electronic Shows, the mega-conferences that happen each January in Las Vegas.

"We have three content deals that are very close to being finalized. I don't know if they will be done by CES, but that is what we are shooting for," Karmazin told Reuters. "We will have video in the rear seat of the car up and running."

Indeed, the technology exists, and others have been offering satellite television services to cars since 2003, though not much consumer interest has been generated for live television even as DVD players have become popular in automobiles.

Karmazin said Sirius subscribers who want the new video service would have to pay a premium to the $12.95 per month they pay for satellite radio, though he would not provide pricing details.

"The investment is already made and the benefit for us is ARPU," Karmazin said, referring to the average revenue per user that Sirius generates.