By Andrew Liszewski
LCD screens and DVD players are pretty common in vehicles these days but I remember as a kid having a TV in your car was only a dream. (Yeah, I watched a lot of TV back then.) Eventually we did manage to enjoy a few family vacations with a TV equipped van and while the reception was always lousy that never ruined the novelty for us.
Of course in the age of satellite TV who’s going to want to watch local over-the-air broadcasts while on the road? The TracVision system from KVH Industries allows you to enjoy actual DirecTV programming from your van or SUV. Instead of a dish the service uses a motorized, phased-array satellite antenna that looks like a squashed dome sitting on top of your vehicle. But at only 5-inches high there’s little chance of it being sheared off the next time you enter a parking garage.
At the moment TracVision offers 185 channels of DirecTV plus 70 channels of XM satellite radio for those who’d rather watch the road than an LCD screen. The hardware retails for about $2500 (that’s the dish only from what I can tell) and I can only assume an additional monthly fee is needed for the DirecTV service even if you’re already a subscriber at home.