Feature Article
DSS for the car

July 1, 1999
By Scott Lewis

For starters, I had a hard time deciding if this article should be in Car Corner or this column. What we will discuss is a system designed to deliver music to cars in much the same way that DSS provides TV shows and movies to the home.

Mark my words... this is my get rich slow scheme. Unfortunately, I do not have the resources necessary to make it work, or even patent it. This is your chance to run for the gold. Just tell people where you got the idea.

DSS is the small 18" dish that is about the size of a large pizza (if you live in New Your, it is a fair amount larger than a large pizza in Texas). DSS is booming compared to "tradition" satellite TV. There are a number of reasons for this:

1) Traditional satellite dishes are very large, typically 7’ to 10’ feet in diameter.

2) They must be aimed at different points in the sky to receive various stations. This is done automatically but you are without a picture while the dish moves.

3) Because the dish must be moved to get various groups of stations, it is difficult to surf channels.

DSS on the other hand has these counterpoints:

1) The dish is relatively small at 18" and can be mounted easily against your house.

2) The dish is pointed in one direction all the time.

3) Channels are much easier to surf, with the added benefit of its menu system.

Another benefit from DSS is that it is essentially digital. Remember, DVD’s format is similar to the same MPEG format used by DSS.

My idea it to put this same technology to work in cars. Not for TV, but for music. My cable company (DSS has this too) offers a service that enables you to get 30 or so music stations. They provide a special box that hooks up to the cable jack in the wall, and then connects to your stereo through one of its auxiliary inputs.

There is a good deal of selection in music styles. But this is the tip of the iceberg. DSS provides a maximum of 175 channels last time I checked (anyone know the current max?). All that is needed is a special antennae for your car.

I would design the system so there would be 30-40 music channels that play certain types of music. Classic Rock, Alternative Rock, 80’s Pop, 70’s Disco, Jazz, Classical, Easy Listening, etc. You get the idea. These channels would be commercial free as part of the monthly fee you pay. Then I would "re-broadcast" radio stations from around the country. WNEW in New York, KLOL in Houston, etc. Initial the radio stations will get paid, but in the long run radio stations would pay to be re-broadcast. Why not, they get the advertising dollars for the commercials.

Initially this would be offered as an add-on to existing radios. It would attach the same way CD changers are added to cars with an FM modulator. Then get the car stereo manufacturers to build it into an existing car radio chassis. Next, hit up the auto manufacturers to put the stereos into their cars as options. It could easily be tied into a GPS system that people are already starting to get with cars.

All the technology required to make this work is available. It’s just that no one has thought of putting it all together for this market.

If I only had a few million dollars to build the prototype and get the bandwidth on a few satellites. I could be rich. Then again, if I had a few million dollars I would be rich. Mark my words... this will happen someday. It’s just a matter of who gets rich off of it.