In the 90's, PointCast was the scourge of the nascent Internet: a news ticker that spread like wildfire on computer screens until it began clogging corporate networks. Well, a similar news crawl is about to appear again, but this time it will be on car dashboards.
Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network already broadcasts reports about incipient road congestion in about 125 metropolitan markets using its network of radio stations across the U.S. The information can be viewed on compatible car radios thanks to a text-only FM subchannel using a format known as RDS (Radio Data System). Now, Clear Channel plans to add news headlines to data feeds by using the Journaline service.
Clear Channel says it's ready to launch the service it some time in this summer as a free service for stereo systems that can receive HD Radio broadcasts. However, at the moment, only one compatible car stereo system has been introduced, JVC's $1,200 KW-NT3HDT Navigation Receiver, so it make be slow to gain traction with drivers.
The Journaline format has the ability to offer a text-to-speech feature depending on type of device being used to receive it. However, Clear Channel says it will only be text-based when it begins in the U.S. So the question becomes will drivers pay attention to the new in-dash crawl, and if they do pay attention, will it simply become another source of driver distraction?
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