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Thread: Directv On The Go!!!!!
01-08-2007 11:44 AM #1
Directv On The Go!!!!!
hi everyone i am not sure if this was posted before but i though this might be interesting read on.............
Satellite Television in a Portable Box
Monica Almeida/The New York Times
The producer Rick Rosner invented a portable satellite TV receiver, which is being sold by DirecTV.
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By LORNE MANLY
Published: January 8, 2007
LOS ANGELES — Rick Rosner is a self-described television junkie.
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Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Rick Rosner, who invented the SatGo portable satellite television receiver, showed the monitor, left.
Not only he is the creator and producer of many television series, most notably “CHiPs” and “The New Hollywood Squares,” he feels an overpowering need to surround himself with television everywhere he may be. Fourteen television sets jostle for space in Mr. Rosner’s penthouse condominium in Marina Del Rey.
When more than a decade ago he moved into his previous home, in Coldwater Canyon, only to learn he could not pick up a cable signal, he dispatched a production assistant to Phoenix to get something not yet available on the West Coast: DirecTV. On location shoots he would lug one of his DirecTV set-top boxes along and then rent or buy a satellite dish and attach it to his balcony railing with duct tape.
That hassle got him thinking: What if there were a portable satellite dish, which folds up like a piece of luggage, and could be used for camping and tailgate parties or in dorm rooms? And that’s how a longtime television producer turned into an inventor.
The result of his obsessive handiwork will be on display today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, when DirecTV will unveil the Sat-Go, a mobile satellite and television system weighing about 25 pounds that will sell for $1,000 to $1,300. DirecTV hopes that the Sat-Go will help differentiate the company from its cable-television competition and attract a different type of customer when the product goes on sale this spring.
“I love to try different things,” the 65-year-old Mr. Rosner said when asked to explain the moonlighting. “That’s sort of the story of my life.”
Mr. Rosner’s affection for all things television began as a child, when shows like “Captain Video and His Video Rangers” and “The Howdy Doody Show” captivated him, and working as a page at NBC during college cemented that connection. When he dropped out of veterinary school at Cornell University after six weeks, he moved to New York and reclaimed his post at NBC before getting a job at “Candid Camera” and becoming a television producer.
The walls of his condominium are crammed with pictures of people he’s worked with and for over the years, like Mike Douglas, Regis Philbin, John Davidson and Joan Rivers. But even while involved in the television business, his enthusiasms took him in different directions.
When on one episode of “The Steve Allen Show” the host was made to scuba dive, an emergency rescue unit came in to school Mr. Allen, and Mr. Rosner struck up a friendship with the visitors. That led him to taking a course at the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department. One night, he and his partner were parked at a Winchell’s doughnut shop in Los Angeles when two California highway patrolmen, complete with darkened helmet visor and shiny boots, pulled up behind them. But that intimidating sight melted when the two took off their helmets and sunglasses.
“Right there, it hit me,” said Mr. Rosner over a lunch of shrimp cocktail and Caesar salad at a dockside restaurant near his condominium. “That’s a TV series. Two guys racing around the L.A. freeway system. Two good guys doing a job.”
“He incorporates parts of his life into his business,” said Michael Gelman, executive producer of “Live With Regis and Kelly,” who became friends with Mr. Rosner when he worked on “The New Hollywood Squares” more than 20 years ago.
A similar connection explains the genesis of Sat-Go. After getting his inspiration for Sat-Go during an early morning walk in Vancouver, he hooked up with David Kuether, a friend who was an engineer at DirecTV, and the two set out to build a mobile satellite TV.
Mr. Rosner then called in a favor from another friend, his former art director on “The New Hollywood Squares” who is now the head of “The Tonight Show’s” prop shop. They built a prototype — “it looked like a big sewing machine,” he said — and then tried to persuade DirecTV to build and sell it.
At first, they were greeted with a decided lack of interest. But the head of the set-top box division sent Mr. Rosner and his contraption to see Eric Shanks, executive vice president of DirecTV Entertainment. Luckily for Mr. Rosner, Mr. Shanks was a “CHiPs” fanatic and jumped at the chance to meet its creator. “It’s my second-favorite show,” he said. (“The A-Team” is No. 1.)
DirecTV will be selling Sat-Go in places it has never been before, like Cabela’s, the hunting, fishing and camping store, and advertising in unfamiliar publications, like RV magazine. Although the modest first-run of production (about 10,000) makes Sat-Go an expensive toy, that price should come down, and the monthly subscription fee of $4.99 is the same as adding a box, according to Mr. Shanks.
Mr. Rosner has continued to be involved in every aspect of the Sat-Go’s development, particularly its design. Mr. Rosner and DirecTV executives both knew they wanted it to look like a high-end piece of luggage, one that could come from the likes of Louis Vuitton. But the color never satisfied. After the fifth or six try with the manufacturer, Mr. Rosner arrived one day with a carton full of Hershey dark chocolate bars — the hue reminded him of an early Bentley from Rolls-Royce — and announced this was the color the SAT-Go casing should be.
“It just looked so rich,” said Mr. Rosner, who this late December day in a chilly Southern California was wearing a chocolate brown slacks with a chocolate brown Sat-Go sweater. “It said money.”
Mr. Rosner’s nearly constant presence — in the past year and half he estimated that he dropped by DirecTV’s headquarters in El Segundo two or three times a week — could be unnerving to SatGo’s development team, so much so that the head of engineering called Mr. Shanks to complain that Mr. Rosner was distracting him. But Mr. Rosner has a history of barreling through obstacles and getting what he desires.
“Rick has always been a champion of the what-if scenario of television,” said Harry Friedman, executive producer of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” and a friend of Mr. Rosner’s since they worked together on “The New Hollywood Squares.” Mr. Rosner was the first to take game shows out on the road, plopping “The New Hollywood Squares” down in New York’s Radio City Music Hall and on the beach in the Bahamas. Now that the Sat-Go is a reality, Mr. Rosner can turn his attention to his next big entertainment project, a feature film based on “CHiPs.” Wilmer Valderrama (“That 70s Show,” “Fast Food Nation”) will play Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, the Erik Estrada role, and Warner Brothers expects to shoot the picture this year.
But Mr. Rosner is not done with DirecTV; he is helping the company develop different Sat-Go offshoots. The Sat-Go Pro will come in a hardened plastic case and be marketed to users like FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Sat-Go Light will be about half the weight. And Mr. Rosner wants DirecTV to build a version with a digital video-recorder, too.
“I am the biggest DirecTV fan in the world,” he said. “No one appreciates that company more than me.” And Mr. Rosner wants to make sure no one will ever have to go without television again.
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01-08-2007 05:47 PM #2
Directv On The Go Pic
01-08-2007 06:26 PM #3
So one side is the screen and the other is the dish? So I have to always face SW (from South Carolina) to watch TV? Or is the dish external and moveable? Can a run of cable be used? Is this AC or DC or battery?
Don't get me wrong: it's a neat concept...if you happen to be a TV producer and can afford such fun toys.
01-08-2007 10:23 PM #4
Wonder how big the screen is? 25lbs is alot, give it a year the price will drop enough for us poor people to afford.
01-09-2007 11:09 AM #5
Combining DirecTV's recent hardware track record with Rosner's recent Hollywood success should lead to a product nearly as exciting as the prospect of Al Sharpton running for president again.
01-09-2007 06:13 PM #6
I asked how you deal with the phone line connection requirement and they said that they didn't have a solution yet.
Honestly the box looked like a mockup with the only thing that worked was the LCD TV. I would be very surprised if we actually saw these available this year.
We have some pictures of it here