Don't Leave Home Without It (Your TV?)!

March 21, 2007

SeaMobile, the cruise ship communication company, has spun off the new Wave Entertainment TV, whose sole purpose is to program your onboard TV so it's just like you're used to. The idea, says SeaMobile's Nancy Brumfield, is that your in-cabin television programming "will feel like the same experience you have at home."

Brumfield tells Cruise Critic that the system can accommodate at least 40 channels (theoretically the sky's the limit) -- and can also tap into ships' interactive and pay-per-view options. The selections can be customized for cruise line buyers so travelers on Holland America, for instance, may have different channel offerings from which to choose than those on, say, Royal Caribbean, Costa or P&O Cruises (all representing different demographics). However, you can pretty much expect certain standards in the areas of news and sports to have coverage on all lines.

What's unique about this system is that cruise lines pretty much cobble together their own television programming (some have CBS or Fox or the Super Bowl, for instance, while others don't). The folks at Wave, many of whom come from DirectTV, are practiced in negotiating channel offerings with networks, and can deliver more options than the cruise lines.

Which networks are already a foregone conclusion? Dennis Flaherty, one of the members of the Wave Team, tells us that "sports, sports, sports, sports, and ... some news" are definites. (Plan on CNN and Fox News among them.)

So tell us: Which television networks would you rather not leave home without? We’ll report the results of our poll on Tuesday.

As well, the system that Wave is offering will feature other extras, such as an onboard webcam, a concierge for booking shore excursions and restaurant reservations, and parental controls.

So far, Wave hasn't yet snared a cruise line buyer -- but they’re bullish. And, having tested out the system at their packed Seatrade booth last week during a day when every other company seemed to be winding down, there’s definitely interest. We’ll keep you posted.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor