Conventional satellite radio, such as services offered by XM and Sirius, uses new satellites and networks of ground-based transmitters. This new European system, which has been in development for three years, uses existing communications satellites to send its radio or television signal. A group led by the European Space Agency (ESA) will demonstrate on Thursday what it calls "the multimedia car radio of the future" at the Noordwijk Space Expo in the Netherlands.
The key to the system was developing a specially designed, flat mobile antenna that could capture the signal from satellites built to broadcast to fixed dishes. The system consists of the new antenna and a hard drive built into a given car. Received signals are recorded, preventing audio or video playback from being interrupted and letting travelers pause/rewind/fast-forward through a program. Companies and organizations involved in the project include satellite TV company SES Astra, BMW, Deutsche Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Dornier Consulting, Deutsche Welle, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Institut fur Rundfunktechnik, Technische Universitat Braunschweig, and TriaGnoSys.
News source: CBC News