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iStream? Mini Coopers to get Mog digital media streaming service

Consumer Reports News: March 08, 2011 05:21 PM

A digital music streaming service called Mog,
could soon be found inside Mini Coopers.
Photo: Consumer Reports

Home entertainment gear in the living room is one place you'd expect to find digital streaming services like Netflix. And maybe you listen to Pandora on your laptop or mobile phone. But would you expect it to be a service in your next car?

The car industry certainly seems to think so.

Automakers are rushing to add streaming services to cars, with Ford, Toyota, and others integrating music delivered via smart phones. Now, BMW is joining the trend-setters by adding an online service called Mog to its Mini Cooper audio options.

For a mere $10 per month, new Mini drivers have unlimited access to streaming music while driving their sporty cars—or while using other Internet-connected devices such smart phones and set-top boxes. (As part of the upcoming announcement with BMW, Mog has also reportedly inked deals with LG, Samsung, and Vizio that will feature Mog in future Net-enabled TVs and other devices.)

The company, along with industry analysts and market watchers, thinks ubiquity is key to the success of online, on-demand streaming media services. And the car, where most music listening occurs, is one of the last—and key—locations.

Still, do consumers really need yet another in-car entertainment option, especially since there are concerns over alarming incidents of "distracted driving?"

At a discussion panel on distracted driving, held here at Consumer Reports' Yonkers, NY, headquarters, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he's called on car makers to take their fair share of the responsibility in driver distractions. And he says the DOT is still looking into how new in-car systems—advanced set-ups like GM's MyLink and Ford's Sync—reduce or increase driving distractions. (Re-play Consumer Reports' "Distracted Driving Summit" to see remarks from La Hood and other experts.)

What do you think? Are you looking forward to wireless Internet options like Mog and Pandora being in cars? Or will it lead to more distracted driving? Weigh in below.

—Paul Eng

Mog, the Digital Music Service, Takes Aim at the TV and the Car [NY Times]
Mog music service to expand to cars, Sonos [CNET]
Mog in streaming music deals with LG, others [San Francisco Business Times]

Paul Eng

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