In-flight Entertainment
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

JetBlue Bus for Boston Campus Marketing

via this Harvard Crimson article, we learn that JetBlue has
an Airstream RV which was unveiled earlier this summer. Fondly known as Betty, this mobile marketing vehicle simulates the JetBlue flying experience, complete with JetBlue aircraft seats and a chance to sample JetBlue's in-flight entertainment system.

"We know she'll be turning heads of passersby with her 34-foot body, emblazoned with JetBlue logos," wrote Hamm of JetBlue's newest "fleet-type."

Blue Betty will be making the rounds, visiting various colleges in the Boston area and stopping at CambridgeSide Galleria today.
JetBlue: Flying to a Campus Near You by Tiffanie K. Hsu. It should be noted that the above-pictured bus is not the actual JetBlue bus. We've love to get a real picture of it, but can't find one anywhere.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Qatar Airways Installing Rockwell Collins' Tailwind 560

Qatar Airways Installing Rockwell Collins' TV on Airbus 330s and 340s
Qatar Airways will install satellite television on its new Airbus A330s and A340s to provide live programming for passengers on European, Middle Eastern and North African routes.
The airline is the launch customer for Rockwell Collins' Tailwind 560, which will be ready for service before the end of the year, making it the first international airline to provide passengers with such service across multiple regions. The system will be available for live viewing both on the ground and at altitude, and its multi-directional antenna will enable a continuous signal from Direct Broadcast Satellites regardless of the aircraft's location or direction.
Showtime Arabia will provide the airline a variety of TV channels.
More information on the Tailwind 560.
Air China Selects Thales Inflight Entertainment

Air China will install Thales TopSeries on twenty A330‑200s, 14 of which will fly internationally and six which fly domestically. For the international aircraft, the TopSeries i­4000 AVOD system will be installed throughout the aircraft. For the domestic aircraft, the configuration is a two class layout with i‑4000 AVOD in business class, and i‑2000 overhead video and distributed audio in economy.

Revenue service for Air China's service begins May 2006, and all aircraft will be equipped by October 2008. Business class passengers will have 10.4 inch displays, while economy passengers will have 8.4 inch displays for international routes. Business class will also have noise canceling technology for high fidelity sound and laptop power. A landscape camera and the Airshow 420 are also included. Source


Rogerson Kratos supplies parts for Intheairnet airborne satellite TV

The sky's the limit
Executives at Rogerson Kratos share plans for expanding the aircraft instrumentation manufacturer’s use of lean with The's Cynthia Garber.
Fred Lucas, director of customer support, adds that the company is now very heavily involved in the manufacture of Intheairnet—the next-generation in-flight aircraft entertainment and information system. This system not only offers in-air television, stereo, compact disc, and VCR entertainment but Internet capabilities as well.

More information on Intheairnet's CONUS DBS TV system below.

The CONUS DBS TV system is a 4-36 channel Continental US TV system comprised of a Luneburg Lens Antenna, Radome, Antenna Control Unit, and Airnet DBS Receiver Unit (4MCU, 6 channels per unit).

The system is designed to receive regional (over land-mass) Ku-band signals worldwide and broadcast multiple channels of programming to the cabin. Intheairnet can integrate its TV system with existing overhead and/or in-seat installations or digital systems.


- Airlines can choose the number of TV channels 4-36
- Airlines can choose the cabin distribution method (analog or digital)

Luneburg Lens Antenna
- Patented Luneburg Technology
- Designed to fit on the fuselage of a narrow or wide body aircraft
- Radome customized to fit various aircraft with adaptive rings

4MCU Receiver Decoder
- Digital E-net or Analog output
- Small compact
- Units can be daisy chained to meet channel redundancy requirements

Intheairnet can offer Boeing/Airbus retrofits or Airbus line-fit installations (Airbus offerability pending)

Regional TV service
- Programming for US provided by Echostar (Dish Network)
- Large selection of channels: News, Business, Sports, Weather, Leisure
- Content is customizable
- Airlines work directly with Echostar or MAS

Antenna Control unit (ACU)
- Processes aircraft information and performs "Open Loop" antenna pointing
- Small lightweight package

Optional AMS provides content in areas out of range of TV coverage
- Movies
- Pax Map
- Audio
- Advertising
- Connecting Gate

Friday, September 23, 2005

Airplane Video Camera for Passenger Viewing

We had a hard time with this title- How do you describe an in-flight aircraft camera that allows passengers to view takeoff and touchdown from the pilot's perspective?

Global Business Jet magazine reports from Day 3 at WAEA 2005.

Latecoere lets passengers enjoy the view
Latecoere (Hall 10, Stand 1431) promoted its Landscape Video Camera System (LVCS) in Hamburg. The system can be interfaced to the video passenger entertainment or Air Show system, providing users with an external view of the landscape.

Two colour cameras are located under the nose of the aircraft: One looking forward, the other downwards. They continuously transmit their pictures, allowing the user to select the views of either camera at any time on their own video display unit.

The LVCS can be installed on business aircraft as well as commercial aircraft and is controlled from the cabin management system.

View a demonstration video of the Latecoere Landscape Video Camera System.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Passengers saw landing drama unfold on TV"

Should the airborne satellite TV have been turned off by JetBlue flight crew? We think turning off the in-flight DirecTV might have caused more panic.

Passengers saw landing drama unfold on TV
The airliner circled Southern California for hours, crippled by a faulty landing gear, while inside its cabin 140 passengers watched their own life-and-death drama unfolding on live television.

"It was very weird. It would've been so much calmer without" the televisions, Pia Varma of Los Angeles said after the plane skidded to a safe landing Wednesday evening in a stream of sparks and burning tires. No one was hurt.

Varma, 23, and other passengers said the plane's monitors carried live DirectTV broadcasts on the plane's problems until just a few minutes before landing at Los Angeles International Airport.

What a terrible press day for in-flight entertainment.

Couldn't they find any better passenger quotes? Here are our suggestions for better PR spin.

Having DirecTV allowed us to keep laughing during the lengthy fuel-burning process when we circled the airport for hours. Several family-friendly movies on HBO kept our younger daughters entertained the whole time. Mary, 39, mother of two

Watching our plane on live TV was assuring. People cared about our situation, and we weren't kept in the dark as disconnected passengers. The live information was very helpful. Dan, 45, business traveller

LiveTV, the company that makes airborne satellite TV antennas for commerical aircraft, was aquired in 2002 by JetBlue for $41 million in cash and the retirement of $39 million of LiveTV debt. LiveTV's inflight entertainment systems are partially responsible for JetBlue's success.

Update Friday, Sept 23 2005- Worse yet title from this in The Scotsman, The latest in in-flight entertainment - watching your plane crash landing, with possibly our favorite passenger quote.

"Let me tell you that did not seem like three hours," said Alexandria Jacobs, of New York, who is heavily pregnant.

"The first hour didn't seem that scary, even the second hour. It wasn't until we got into the final hour, and the experience of watching it on TV.

"It was surreal that you could plunge to your doom and watch it live on TV. It was all too post-postmodern."

Update 9/28/2005 You can hear some audio from the JetBlue emergency landing at LAX in the linked podcast here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Boeing Business Jet gets IFE package from Gore Design

News from WAEA Convention News, filed by Oliver Clanford for Global Business Jet magazine.
San Antonio-based Gore Design Completions (GDC) has announced the redelivery of a Bermuda-registered BBJ, following the completion of five weeks of significant interior modifications.

The work included the installation of a vertical tail-mounted camera system, a Honeywell MCS-7000 SatCom and Chelton HGA-7000 high gain antenna, LED cabin lighting, new seating, as well as modifications to the galley, crew rest area, lavatories and state room.

Additional work included installing provisions for a new digital in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, which will be fitted when the aircraft returns to the hangar in San Antonio at the end of this year. The aircraft is the second BBJ requiring STC approvals that GDC has modified.

"There was a tremendous amount of work accomplished on this aircraft in a very short amount of time," commented president and ceo Jerry Gore. "The team working on this aircraft truly gave 110 per cent to complete the work scope but, of course, that is the effort we give to every customer project."
Monday, September 19, 2005

Wireless cabin network by Airbus introduced at WAEA 2005

Airbus To Demonstrate First Multi-purpose Wireless Cabin Network
Airbus will demonstrate the world's first multi-purpose wireless cabin network at the 26th Conference and Exhibition of the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) to be held from Sept 20 to 23 in Hamburg, Germany.

By using a single standardised connection point for all wireless devices and just one antenna inside the cabin for data distribution, airlines will benefit significantly from the new cabin network, Airbus said.

... It will significantly lower costs of integrating new information, communication or in-flight entertainment applications through just a single connection point.
Update Tuesday, September 20th 2005
Airbus demonstrates 'Leaky Line' wireless network by Oliver Clanford
Airbus demonstrated the world's first multipurpose wireless cabin network at this year's WAEA Conference and Exhibition in Hamburg.

The network uses a single standardised connection point for all wireless devices and just one antenna (the 'Leaky Line') inside the cabin for data distribution.

The company says that the use of a single connection point lowers costs of integrating new information, communication or in-flight entertainment applications; offers better network reliability, as only one antenna in the cabin is receiving and transmitting data; offers a higher degree of flexibility for adapting cabin layouts, with no installation of wires or cables; and lowers maintenance costs, as only the cabin application has to be maintained and no wires or cables have to be checked or changed.

The network will allow passengers to access the internet wirelessly using laptops and PDAs, as well as enabling them to use mobile telephones on board and view in-flight entertainment.
Sunday, September 18, 2005

In-flight Language Lessons

But You Have to Skip the Movie, by Yepoka Yeebo for Newsweek.
Forget to learn Mandarin before your important business trip to China? Just take an in-flight crash course. Several airlines offer interactive lessons that run on their personalized entertainment systems. Passengers listen, repeat and administer self-tests.

While the "plane speaking" courses don't promise to have beginners fluent in 20 hours, they do hope to save you at least some desperate gesticulating when you land. "We concentrate on words and phrases that can be used immediately upon arrival," says Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson, whose airline started offering Spanish and English last August ( Recently, it added Japanese on London-Tokyo flights, and it plans on expanding to Mandarin, Cantonese and French.

Singapore Airlines has just launched Berlitz Word Traveler, which offers 11 languages, with plans to add nine more languages by the end of the year. Set up like a game, Word Traveler teaches numbers, dates, simple words and dialogue, and gives pronunciation tests. Travelers who finish a course get a certificate, so you can prove you passed with flying colors.

Staggered Seating, and Aircraft Cabin Systems $23,000 42" Plasma

A few futuristic tidbits from Future of Air Travel, by Mark McCord.
Northern Ireland-based Thompson has developed a "staggered" seating arrangement in which seats are fixed in diagonal lines instead of parallel lines, allowing passengers to lay against the side of their neighbour’s head-rest.

"Our tests on a range of aircraft average out at adding 10 per cent more seats," says Rogers.
The article gives some big screen cabin entertainment teasers from Aircraft Cabin Systems, and the benefit of wireless technology:
Bigger screens are also a feature of the new generation of aircraft seating designs. However, ACS' McGill says that comes with a huge cost.

"The bigger screens are not only heavier, but they are incredibly expensive," he explains.

"Screens have to be able to withstand impact tests and those modifications add up: a 42-inch plasma screen that costs 4,000 US dollars in the store would cost 23,000 dollars with air modifications."

Personalised Orders - Also, Thales has created an on-board customer relations programme that will allow passengers to call up a virtual cabin-crew member on screen who will take personalised orders for meals and drinks. "Can you imagine on the giant A380s, with 500 passengers, how much effort that will save the cabin crew?" Tam points out.
Everyone is in new product development for the A380!
Friday, September 16, 2005

Historical Firsts (History of IFE)

This great list was sniped from the WAEA Headquarters page here.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cabin Entertainment Systems and JetBlue Embraer 190


Rockwell Collins Fiscal Year 2006 Financial Guidance

Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL), the $8.4 billion electronics syndicate and 800lb. gorilla of in-flight entertainment, announced 2005 financial results yesterday in a press release.

The 2006 guidance is especially relevant to our industry:

Lower in-flight entertainment (IFE) system sales resulting from the continued focus of this business on enhancing its current generation IFE systems and fully supporting its customer base, coupled with a decision to forego investing in next-generation traditional IFE systems. The company's investments for the future will instead focus on higher value-added information management solutions.

Emphasis ours. We think it means Rockwell Collins will be focusing on in-flight data and satellite TV instead of their Airshow moving maps.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Song Airlines

Cribbing some riffs from low-fare competitors JetBlue and Southwest Airlines, but adding its own distinctive touches, Song is designed to be "a breath of fresh air" in the not-so-friendly skies of the post-9/11 era, marketing Vice President Tim Mapes said.

With 24 channels of free satellite television, pay-per-view movies and video games for entertainment and a menu of gourmet meals and snacks for sale, Song seeks to offer choices to travelers weary of shedding their shoes at the security gate and worrying about a possible pat-down search, he said. There are also a couple of inches more leg room, making it possible for someone taller than 6 feet to cross his legs in comfort.

"Research told us that people find airline travel oppressive, overly militaristic in terms of the regimen that you have to go through," he said.
Song sounds neat. They are even providing for mixed-viewer entertainment on their cabin LCD screens, like Bob McGee was asking about.
The idea.. is that Dad can lock onto ESPN while Mom enjoys the Arts & Entertainment Network and the children choose the Cartoon Network or Animal Planet -- with no bickering.

For a fee, the screens can also serve up any of 10 video games, something with particular appeal to young teens who might otherwise get restless on a coast-to-coast flight lasting more than five hours.
Song even has music! This is quite an in-flight entertainment setup, and I wish I knew the vendor that they sourced the contract to.
If music is your thing, Song lets each passenger assemble a personal playlist of 32 selections from among 1,600 MP3 audio files that include classical, rock, hip-hop, jazz, country or whatever.

"The idea is to let 199 people on a Song plane have 199 different experiences together," Mapes said. "Our research indicated that people want something other than a one-size-fits-all experience, and Song tries to provide that."

For those used to enduring in-flight movies they neither choose nor control, that's a treat, said Kiran Jain, director of marketing and air service development for Bradley International Airport. She has flown Song several times to Florida.

"People discuss how good this is when they get off the flight," she said. And within minutes of takeoff Tuesday, virtually every seatback screen was lit, and passengers -- even those who were reading -- had the plug-in earpieces in their ears.
You can read the full article over at RedNova News, Low-Fare Airline Sings a Fresh Tune and originally published in The Hartford Courant, Connecticut. See Song's IFE page here.

Global ePoint's AirWorks contract with Grupo Synergy's Fokker 100 fleet

Global ePoint (NASDAQ: GEPT, mkt cap $62.7 million at time of post) announces a tiny little South American in-flight entertainment contract with Grupo Synergy's Ocean Air of Brazil, Wayra of Peru, VIP of Equador and Avianca Airlines of Colombia fleet, for a total of 20 Fokker 100 aircraft.

The AirWorks In Flight Entertainment System per aircraft will include 6 retractable LCD screens, a Digital Video File Server and Audio Server. The new AirWorks LCD provides over 450 NITs with a resolution of 800 RGB X 480, the Video Server supplies over 60 hours of Long Playing Movies, while the Audio server provides 16 channels of Stereo music to the passenger. With a total weight of only 79 pounds the system generates substantial fuel savings for the aircraft operator.

Full press release. More information on the Fokker 100 aircraft on this page. Standard domestic Fokker 100's have about 100 seats; with only 6 LCD screens per airplane, this is a very light commercial IFE installation.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

USA Today says "Airlines should offer entertainment for older kids"

Bob McGee in USA Today has this little rant:

Many planes with in-flight audio and video offerings sandwich adult music selections and R-rated films between tunes for the toddler set. Kids who have outgrown sing-alongs and Blue's Clues would be content (and quiet) for hours with Lindsay Lohan tracks and PG movies.

Advertising to a Captive Audience

This article for India's Economic Times by Preiti Sharma Shahane discusses global perspectives about in-flight advertising.

It doesn't take much to attract the attention of a bored airline passenger - after all, who could be more receptive than an audience that's literally bound to its seats? As ads get ever more ubiquitous, the inflight marketer can pick from display areas at airport lounges, branded boarding passes, ticket cases, baggage tags, head-rests, brochures and mailers in seat pockets, menus, food tray mats, F&B items... quite apart from the traditional in-flight magazines.

We think the take-away from this thorough piece is that branding is important for middle class marketers, regardless of altitude.

IFE reader Noah Kagan pointed us to this Washington Post piece a few months ago, Cash-Strapped Airlines Try In-Flight Advertising by Keith L. Alexander.

Marketing now follows potential customers into the skies. In the airline industry's newest way to drum up revenue, carriers have become aggressive pitchmen for a range of products to passengers at 30,000 feet. The airlines say the ad revenue helps in these tough financial times. But some passengers liken the pitches to ads in a movie theater before the main feature.

"It's worse than the idea of cell phones in flights," said frequent flier Sylvia Caras of Santa Cruz, Calif.

Bite your tongue...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Boeing Sources Out to B/E Aerospace for Connexion

Light on importance, but heavy on excitement- Boeing Unit Selects B/E Aerospace for Integration, Certification, and Kit Production of In-Flight Connectivity Systems in this press release.

With a market cap of almost $900 million, one would imagine that B/E Aerospace does a lot of these types of contracts to provide the engineering grunt work on complicated product launches. B/E already has over 195 Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs), which are essentially an FAA guarantee of product airworthyiness. Exciting news as Boeing standardizes its Connexion roll-out.


Regent Aerospace to construct $20 million factory in South Korea

According to this article in The Korea Times, California-based Regent Aerospace is set to build a $20 million factory in the Busan-Jinhae area of South Korea.

U.S.-based Regent Aerospace intends to construct a $20 million factory that will produce in-flight entertainment systems for passenger airplanes.

The Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone is located on the southeastern coast of Korea. Regent recently completed a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing/service facility in Plainfield, Indiana (ref) and they do business with America West Airlines, Air Canada and United Airlines Corporation, among other airlines (ref).

We particularly like this video clip, found on the Regent Aerospace home page.

The Seat Show

Regent has experience working with lots of big passenger aircraft, focusing their core competency on aircraft seat design and repair. Their website lists experience with window panes from the following aircraft models: Boeing 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, DC8, DC9, MD8O, MD90, DC10, MD11, Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330 and A340.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Video Clip - Early Morning 747 Landing

This video provides all-natural in-flight entertainment.

In June Georgio's "Early morning landing at Heathrow" video became number 1! I contacted him and I asked if he would allow me to compose a musical soundtrack for that splendid video. He agreed and now you can watch this unique musical version. My music is synchronized, enjoy. :o)
Saturday, September 03, 2005

Video Clip - JetBlue Airways: DirecTV Advertisement

We enjoyed this JetBlue advertisement, Lose-Air featuring two enterprising airline tycoons planning their transport empire.

Click the graphic to watch the commercial. QuickTime is required. More JetBlue commercials can be found here.
Thursday, September 01, 2005

Air India signs with Thales to retrofit six B747-400s

Following on the heels of Air India's announcement that IFE makes their brand cool, news that they have signed with Thales to retrofit six Boeing 747-400s.

Air India has signed an agreement with M/s Thales for the installation of Top Series Advanced Passenger Entertainment System on six B747-400s, all owned by Air India.

With 10.4 display for First and Business Class seats and 8.4 display in Economy Class seats... Every screen will be a touch-screen and each seat will have a noise canceling module for high fidelity sound and lap-top power.

This is part of the refurbishment programme approved by the Board of Air India for the B747-400 which would include cabin interior upgradation, replacement of existing Economy Class seats with new seats, providing the latest in-flight entertainment system with audio and video on demand, internet and phone facility for all passengers including personal monitors, improvement in cabin lighting and replacement and upgradation of existing galleys and toilets.

Full article here. Most interesting is that all seats, including coach, will have laptop power plugs. Is this a new trend to put in-flight entertainment in the hands and responsibility of the passenger?

Update September 27th, 2005 - Thales TopSeries spec sheet. Air India will be supported by Thales' TopEffects! media services group.


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