Talking about IFE and Wi-FI

By | October 20, 2009
Live Streaming of Video at 30,000ft

Live Streaming of Video at 30,000ft

There have been some interesting developments in In-Flight Entertainment and Wi-Fi this week, many reported by IFE beat reporter, Mary Kirby, aka RunwayGirl, often called the Queen of IFE.

  • InFlight Canada unveiled two developments that could revolutionize the future of In Flight Entertainment. The first is an in-flight power solution that can be implemented on an overnight install without recertification of the seat or the aircraft. The second is an in-flight entertainment system for regional jets that can be installed overnight as well. It uses small retractable projector screens and a mini-projector, and would offer screens spaced every few rows…so no individual entertainment.
  • LiveTV, JetBlue‘s subsidiary, introduced BOB(Blackberry on Board). The system allows passengers to use BlackBerrys enabled with wi-fi “to do anything in-flight that the BlackBerry does on the ground”, such as email or messaging. Bob doesn’t need to be installed. It is available in laptop form, and can be brought onboard. The prices are steep, at $10,000 for the laptop, $299 a month for the service, and $100 activation per aircraft. But that is chump change to an airline.
  • Elsewhere, LiveTV has combined its US-centric air-to-ground (ATG)-based Kiteline email service with the Iridium Openport satellite communications service. Estimates are that it would cost as little as $95 for an airline to offer the service worldwide(not limited to over the United States like Gogo) to a 200-seat aircraft. Cost would be so cheap it could be offered for free.
  • AirCell is looking into a lightweight wi-fi solution for regional jets. AirCell is responsible for Gogo, the wi-fi system offered on several major carriers in the United Stations. The installation of such a system on regional jets is thorny because of the limited space on the aircraft for people to use their devices, and the duration of flight.