[photopress:laptop_and_phone_inflight.jpg,thumb,alignright]The ability to watch live television, make mobile phone calls and use your laptop connected to the Internet is destined to become absolutely standard on most major carriers. One of the companies supplying this sort of services is Thales which has one service called TopSeries, which is being customized for the new Boeing 787. (Thales is also supplying its IFE systems to Boeing’s rival, Airbus.)
Boeing has decided on wired IFE after failing to secure frequencies in some parts of the world. Without those frequencies, its 802.11n WiFi connection could shut down when flying over the countries concerned.
Mike Sinnett, director for Boeing’s 787 systems, says this set-up will be able to support HD video which has about four times the resolution of the current offering. Which in turn means bigger screens and better viewing.
Lori Krans, the company’s vice-president of communications said, ‘Thales is an active member of the technical committees for World Airline Entertainment Association. When there are technological advances, such as compression rates, members of the association gather to discuss what is feasible for IFE system. Thales does and will continue to offer IFE system capabilities that match the standards set by the association.’
Airlines choosing Thales’ TopSeries line may start with its basic i-1000, which provides laptop connectivity, and then work their way up to the i-8000, which offers DVD-quality Mpeg-2 videos and MP3 audio-on-demand, in addition to Web-based single- and multi-player games.
Four major China-based operators – Air China, Shanghai Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines – have decided on this system making Thales the principle supplier of IFE systems for the Boeing 787s in China. Thales has set up a new technical-support centre in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
Note that this only applies to one aircraft maker and, indeed, only one model from that maker. But it is a general rule of airline life that once a facility is available on one airline, no matter what the make or type of aircraft, in a short while it is on offer with all competing aircraft.
Source: APB News
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