Continental admits 80-channel LiveTV system; Bravo JetBlue!

I’ve been waiting for this day for several weeks. Continental Airlines has finally confirmed it will offer LiveTV’s brand spanking new 80-channel live television system on its domestic Boeing narrowbodies.

Continental 737.jpg

For the very dedicated RWG readers among you, LiveTV’s deal with Continental is not a surprise. While Continental originally signed up for LiveTV’s second generation offering, the 36-channel system now flying on JetBlue, I broke the story in September that Continental had changed its tune and had opted for an 80-channel offering.

My blogging buddy Crankyflier followed up with a sweeping piece about the system last month.

Like Cranky, I recently had a chance to check out the new system, dubbed LTV3, at LiveTV’s Melbourne, Florida facility, and yes, it kicked some serious butt. It’s going to make current-day LiveTV offerings on JetBlue, Frontier and WestJet look like a good generation behind the times.

But that is no longer a concern for LiveTV, whose very owner JetBlue told the firm over a year and a half ago to go out and prosper young man. And so it has.

Today in a statement to confirm that Panasonic’s eFX AVOD in-flight entertainment system is now available to economy-class customers on all its Boeing 757-200s, Continental confirms that, for customers on flights operating within the continental USA, “Continental has entered into an agreement with LiveTV that will allow Continental to offer 80 channels of live, in-flight satellite-based television programming provided by DirecTV, the nation’s leading satellite television provider, at every seat on Continental’s Boeing 737 new generation aircraft and Boeing 757-300s”.

The first aircraft featuring live television is expected to enter service in February 2009. Obviously, there is lots more to say about this. Continental management has wanted to see live television on the carrier’s aircraft for well over a decade. I’ll try to find a story from 1995 about that.

Meanwhile, the business and economy class cabins of Continental’s Boeing 777 fleet are in the process of being fitted with Panasonic’s eX2 system. 

God Bless Continental and other carriers that have finally gotten the hint that coach-class passengers need and want – and, yes, are willing to pay – to be entertained.

And I think we all know who to thank – JetBlue!!!!

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