The in-flight entertainment group on LinkedIn is proving to be an absolute treasure trove of information with industry experts weighing in on a number of timely topics, including whether IFE newcomers will have any success in snatching some market share off the big guys, Panasonic and Thales. If you haven't yet joined, you're missing out! It's a closed group so you will first need to request membership. Here is one nugget from a RAJCO Services:
We are a consulting company specializing in the IFEC market and have completed two worldwide airline surveys on IFEC and two IFEC supplier analyses in the past in nine months. We believe that the IFE hardware is rapidly moving towards being a commodity, as most systems have more functionality than the airlines are asking for. As the lower cost IFE suppliers prove reliable, the tight airline budgets will force more decisions to be based on operational and life cycle cost (including weight), which will make the low cost suppliers far more competitive. Several of the low cost IFE suppliers are getting close to the key airline purchase thresholds in terms of weight and price per seat for widespread implementation, including both single aisle and regional jet. Once the suppliers all develop low cost systems, the key drivers in the future will be GUI / Apps and seat incorporation esthetics rather than the hardware.
(Photo of IMS's new RAVE seat-centric IFE above.)