Do you envisage a day when every passenger on board an aircraft will be able to access wireless in-flight entertainment? A day when you and your fellow travelers won’t need in-seat monitors to watch a wide variety of early release movies because they are being streamed to your fully powered tablets instead? Yeah, me too. But there are still technological hurdles to overcome before everybody can play.
Thales and more recently Gogo admitted that it is not yet feasible to simultaneously provide a planeload of passengers with a seamless, flawless streaming video experience, but they believe that the limitations of wireless IFE can ultimately be overcome.
That’s clearly good enough for some low-frills carriers, including AirAsia X, which has teamed with Tune Box to bring a pay-for-service wireless IFE solution to passengers (the carrier will leverage its electronic flight bag (EFB) technology for the service). Tune Box has not specified how many passengers can be supported at one time, but says the service is “scalable” and the technology they’ve got “gets around” bandwidth issues and “should be sufficient”.
Meanwhile, AirAsia X, and frankly any medium- or long-haul carrier looking to offer wireless IFE (and/or in-flight connectivity), needs to give serious consideration to installing next gen in-seat power systems throughout their cabins for passengers to juice up their devices. Some in-seat power systems flying on aircraft today simply can’t handle heavy usage, and that’s a problem is you’re a carrier bent on offering wireless IFE on a 14 hour flight.
Here are just some of the reasons why embedded IFE is not dead yet…