Retrofit cabin entertainment equipment-specialist Flight Display Systems (stand 1649) has unveiled at the show business aviation's first purpose-designed Blu-ray DVD player.
The Alpharetta, Georgia-headquartered company announced its plans to offer the Blu-ray system at last year's NBAA show, but the equipment is making its debut at EBACE. The company began shipping systems to customers at the end of April.
"Our system is the only one approved worldwide," says Flight Display Systems' Gulfstream programmes manager Kevin Iocovozzi. The system on display here is able to play European-region Blu-ray discs and carries a sticker price of $4,879. Throughout the show the company will be performing live demonstrations using a 17in (43cm) monitor.
Demand for Blu-ray on board aircraft is mushrooming as wealthy owners adopt the high-definition video format as standard, says international marketing manager Nick Gray, son of company president David Gray. "A lot of these VIP clients have already migrated to using Blu-ray at home," he adds.
The system comprises a player, high-definition-compatible cable and monitor. The smallest monitor now available is 17.5in, but at the other end of the scale Flight Display Systems has a customer order to install a 52in screen. Iocovozzi hopes to eventually be able to offer 7-10in personal high-definition screens to Gulfstream operators.
In terms of market potential for Blu-ray systems on business jets, "I think we're only limited by our customers' knowledge that we have it,"says Iocovozzi. "We're getting a lot of requests for retrofit, and we are working with the OEMs now on special projects."
DVDs are typically encoded with a region code that restricts the area in the world in which they can be played. But due to the global nature of aviation, Flight Display Systems has developed a Blu-ray and DVD player that can "switch" regions based on the aircraft's operational mission.
Flight Display Systems has shipped more than 7,000 standard DVD players and monitors for aircraft. It also produces moving map displays, wireless audio systems and flight view cameras.
Customers can upgrade their aircraft with a Blu-ray player as a replacement unit, even if they do not elect to install high-definition displays. Because the unit offers both HDMI and composite output, it is backwards-compatible with older LCD and plasma monitors. Playback of traditional DVDs is also supported and it includes a wireless infrared remote control, as well as a port to enable it to interface with other cabin management systems.