American Airlines has extended the use of personal digital versatile/video disk (DVD) players on its flights and will introduce the new in-flight entertainment (IFE) technology to additional services in July.

American became the first carrier to offer passengers individual DVD players on regular scheduled services last September (Flight International, 22-28 September, 1999). Virgin Atlantic Airways and Swissair have tested DVD in flight, but American introduced the technology to the first-class cabin on six Boeing MD-11s serving three European and two South American routes.

American has extended its use of DVD, which offers improved picture and sound quality compared with standard tape-based IFE players, to the first-class cabins of Boeing 767ERs serving a further 11 European destinations.

DVD is also available on another eight US and nine South American routes served by the 767ERs. From 1 July, the service will be added to business class on 767ERs on international routes.

Passengers are offered individual Panasonic DVD players featuring a 150mm (5.8in) high- resolution liquid-crystal display and a library of 20 films. The soundtrack is delivered via new Bose Acoustic Noise Cancelling headsets, developed by Bose in conjunction with the airline.

Meanwhile, American has improved the IFE on its transatlantic services with new channels and a redesigned IFE guide.

• The World Airline Entertainment Association's (WAEA) Technology Committee aims to present its completed DVD specification to the WAEA Board for approval in July.

Completion of the specification, which will pave the way for widescale in-flight DVD use, has been delayed by concerns about the security of new-release films. The in-flight market is usually the first to receive films after their theatrical release in the USA so DVD programming for in-flight use needs to be protected from unauthorised access or piracy.

Several airlines are keen to introduce DVD-delivered IFE because of to the improved quality and durability that DVDs offer.

Source: Flight International