Continental Airlines has altered its contract with LiveTV and now intends to offer the JetBlue Airways subsidiary's latest generation live television system, LTV3, on a large portion of its Boeing narrowbody fleet.

The carrier in January announced a deal with LiveTV for a 36-channel live television system - and basic onboard connectivity - for every seat in its Boeing 737-700s, -800s, -900s and -900ERs, and Boeing 757-300s.

However, in a statement today the carrier reveals it has entered into an agreement with LiveTV that will allow it to offer 80 channels of live, in-flight satellite-based television programming provided by DirecTV.

Called LTV3, the 80-channel system is a major generational step above the current 36-channel offering now flying on JetBlue's fleet of Embraer 190s and Airbus A320s, and other operators' aircraft.

LTV3 also boasts larger 8in "wide screens" versus the 6.8in screens of the earlier system.

"It's a much richer product" and will be "more like" what people experience at home, LiveTV VP of marketing and sales Mike Moeller told Flight during a recent tour of the company's facility in Melbourne, Florida.

"It's a big step for us - a major investment we've been [working on] for two years."

The first aircraft featuring the new system is expected to enter service in February 2009, says Continental.

The US major also announced today that Panasonic's eFX audio/video on demand (AVOD) system is now available to economy class customers on its Boeing 757-200 aircraft.

All 39 757-200s currently in service have been fitted with the system, and the remaining two aircraft are currently being retrofitted and will re-enter service by 23 December, says the carrier.

As part of the upgrade, AC power ports have been installed throughout the economy cabin.

Since early 2007, the system has been available in the business cabins of the 757-200s, which are used primarily on trans-Atlantic flights to and from Continental's New York Newark hub.

Continental is also currently installing Panasonic's eX2 IFE system - which offers 250 movies, in addition to a raft of other entertainment choices - in both the business and economy class cabins of its Boeing 777 fleet.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news