Improved interactive TES and launch customer to be unveiled later this month

Rockwell Collins will launch its latest interactive in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, the Enhanced Total Entertainment System (etes), with at least one airline customer at this month's IFE industry show, the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) exhibition.

Rockwell's eTES combines the hardware of the manufacturer's existing interactive TES with the software of the former Sony Trans Com P@ssport interactive system. Rockwell purchased the former Sony division last year, including its successful narrowbody IFE system product line and the widebody P@ssport system, later deciding to cease production of P@ssport and focus its long-term development on the competing TES, due to the much larger TES customer base.

P@ssport customers had always expressed satisfaction with the former Sony system, especially because it is Microsoft Windows-based, can integrate third-party software and is passenger-friendly, but it only managed to secure three airline customers - Air Canada, South African Airways and US Airways. TES suffered early teething problems and took some time to deliver audio- and video-on-demand capability (AVOD), but secured a much larger customer base, with 400-plus aircraft orders.

Etes will be available in two versions - enhanced Audio Video Unit (eAVU) offering full AVOD, and the reduced capability enhanced Audio Seat Unit (eASU), which only provides audio entertainment atthe seat.

Both systems feature laptopconnection points and can offer internet-based services via a service provider such as Tenzing or Connexion by Boeing.

Rockwell will announce a "sizeable" order for eAVU at the WAEA show in Brisbane, Australia, to be held on 11-14 September, and is close to a second customer, says the manufacturer. First deliveries will be in mid-2002.

TES will continue to be sold to existing customers and new ones that require delivery before January 2003, says Rockwell. Customers with deliveries after this date will receive eTES which is smaller (almost 30%), lighter, uses less power and has greater expansion capability than its predecessor.

ETES features improved seatbox processor performance compared with TES from a 40MHz PowerPC to a 266MHz Pentium-class processor, providing a 600% increase in processing power, and a 300% improvement in memory from 16MB to 64MB. Rockwell has benefited from its P@ssport acquisition and unlike TES, the enhanced version is Windows CE-based, which means content, especially games, will "have a notable improvement in speed and graphic quality", says the manufacturer. It also uses Microsoft Internet Explorer browser.

Source: Flight International