Singapore Airlines (SIA) will start upgrading its widebody fleet with Matsushita's new System 3000 interactive in-flight entertainment (IFE) hardware in November and December. The airline will be the first to install the fully interactive IFE System, a development of Matsushita's market-leading System 2000E.

SIA has the System 2000E installed on its widebody fleet and will progressively upgrade the fleet once it is satisfied with initial System 3000 performance.

System 3000 will allow SIA to offer audio- and video-on-demand (A/VOD) services in all passenger cabins. It will provide faster full-cabin A/VOD, improved interactive capabilities and picture quality compared with its predecessor.

Matsushita has 15 airlines committed to the new product, with some carriers ordering the analogue version for later upgrade and others the digital version to allow full-cabin A/VOD. Customers include All Nippon Airways, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, and Swissair. Many of the carriers will be moving up to the System 3000 from the System 2000E, with the upgrade being "an evolutionary step" with a change in hardware and no wiring changes required, says Matsushita.

System 3000 is not intended to replace System 2000E, but is an upgrade and Matsushita is expecting more airlines to move up to the new system as "VOD becomes more the norm and the content price comes down". System 2000E has captured two-thirds of the widebody interactive IFE system market, according to Matsushita.

The manufacturer is already planning its next-generation system, which is two years away from a development announcement.

Source: Flight International