The World Airline Entertainment Association's (WAEA) Satellite Content (SatCon) Working Group is close to completing its white paper on in-flight live television service. The move comes as Sextant In-Flight Systems' LiveTV division launched its broadcast satellite service on US carriers JetBlue and Legend Airlines earlier this month.

The WAEA's SatCon group was established to assist airlines in the introduction of in-flight live television. In a survey by the group, 80% of airlines said they were interested in the satellite delivery of in-flight entertainment (IFE), with 60% expecting satellite delivery to replace traditional tape-based content delivery, Micheal Childers, chairman of the working group, told delegates at the recent In-flight Passenger Entertainment and Communication conference.

The completion of the white paper has been held up by licensing and copyright issues. As IFE is a public performance exhibition, airlines wishing to use the content delivered to homes by satellite must obtain performance licences.

American Airlines is "cautiously optimistic" about the potential of in-flight live TV, but Erik Miller, the airline's manager IFE engineering and maintenance, says the only content that "makes sense" to American is live news and sports.

American's live television "wish list" includes that the system must be standalone, but capable of integration with other flightdeck and cabin management systems via standard interface protocols. The business case should not assume that passengers will pay for the programming or that advertising revenue will provide a pay-back. Live TV content suppliers must assume sole source responsibility for administering and managing the content licensing process and the system must include built-in test equipment.

• Boeing is expected to shortly announce a new venture to provide airlines with in-flight live broadcast satellite service in conjunction with several partners. Speculation has centered on Loral and Alenia as being the most likely companies to join Boeing in the venture.

Source: Flight International