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Aircraft Interiors: Panasonic?s coming to your TV screens

3rd April 2009 - 14:41 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Panasonic has set out to revolutionise the inflight television market, announcing at the beginning of the show that it planned to create a Ku-band satellite-based network designed to deliver content worldwide.

Unlike existing offerings from providers like LiveTV and Rockwell Collins, which for commercial reasons are confined to regions like North America, Australasia and the Middle East, the Panasonic Airline Television Network will be available around the world, according to the Lake Forest, California-based company.

The service will feature a selection of leading TV channels specifically licensed for worldwide distribution to aircraft in flight. Panasonic says it has negotiated all the necessary licensing and distribution agreements directly with the content providers. Existing inflight TV distribution agreements are generally limited to specific geopolitical areas, which up to now has ruled out the emergence of anything resembling a seamless worldwide network. 

Panasonic has full control of the content encryption format, resulting in a simplified system design and content management process, the company says. The world’s No 1 IFE provider also emphasises the scalability and flexibility of the service, declaring that channels and content can readily be added to meet passenger demand or an airline’s specific regional needs.

The announcement is seen as straw in the wind indicating progress with the company’s eXconnect passenger broadband connectivity offering, which has been in development for some time and is due to take to the air at last this autumn. The two services will use a common infrastructure comprising leased Ku-band satellite capacity, aircraft antennas and other onboard equipment.
 
Panasonic says it is now seeking the necessary regulatory approvals for the TV service in partnership with potential airline customers. Attractions for the carriers include not only the possibility of an important new string for their passenger service bows but also an opportunity to earn extra cash through advertising insertions and pay-per-view access.

The initial line-up of content providers for the service comprises news organisations Al Jazeera, BBC World News, the Bloomberg Television network, euronews and France 24. Additional providers are due to be announced soon.

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