DN - Defence Notes

WAEA: Big is beautiful, says IMS

7th September 2008 - 12:09 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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HANDHELD IFE market leader The IMS Company surfed into Long Beach on the crest of a wave of new product announcements – and it’s not done yet.

Making its debut here is the Brea, California-based supplier’s latest entertainment offering for the airlines – an imposing 12in-screen unit capable of storing up to 250Gb of content. “It’s a personal entertainment device but not a portable,” says sales and marketing VP Harry Gray. “We’re developing it to meet airline demand for something that lets them clearly differentiate their premium and economy services.”

The new product draws on the success of IMS’ 10.6in-screen device in business class on American Airlines’ Boeing 767-300s. “It’s designed as a replacement for our 10.6in Personal Entertainment Appliance (PEA),” says Gray. “On show here in working prototype form, it will be used in semi-embedded form, like its predecessor, but will weigh 25 per cent less and will need about 30 per cent less storage space.” 

Deliveries of the new device are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of next year. Passengers will be able to view more than 450 hours of on-demand content on the 1280x800-resolution WXGA touchscreen. While touchscreen is the primary control mode, a remote control will be offered for use in seats set at longer pitch. Other features include a customisable graphical user interface and a variety of games, as well as optional WiFi.

Also starring at the IMS booth is a semi-embedded version of the established PAV-705 7in-screen personal media player, along with in-seat arms and seatback docking stations.

On the eve of the show IMS announced that it had recently put its players into service with three new customers - Aeroméxico, AirAsia X of Malaysia and Italy’s AirOne. It also introduced a new, faster and more capacious version of its successful Terminal Data Loader (TDL), which is in service with American Airlines, British Airways and Virgin America. And it revealed that it had begun delivering content wirelessly to TDLs aboard aircraft operated by some of its customers. The automated wireless system is used to deliver content for IFE systems to aircraft before take-off and to download usage and survey data after they land. Permanently installed in the aircraft, TDL is capable of receiving data loads both wirelessly via WiFi or cellular and from physical media carried aboard.

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