DN - Defence Notes

WAEA: Bluebox Lite gets lighter

7th September 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


BLUEBOX Avionics will unveil the second generation of its Bluebox Lite handheld IFE player when WAEA 2008 gets under way here tomorrow. The British company will also show its wireless semi-embedded IFE system, as recently deployed on a private Boeing BBJ.

The latest Bluebox Lite is described as 25 per cent lighter than its predecessor, which is in service with UK carrier bmi, El Al of Israel and Iceland Express. The new variant also offers 50 per cent more battery life, significantly higher resolution and a brighter screen. First deliveries to customers are scheduled for November.

Following installation work by Greenpoint Technologies of Seattle, the first example of the Bluebox wireless semi-embedded system has been commissioned and is now flying aboard a new Boeing Business Jet. “We have proved that the concept is viable logistically and commercially,” says Bluebox joint managing director Rick Stuart. “We have overcome all of the issues associated with wireless control and now have a very powerful and flexible product.”
The system is based on the same hardware platform as Bluebox Lite, but configured for wireless control via a crew management terminal. In the BBJ control is exercised via the aircraft’s own WiFi network. Functions include cabin public address, and IFE pause, forced playback and system disable. As well as audio/video on demand, the system supports PC gaming and moving-map information from a Rockwell Collins Airshow system.

The Bluebox units are installed in seat-arm mounts and draw on aircraft power. The passenger can remove the unit from the arm mount and place it on the in-seat table for more convenient viewing.

“Our approach to controlling and delivering content to Bluebox wirelessly is unique,” says technical director Murray Skelton. “It enables us to deliver a very lightweight system based on an extremely powerful next-generation platform.”

Bluebox Avionics is a 50/50 joint venture by London-based content specialist Phantom Media and Scottish air transport industry software provider AviIT.

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