DN - Defence Notes

WAEA: New sounds and sales for Thales TopSeries

10th September 2008 - 12:09 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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THALES Avionics has announced two enhancements to its TopSeries audio/video-on-demand IFE system. The system, which leads the selections race on the Boeing 787, will in future offer high-fidelity surround-sound and advanced facilities for on-board commerce.

The Irvine, California-based IFE manufacturer has teamed with New Zealand's Phitek Systems to incorporate Virtual Surround Sound (V3D) technology into TopSeries. The software-based V3D is designed to yield accurate and natural binaural reproduction for all audio content across all formats. It includes parametric equalisation, which will enable airlines to offer the improved sound through low-end headphones.

The upgrade reflects Thales' aim to deliver a home theatre-style experience in the cabin. "We evaluated a number of potential suppliers of this kind of technology and Phitek emerged as the best in class," says Lori Salazar, Thales VP of product management. "The introduction of V3D represents a significant opportunity for airlines to differentiate the passenger experience."

The company is also building in an onboard retail capability from GuestLogix of the USA. It will support pre-flight and onboard purchasing of films and video games, and redemption of purchased services through the TopSeries. "This will allow airlines to provide new revenue-enhancing services," says Alan Pellegrini, general
manager of Thales' inflight entertainment business.

This capability is based on GuestLogix's Concierge software, which generates secure identification codes to minimise fraud and reduce the need to embed point-of-sale applications with the seatback IFE. Travellers will be able to pre-pay for entertainment on the airline's Website. Each customer will be issued a Concierge token that can be printed, emailed or sent via SMS to a mobile phone. Once on the aircraft, the passenger will select the "Pre-Paid Purchase" option on TopSeries and
input the supplied code using the virtual keypad on the seatback touchscreen to obtain the ordered content.

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