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UA Trialing In-Flight Zune HD Rentals   
User currently offlineElBandGeek From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 750 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4385 times:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/04/z...h-united-airlines-in-flight-enter/

Finally, some serious love for my music player of choice. United and Microsoft are expanding on the deal they made in June that replaced the previous XM radio with in-flight audio sourced by Zune Marketplace. Now they're going to begin trials to rent out Zune HD players on long-haul flights starting with HKG and SYD routes. Part of me is thinking that this is a stop-gap until the implementation of a more substantial overhaul of their IFE offerings. Maybe Microsoft is working on an airplane equivalent to their Sync system that they developed for Ford. In any case it's nice to see them finally pushing the Zune brand in new ways, because despite what snarky Apple fanboys (who will feel the need to post in this thread) say, the Zune is an excellent device for music and videos, and really the only thing that's held it back is lack of a serious marketing push.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinejpetekyxmd80 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 4357 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4236 times:

Better than nothing. Any idea how much they will charge? I do think the 744 Y class will be a huge product hole in a combined airline that is very committed to IFE, and it's only a matter of (short) time for a PTV retrofit on 744. And in my dreams, the Hawaii 777s .


The Best Care in the Air, 1984-2009
User currently offlineElBandGeek From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 750 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4168 times:

I'm honestly not sure if they're even charging for them or not, so they might even be complimentary. And yeah, the current IFE hole with the 744 (hence the use on the HKG and SYD routes) is what leads me to believe it's a stopgap measure so they can at least give pax something in lieu of AVOD. I can't imagine this is costing UA much at all either since Microsoft has been hot lately on promoting the Zune brand so they're probably covering the overhead in exchange for the publicity. Once they actually get into refurbs I can definitely see Microsoft putting out their own system, either with their own hardware or as a software platform that can be loaded onto something like the Pansonic Fusion systems. They were demoing a new version of Windows CE Embedded a few months ago and the first thing I thought of when I saw it was IFE.

User currently offlineexFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4141 times:

The Zune is actually a pretty decent device, and as a stop-gap measure isn't bad at all, although in coach trying to use it during a meal will be annoying, as it is with my iPod.

(Side note, "trialling" is not a word in the English language.)


User currently offlineManekS From Singapore, joined Oct 2008, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4012 times:

I think pax would appriciate the bigger size of the screens on an iPad, especially on long flights to HKG and SYD. Just my   

User currently offlinedl767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3983 times:

This seems like a weird move, moving away from built in AVOD. It's a lot like those Dige players that Hawaiian uses (obviously a lot smaller) but a smaller screen also. An iPod Touch loaded with apps seems like it would be more fun for passengers, especially since most people have iPods or iPhones anyways. Why move from integrated AVOD to devices which can be easily broken and have to deal with storing them somewhere.

User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6581 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3830 times:

Quoting ElBandGeek (Thread starter):
despite what snarky Apple fanboys (who will feel the need to post in this thread) say

Ah, the favorite ad hominem attack from a fanboy of another product:

Quoting ElBandGeek (Thread starter):
Finally, some serious love for my music player of choice.
Quoting ElBandGeek (Thread starter):
really the only thing that's held it back is lack of a serious marketing push.

Along with a compelling reason to choose it over the iPod or any other portable media player, along with a bizarre choice to break compatibility with a Microsoft promulgated media standard called, ironically, "PlaysForSure." Except nothing from that standard "PlaysForSure" on a Zune.

Quoting ElBandGeek (Reply 2):
I can definitely see Microsoft putting out their own system, either with their own hardware or as a software platform that can be loaded onto something like the Pansonic Fusion systems.

Unlikely, since the Fusion systems are Linux-based and the Windows CE-derived operating systems aren't really designed to drive hundreds of remote terminals (which is essentially what eFX/Fusion is doing). The size of the business opportunity for Microsoft (probably well under a million units worldwide) isn't necessarily large enough when compared with the market for something like Sync.

Quoting ElBandGeek (Thread starter):
http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/04/z...h-united-airlines-in-flight-enter/

From the photo, the whole scheme for getting these devices turned around between flights seems cumbersome. I'd guess a Microsoft tech will be responsible for getting the devices plugged in and recharged between flights (and making sure they're not broken). I'd also assume that MSFT is providing the devices free to United as a marketing venture. Even so, I don't believe the Zune HD has enough battery life for continuous use watching video on a 14-hour flight.


User currently offlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3643 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3740 times:

As soon as the Zune Inflight Audio came out, I knew this was coming.

Though I am a self-admitted Apple iProduct user, I have played with the Zune HD, and it is an excellent product. This is an excellent way to solve the IFE shortcomings until the UA/CO merger is completed and United can get integrated IFE on all international flights. I could also see this on the p.s. transcon service (free for F/J, surcharge for Y) until they could implement CO's DIRECTV On Board system. Hopefully this "try it, you'll like it" program will lead to more Zune HD sales for Microsoft, along with Windows Phone 7 Series sales as WP7 has a Zune player built in.



I don't work for FWA, their tenants, or their ad agency. But I still love FWA.
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6123 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3640 times:

So, is there any music on this so called media player ? Don't Ipod/Zune buyers use them for music above all else ?

Quoting ManekS (Reply 4):
I think pax would appreciate the bigger size of the screens on an iPad, especially on long flights to HKG and SYD. Just my

I doubt the airlines would appreciate the price tag, and the size could also be a storage problem. Not to mention that you can't change the battery.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineLimaNiner From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 399 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3608 times:

Quoting dl767captain (Reply 5):
Why move from integrated AVOD to devices which can be easily broken and have to deal with storing them somewhere.

Just a guess, but I would imagine that consumer devices don't have to undergo the same level of "airworthiness" certification that systems that are actually integrated into the plane have to undergo -- probably close to zero for the consumer device.

This lowers the cost of the consumer device vs. the integrated system.

You can also roll out upgrades much more quickly than you could with an AVOD: you simply roll in a cart load of new Zune HD++ (or whatever) vs. taking the plane out of service for days/weeks to upgrade the AVOD. So not only is the device you're deploying cheaper (cheap consumer device vs. expensive AVOD), but the process of deploying is also a lot faster/cheaper/easier/...

Repairs also seem easier: with a broken AVOD, the AVOD at that seat is out of commission until a technician can fix it, while with a broken Zune, the airline simply carries a couple extras, so if a passenger ends up with a broken device, they can replace it with a new one.


User currently offlineexFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3460 times:

Quoting dl767captain (Reply 5):
Why move from integrated AVOD to devices which can be easily broken and have to deal with storing them somewhere.

On top of LimaNiner's many good points, I wouldn't be at all surprised if, in exchange for the chance to expose customers to the Zune and perhaps position some marketing materials at the gates and in the seatback pocket, Microsoft is supplying the players and content at a bargain-basement price, perhaps even for free. Microsoft has had trouble getting potential customers to think about the Zune as an alternative to the iPod, and this is a pretty cheap way for them to show people in key demographic groups what the Zune can do.

I don't think this will be the permanent AVOD solution for UA long-haul, though, my guess is they'll eventually upgrade all UA planes to the CO system.


User currently offlinequiet1 From Thailand, joined Apr 2010, 345 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3293 times:

ISTR, that many years back when UA announced internally that they were going to install seat-back video in Y-class on the 747-400s, that it involved reinforcing (replacing?) the cabin floor to accommodate the higher heat/weight of the controllers for the units. I think it basically was a need to change to floor to a cargo-plane standard?

With the great strides technology has made in the past ten years (I think that's probably how long ago I heard those plans), do you think the 747-400 Y-class IFE can be upgraded to seat-back units without reinforcing/replacing the cabin floor?


User currently offlineatcsundevil From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 1001 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3064 times:

It is actually interesting to me that Microsoft never seemed to bother with this before. In recent years there has been a major boom in AVOD on aircraft and I think the companies making the products have found them to be profitable. It seems to me with with Microsoft and Boeing based in the same place that they would have come together on some kind of system. While I know this is just a deal to put Zune's on UA for a trial, I wonder if Microsoft will actually consider breaking into the market...it makes sense to me, at least.

I'm actually mildly surprised Apple didn't go for this first and have Microsoft try and catch up four years later...



If I wanted your opinion, I'd give it to you!
User currently offlinedutchflyboi From Netherlands, joined Apr 2008, 333 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2976 times:

Quoting exFATboy (Reply 3):
(Side note, "trialling" is not a word in the English language.)

sure it is...
Verb: trial (trialled,trialling, or [US] trialed,trialing) trI-ul
Put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to

source: www.wordwebonline.com

But to go back to the topic,
why would anyone want to use it, if you have an IPOD, IPHONE, ZUNE or any other device for music?


User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2019 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2886 times:

I hope the players have some kind of stand or hook to attach to the seat back. The media player on p.s. was a little annoying as there was no place to put it while I was eating and it was difficult to see if it sat on the tray because it did not have a stand, so either I had to hold it to see it clearly, put it on its edge or put it flat and get a poor viewing angle.

Quoting quiet1 (Reply 11):
With the great strides technology has made in the past ten years (I think that's probably how long ago I heard those plans), do you think the 747-400 Y-class IFE can be upgraded to seat-back units without reinforcing/replacing the cabin floor?

Regardless of whether they could do it or not, they will definitely not install individual IFE since the exit of the 744 from the fleet is in sight. Unless business is really booming, they will be retired as the A350s are delivered.


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