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Airline IFE Vs WiFi Cage Match  
User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2352 posts, RR: 2
Posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3970 times:

As suggested by srbmod, here is an airline installed hard IFE product vs all other forms thread. Let the discussion start!

I very rarely use Delta's installed IFE. But, I do use wi-fi extensively. I also think in the airlines rush to cut costs and use less fuel the heavy, installed traditional systems will give way to personal laptops and tablets. If the airlines elect to continue offering separate IFE, I think it will be something like digi players or pre-loaded tablets. Less weight, better quality.

Now your thoughts.

41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4411 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3946 times:

The only thing I use the installed IFE for (on planes so equipped) is for the "Airshow/Moving Map" feature. Otherwise, give me WiFi and I'd be happy.

User currently offlineSonomaFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1695 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3918 times:
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I'd generally agree with tablet/wifi on most flights but long flights (TATL/TransPac) i.e. over about six hours, its difficult for devices to store enough content to last the entire flight (even assuming you can plug the thing in at your seat).

UA has talked up streaming on 747 in Y. It will be interesting to see the product offering. Hopefully, it'll be superior to the product offered on the newly config'd 777's which charge about $10.00 for not much content.


User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3589 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3902 times:

I almost never use the wifi and I use the IFE all the time. I dislike the digiplayers and tablets that I have used on various airlines currently using them.

I am a DL DM with over 2 MM and an AA EXP.

Different strokes for different folks.


User currently onlineAirCanada787 From Canada, joined Nov 2010, 281 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day ago) and read 3848 times:

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 3):
I almost never use the wifi and I use the IFE all the time.

Currently in Canada we don't have much choice when it comes to routes with Wi-fi. However I too prefer to use the IFE over my own device, I wouldn't spend my whole flight just surfing the web. I don't always travel with my laptop and even if I do I'd rather use a system installed on the plane so I don't have to have my laptop taking up the tray table. Plus Its great when airlines like AC have the system switched on as soon as you leave the gate so you can use it during takeoff and landing, when other deices have to be put away.



The mind, like a parachute, functions only when open.
User currently offlineUnited1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5930 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 1 day ago) and read 3803 times:

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):
Hopefully, it'll be superior to the product offered on the newly config'd 777's which charge about $10.00 for not much content.

There is no charge for IFE on UAs 777s....



Semper Fi - PowerPoint makes us stupid.
User currently offlinefrmrCapCadet From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1710 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 23 hours ago) and read 3726 times:

Can an engineer chime in? What issues would there be with recharging power available at all seats. Our library has 5(?) amp connections available. Do you really need that much? What are the weight differentials between builtin IFE, and Wifi plus charging capability?

One advantage of Wifi is that it encompasses most entertainment features, whereas IFE does not provide the web.



Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3065 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 23 hours ago) and read 3706 times:

Quoting TVNWZ (Thread starter):
If the airlines elect to continue offering separate IFE, I think it will be something like digi players or pre-loaded tablets. Less weight, better quality.

Agreed.

Quoting N62NA (Reply 1):
The only thing I use the installed IFE for (on planes so equipped) is for the "Airshow/Moving Map" feature.

That is a feature I would enjoy, but I can't justify spending $6-$10 per flight just for that feature. It would be nice if the "Airshow/Moving Map" was the default program on the IFE screen.

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):
UA has talked up streaming on 747 in Y. It will be interesting to see the product offering. Hopefully, it'll be superior to the product offered on the newly config'd 777's which charge about $10.00 for not much content.

That has been my problem with the IFE systems I've encountered: Poor value for the money because of limited content. My cheap soul will not allow me to pony up $6-$10 for the privilege of watching on a tiny screen either one or two movies in which I have not the slightest interest or reruns of mediocre TV shows that I've already seen multiple times.

It seems to me that a power port at each seat coupled with on-board WiFI would be a much lighter and easier to maintain setup for airlines, and adding the option of renting an iPad/Kindle/etc. for those not already possessing such a device (of which I am one) should take care of in-flight entertainment needs quite nicely. Until then, I'll just make do by looking out the window or reading a book.



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5416 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 22 hours ago) and read 3663 times:

Quoting TSS (Reply 7):
That has been my problem with the IFE systems I've encountered: Poor value for the money because of limited content. My cheap soul will not allow me to pony up $6-$10 for the privilege of watching on a tiny screen either one or two movies in which I have not the slightest interest or reruns of mediocre TV shows that I've already seen multiple times.

And don't forget that whatever you watch is always "airplane edited". That was an interesting discovery I made once, that there are essentially three "editions" of movies (and two for TV shows): one is the original unedited version, second is the "for public broadcast" version and they edit out profanity and sexual stuff and some violence etc., but the third is an "airplane" version for situations where essentially anyone may be able to view without supervision or privacy. So the airplane mode can be REALLY chopped up.

As lousy as Die Hard 4 is, the one I watched on a flight I was on was so chopped up it was ridiculous.

Oh and this goes for music as well. You will not here the original unedited version of any song that has "questionable" lyrics.

Tugg

[Edited 2012-05-23 21:26:25]


I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19374 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 22 hours ago) and read 3660 times:

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):

I'd generally agree with tablet/wifi on most flights but long flights (TATL/TransPac) i.e. over about six hours, its difficult for devices to store enough content to last the entire flight (even assuming you can plug the thing in at your seat).

And if the flight goes over 10 hours, you run into battery issues, even with WiFI

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):
UA has talked up streaming on 747 in Y.

But will they install charging ports to support it? I doubt it.


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 months 22 hours ago) and read 3622 times:

Quoting frmrCapCadet (Reply 6):
What issues would there be with recharging power available at all seats.

It's not practical to provide enough capacity to every seat to have everyone charging at once; you have to play some complicated statistical games to try to ensure, with high probability, that everyone who wants power will get it without overloading any one bus.

Running power to every seat is relatively simple; the latest generation of IFE from Panasonic and Thales does exactly that.

Quoting frmrCapCadet (Reply 6):
Our library has 5(?) amp connections available. Do you really need that much?

No. 2 amps is plenty for most foreseeable portable electronic devices.

Quoting frmrCapCadet (Reply 6):
What are the weight differentials between builtin IFE, and Wifi plus charging capability?

IFE weighs more because of all the screens, boxes, and wiring. WiFi is relatively light (the antenna + transmitter are big but there's only one). The power system isn't light but it's no worse than the IFE data system.

Quoting frmrCapCadet (Reply 6):
One advantage of Wifi is that it encompasses most entertainment features, whereas IFE does not provide the web.

The major issue with WiFi is cost; IFE isn't cheap but, relative to WiFi, it's cheaper and predictable. All current airplane WiFi products that I'm aware of charge the airline by the amount of data used. It's been challenging to come up with a business model to cover the WiFi costs. People expect IFE to be free (and that makes some sense since it's almost entirely a fixed cost once the airline purchases the content) but it's not as simple with WiFi.

Tom.


User currently offlinenasula From Finland, joined Sep 2010, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 20 hours ago) and read 3501 times:

For wifi the ither issue is the technology itself. Does anyone know of any accesspoints that handle 200+ users properly on a single frequency or handles multip,e frequencies while handling 200+ users?

User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5416 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 months 19 hours ago) and read 3446 times:

Quoting nasula (Reply 11):
For wifi the ither issue is the technology itself. Does anyone know of any accesspoints that handle 200+ users properly on a single frequency or handles multip,e frequencies while handling 200+ users?

Wouldn't be very hard at all. I forgot how many but Apple had to handle something like 1,000 "live" connections for the press at the iPad event at Yerba Buena Center. So 200,and where not every user is a power user, wouldn't be too hard.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3919 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 months 18 hours ago) and read 3366 times:
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The funny thing is, the IFE vs WiFi debate is almost academic. It will be years before there's enough bandwidth at affordable prices for passengers to use their own device to stream in bandwidth-heavy entertainment from the ground up.

What will happen before that is that IFE will be delivered to each seat over Wi-Fi using one of two scenarios.
Some airlines will retain at-seat screens (perhaps in premium classes only) that will be fed from a centralized entertainment library over an in-plane WiFi network, while other airlines will do away with the screens entirely and tell passengers to connect directly to the library controller through their own device's WiFi antenna.

Quoting nasula (Reply 11):
For wifi the ither issue is the technology itself.

There is no concurrent connection capacity issue. Finding an access point able to handle 200+ concurrent connections is easy. The problem is that many access points still top out at 1GB of shared bandwidth for all the connections. Many deployments require multiple access points not because of the number of connections, but to ensure that each connection has enough bandwidth...

Quoting tugger (Reply 8):
And don't forget that whatever you watch is always "airplane edited".

In the US, perhaps. I've watched stuff on Air Canada that wouldn't make a US broadcast network's prime time line up.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlinewarden145 From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 501 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 months 18 hours ago) and read 3366 times:

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):
I'd generally agree with tablet/wifi on most flights but long flights (TATL/TransPac) i.e. over about six hours, its difficult for devices to store enough content to last the entire flight (even assuming you can plug the thing in at your seat).

Agreed...even if I'm only using it lightly, my laptop would die after 4 hours or so on battery, and that's with a relatively new extended-life battery. I could put enough stuff on my laptop to keep me occupied for a 10 hour flight, but unless there's a way to plug in, it wouldn't be very useful after the battery died.

IMHO if IFE's going to be ditched on long flights, airlines really need to supply some sort of recharging power. I can spend a 3 hour flight looking out the window or reading a newspaper, but for a 10 hour flight, movies really do make the flight go quicker    and that could well influence my decision on which airline to go with.

Quoting tugger (Reply 8):
the third is an "airplane" version for situations where essentially anyone may be able to view without supervision or privacy. So the airplane mode can be REALLY chopped up.

I knew about this, but I was surprised to watch a couple of movies and TV shows on BA that weren't edited in any way shape or form...including some F-bombs and even an unedited "intimate" scene from the film "Elizabeth".

Maybe the "airplane version" is a U.S. thing? I've never played with the IFE system on a U.S. airline...



ETOPS = Engine Turns Off, Passengers Swim
User currently offlineUnited1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5930 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 months 14 hours ago) and read 3173 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 9):
Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):
UA has talked up streaming on 747 in Y.

But will they install charging ports to support it? I doubt it.


They have been looking at doing just that....adding WiFi that will let you surf the internet worldwide, streaming prerecorded content and power ports. The cost issue has always been that the recaro seats they use will not support the current generation of PTV's they can however add power without too much trouble.



Semper Fi - PowerPoint makes us stupid.
User currently online1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6432 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 months 14 hours ago) and read 3163 times:

I still expect IFE and Wi-Fi will continue to coexist. Many people like the convenience of having a PTV, and also don't like the hassle of packing and unpacking their laptops or tablets, as well as them taking up space.


The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4116 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 months 14 hours ago) and read 3139 times:

I don't like the IFE on most of the airlines, the movie selection usually sucks and are not to my taste. My preference is to have my laptop and just use the power supplied by the aircraft, and have the movies I want to watch downloaded on to my computer. The moving map is interesting in that it lets me know how much longer I will have to wait to get off the aircraft but that is all the current IFE holds for me. I even don't really need that as I can get that information off the computer. This is my preference anyway.


Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2352 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 months 12 hours ago) and read 3016 times:

Howabout digi players or pre-loaded tablets.?

I can see a scenerio where flight attendants slide down the aisles with carts hawking pre-loaded tablets from a cart. Battery running low, well sir, here's a fresh one, just let me slide your credit card.

I think we also have to project forward. It really hasn't been that long when those bulky tvs in the middle of the aisle were the latest and greatest. What will the future hold?


User currently offlinesoftrally From Canada, joined Mar 2012, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 months 9 hours ago) and read 2694 times:

I hardly ever use the IFE. I'd rather have a power port and WiFi; I normally watch Mayday on my iPod and occasionally play games on my laptop. I don't like the movie and music selections on IFE systems. The only thing I use the IFE for is for the flight information.

Quoting nasula (Reply 11):

For wifi the ither issue is the technology itself. Does anyone know of any accesspoints that handle 200+ users properly on a single frequency or handles multip,e frequencies while handling 200+ users?

The speed will be the biggest problem. I have problems accessing basic websites on VIA rail (There are routers on each train). I couldn't even come to A.net; it would be even worse on aircraft.



Flown on: 738, 744, 762/763, 772, 77W, 788, A306, A318/319/320/321, A332/333, E145, E190, CRJ700
User currently offlineboeingorbust From Canada, joined Oct 2011, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 months 9 hours ago) and read 2608 times:

Quoting AirCanada787 (Reply 4):
Currently in Canada we don't have much choice when it comes to routes with Wi-fi. However I too prefer to use the IFE over my own device, I wouldn't spend my whole flight just surfing the web. I don't always travel with my laptop and even if I do I'd rather use a system installed on the plane so I don't have to have my laptop taking up the tray table. Plus Its great when airlines like AC have the system switched on as soon as you leave the gate so you can use it during takeoff and landing, when other deices have to be put away.

I think that was a TC issue wasn't it? Now airlines in Canada can have their IFE on during taxi takeoff and landing as well as the ability to have cell phones on during taxi. I like AC's new IFE but wifi would be nice as well.

Perhaps airlines could offer both? Wifi doesn't add as much to the CASM as IFE does but I don't think IFE can be done away with all together. How about a choice to keep IFE in and charge for wifi like a lot of airports do. Pay a few bucks to use wifi on your flight if you want it.


User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4116 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 months 9 hours ago) and read 2606 times:

Quoting tugger (Reply 8):
And don't forget that whatever you watch is always "airplane edited". That was an interesting discovery I made once, that there are essentially three "editions" of movies (and two for TV shows): one is the original unedited version, second is the "for public broadcast" version and they edit out profanity and sexual stuff and some violence etc., but the third is an "airplane" version for situations where essentially anyone may be able to view without supervision or privacy. So the airplane mode can be REALLY chopped up.

Well, on DL they show unedited versions of movies including nudity and the use of the F-bomb and other such mind numbing dialogue in the movies. I don't see any reason why they need to edit anything out. Most people are exposed such reality type dialogue on network television these days.



Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlineirelayer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1073 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 months 8 hours ago) and read 2602 times:

Well if it is a LiveTV offering a-la B6 and DL and what not I'm all for it over my laptop/tablet (I don't have a laptop or a tablet...). I LOVE LOVE LOVE the novelty of watching live sports or the news while cruising up in the air. If it was just pre loaded movies and tv shows and what not then I think I would obviously take my own selection over the IFE, but then battery life becomes an issue. Plus usually the basic IFE is free whereas WiFi costs money.

I did try out WiFi once on a DL redeye (SAN-ATL) where it cost 5 dollars instead of 8 or whatever. I managed to have a stable stream from my SlingBox back home! It was the coolest thing ever. I think I was probably using up a good chunk of the bandwidth on that plane.

-IR


User currently offlinefrmrCapCadet From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1710 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 months 8 hours ago) and read 2602 times:

tdscanuck - thanks for all the info.

My problem with IFE is about the same as with the dish satellite at home. 200+ channels, but seldom anything I want to watch. Likely I am picky about what I want, but between preloading books, movies (don't watch many), and various blogs the Web is by far my preferred mode in info.



Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 months 8 hours ago) and read 2537 times:

The thing for me is, how easily can you stream video (e.g. YouTube) from the onboard WiFi? If being able to pick a few youtube videos or (in the UK or using a clever proxy) get onto BBC iPlayer to watch something would be better than the IFE on a shorter flight. On long haul (e.g. TATL) I'd prefer to have the regular IFE, I can stick a crappy movie on and just relax without having to get out a laptop or tablet and be bombarded with e-mails from work/school, plus without the fear of leaving something on board.

25 YYZYYT : I agree - mostly for the kids' sake, as they are quiet and well behaved when staring at the little box... having to shut down an ipad or laptop for t
26 will777 : I experienced this on my AF flight from PHL to CDG back in 2008. I watched a movie and it was definitely edited with curse words removed. However, I
27 irelayer : Well if it is a LiveTV offering a-la B6 and DL and what not I'm all for it over my laptop/tablet (I don't have a laptop or a tablet...). I LOVE LOVE L
28 planejamie : Of course! I'd actually forgotten I have a slingbox (me and my dad use it as we travel a lot), so WiFi would actually be a lot better, though I'd onl
29 liftsifter : Something no one has brought up is using a laptop/tablet while eating. That's almost impossible, unless you somehow fit both on a tray table.
30 phatty3374 : I could be wrong but it seems that there may be two different "WiFi vs. IFE" scenarios here: The first scenario: WiFi as a means of obtaining internet
31 SonomaFlyer : The last time I few UA (summer 2011), they offered in Y their IFE service on their "upgraded" 777's (3x3x3). If you wanted to look at more than one o
32 Post contains images chrisair : It's amazing how some people are completely helpless without TV for 5 hours. I wonder how anyone suffered through long flights before the year 2000--I
33 YYZYYT : "book"? what is this "book" that you speak of? something loaded on an ipad?
34 fanoftristars : I prefer both, like many of Delta's aircraft. Fun to be able to check your email while watching a streaming movie or MSNBC while flying transcon...
35 PPVRA : Could an airline app, designed for access to IFE and Wifi, also allow a computer onboard the aircraft access to monitor the battery levels in each dev
36 United1 : They dropped that a few months after they started...the only IFE that they charge for is DirectTV in Y on the 737's.
37 bojangles : Surprising for an American viewer, perhaps, but fairly par for the course for their British counterpart! I'm perplexed at how Americans are prolific
38 nomadd22 : If they ever showed "Airplane" it would be four minutes long.
39 Post contains images warden145 : That's probably a big part of why they'll likely never show it in flight Just gave me an idea for a practical joke, though....get someone in a window
40 brilondon : The only real advantage to have IFE is if your battery runs out before you run out of flight then I can see the need for IFE, but a solution to this w
41 SonomaFlyer : I'm glad to hear this idea went away. This puts UA's offering at least in the ballpark with the competition to LHR from SFO.
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