I have been hearing that this announcement was coming for weeks. Nice to see it is a reality. The unit they are offering is fantastic! Story below.
http://www.alaskasworld.com (now with a new site redesign)
Alaska to become first carrier to offer
on-demand inflight entertainment system
Posted September 9, 2003
Alaska Airlines will be the first airline in the world to offer customers a portable, handheld device that will give customers a spectrum of inflight entertainment choices, including first-run movies. This state-of-the-art APS digEplayer is unlike traditional inflight entertainment systems because it literally puts the choice of what to watch or listen to in the hands of customers.
Alaska will debut the devices in October on all transcontinental flights between Seattle and Newark/New York, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Washington National and Washington Dulles, as well as between Anchorage and Chicago. Plans to expand it to more routes are under review.
"We've wanted to offer an inflight entertainment system on our long-haul flights for some time, but the challenge has always been how to deliver multiple options without installing a costly system in every aircraft. By using this digital technology, we've conquered the challenge," said Dave Palmer, Alaska's managing director of marketing.
The digEplayer is about the size of a DVD player, but with superior audio and video quality. And because the content cannot be duplicated or replayed once its proprietary battery runs out, it’s possible to offer first-run movies not yet available on video. The system also will carry classic films, television shows, children’s programming, music and video games.
"For the first time, air travelers will have real inflight entertainment options," said Bill Boyer, CEO of APS, Inc.
The units will be available at no extra charge to all First Class passengers, and at least 32 units will be available in the main cabin for rental ($8 when reserved in advance on alaskaair.com and $10 on board). Alaska will receive a commission from each rental and a percentage of any ad sales.
Initially, a total of nine movies, three television shows and 10 hours of music will be offered.
"Offering our customers the latest high-technology inflight entertainment system in the industry is in keeping with our commitment to offer technology that makes flying more satisfying to our customers," said Gregg Saretsky, Alaska’s executive vice president of marketing and planning.
Content on the units will be provided by Twentieth Century Fox and Digital Music Express (DMX).