Up until recently, VCCs have contained the main head-end LRUs (Line replaceable units) ranging from distribution, demodulation units, ethernet switches, video tape reproducers, and the "terminal" which controls everything.
On narrow body aircraft, you do not need up to 8 VTRs for example, two will do.
Even the old systems (Sony p@ves) were able to fit into a simple overhead bin bag. and you still had the seat boxes at least for audio distribution and channel selection at your seat.
So the bigger the aircraft, the bigger the VCC, simple as that.
But now the policy, specially with the appearance of HDDs and servers, can allow to avoid quick access to VTRs and audio tape reproducers. (Downloading of files is through a data port in the cabin).
Only one box can now deal with the modulation/compression of the data/media streams, and its distribution to the seat boxes.
An ethernet switch eases addressing of all this.
And now the IFE centers are more located in the EE-bays, but if you look at the amount of servers (for example EK
), it still represents a big volume.
It's just that they try to place more stuff out of the cabin to have more room.
In the other hand, they do improve the technology.
The enhanced forward attendant panel on the latest Airbi can indeed have at least pre-recorded announcements and background music, simply MP3s stored on a CF card inserted below the FAP. The cabin intercommunication data system deals with the distribution all by itself.
I guess it's just a matter of time before everything is stored on a couple of HDDs and one box does all the work.
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