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HAWK21M
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A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:46 pm

How is the IFE System on an A330 & A340 series.
This was a debate at work last night.
Since I'd not worked on the type I thought I'd ask someone who has.

Is the IFE such that any time the Pax on a seat switches to or changes a channel,they will recieve a common feed playing on all IFEs at the time or Start from the Beginning.

eg:- Pax A decides to watch a movie at 2200hrs,while Pax B decides to start watching that movie at 2210hrs.Will Pax B get to see the movie from the start or Ten minutes from the start.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
VC-10
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:59 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Thread starter):
Is the IFE such that any time the Pax on a seat switches to or changes a channel,they will recieve a common feed playing on all IFEs at the time or Start from the Beginning.

eg:- Pax A decides to watch a movie at 2200hrs,while Pax B decides to start watching that movie at 2210hrs.Will Pax B get to see the movie from the start or Ten minutes from the start.

It depends on which IFE system the operator has purchased. IFE is BFE (Buyer Furnished Equipment)
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:05 pm

Quoting VC-10 (Reply 1):
It depends on which IFE system the operator has purchased. IFE is BFE (Buyer Furnished Equipment)

Not very sure.I'll try & find out.Are you saying that this latter type does Exist.
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MEL
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Tristarsteve
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:17 pm

The latest types of IFE are AVOD. Audio and visual on demand.
Any passenger can pick any film. The film is then downloaded to a box under the seat. They can then play the film, pause and rewind at their pleasure.
So all the pax can watch the same film and be watching different parts of it.

There are a lot of older IFE systems around where the films are all started at the same time by the Purser. You can decide which one to watch but cannot control it.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:27 pm

Thanks Steve for the excellent data as usual.Any link on this type.
Also Any A330/340 that are AVOD Compatiable.
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MEL
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kaddyuk
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:21 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4):
Also Any A330/340 that are AVOD Compatiable.

They're all compatible, its just the expense of retrofitting thats the problem.

Virgin use a system called vPort. Its fantastic when it works... A Pain in the arse when it doesn't. Its all On Demand. Takes longer to boot up because, its not just a case of hitting play on a video. All the seats have to be booted up individually. They're only boxes with 386 processors in because they dont need to be any more powerful. A Full system reboot can take over an hour. Its normally around 45 minutes tho... Its made by MAS if i remember correctly.
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:56 pm

Quoting Kaddyuk (Reply 5):
A Full system reboot can take over an hour.

Can it be done in flight......The Reboot.
regds
MEL
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Tristarsteve
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:06 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 6):
Can it be done in flight......The Reboot.

Yes. The basic system comes back in about 5 minutes, but the AVOD takes time. We have Masushita3000, and they say it takes 45mins, but it appears to be working after about 10mins.
This system has been very reliable for me on the line. There is always a couple of seats not working, but the whole system rarely fails. When we have more than a couple of failures we reboot it on the transit, and they usually come good.
The problem as an engineer is to differentiate between the PSS (Pax service system) and the PES (Pax entertainment system. The PSS is supplied by the manufacturer and controls call lights, reading lights, etc.
The PES is BFE equipement, but as you know the reading lights are controlled from the PES handsets. For us poor A and C engineers on the line, it can be a problem decideding where the fault is.
 
SNA350
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:24 pm

A reboot of the IFE system inflight is quite normal
I had it recently on a KLM 777 (I think they have the same system on their A330's) flight to JFK because it was reacting very slowly, it took about 15 minutes to fully reboot, no problems anymore afterwards
Aircraft flown: B733, B734, B736, B737, B738, B744, B752, B763, B772, A319, A320, A321, A343, A346, Do328, CRJ7, E190
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:31 pm

Good to hear that.Especially with a u/s IFE on long flights would be saddening.Atleast an attempt to get it going can be available.
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MEL
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Curmudgeon
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:25 pm

QF has the Rockwell/Collins system on their A330's. Last week on a SIN-PER trip half the seats had to be rebooted, some twice. My own seat didn't work after five attempts, then started working at top of descent. It is the most hated aspect of the A330, and apparently the biggest source of service complaints.
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:56 pm

Quoting Curmudgeon (Reply 10):
My own seat didn't work after five attempts

Whats the major snags on the IFEs.
regds
MEL
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zenarcade
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:28 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 11):
Whats the major snags on the IFEs

My best guess would be poorly written software. I have seen some photos where IFE systems use linux software, which is great but probably not as good as something real-time. The system itself is quite simple on paper although I think problems arise when multiple units try to communicate with the master unit.
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Tristarsteve
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:46 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 11):
Whats the major snags on the IFEs.

I have only started on long haul aircraft with IFE 3 years ago. I started on Matsushita 1000, non AVOD, and films on Sony Hi8 cassettes. Now all the aircraft are converted to Masushita3000 AVOD with the films on servers. The continuing problems are mainly the hardware that the passenger can touch. We get pax control units being pulled off their cables, and armrest screens being knocked off their arms, about one every flight. We cannot fix them as no spares and they always break off. If they were held on by bigger screws it would be much easier. The other problem is that the seat boxes are easily kicked by pax. Nowadays they are quite robust, but plugs still come off and with a seat out its always worth it to lie on the floor and check the plugs.
But the problem of damaged tapes and tapes stuck in cassette players is over.
The nes 3000AVOD system is much less likely to need rebooting than the old 1000 tape system. The old system failed every other flight, the new one about one flight in ten.

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4):
Also Any A330/340 that are AVOD Compatiable

All aircraft are compatible. The IFE systems are bought by the airlines and fitted to all aircraft. There is nothing to stop you buying a new AVOD system and fitting it on a B737-200, it would just be more complicated as there is no PSS system fitted.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:49 pm

Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 13):
it would just be more complicated as there is no PSS system fitted.

Whats PSS stand for.
regds
MEL
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Tristarsteve
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:17 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 14):
Whats PSS stand for

Passenger Service System. I don't know if it is a normal phrase, but the B767 and the L1011 both use the term to describe the reading lights and call lights control system where you press a button in the armrest, and the reading lights come on.
 
Curmudgeon
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:10 pm

Quoting Zenarcade (Reply 12):
My best guess would be poorly written software. I have seen some photos where IFE systems use linux software, which is great but probably not as good as something real-time. The system itself is quite simple on paper although I think problems arise when multiple units try to communicate with the master unit.

The system that bemused me for five hours booted up a Windows CE screen, then showed every line of (what looked like) DOS as it s-l-o-w-l-y rebooted. There were several fatal error messages that caused a few minutes of nothing, then the thing would re-start again. I gather the program looks for a modem like connection to the server. The cabin crew said that if too many people are selecting the same film, it will freeze, or refuse to load on most seats. Beats me why QF persists with this system...I'm told they have to make nice to many, many premium class pax every month at no small cost.
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avioniker
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:14 am

The AVOD system I'm familiar with uses:
Linux in the main processor
Windows XP in the entertainment storage unit
Windows CE in the displays
Windows XP embedded in the zone distributors
Head end and PAX ethernet running MPEG, PCM and who knows what else on the same network wires,
and nobody seems to understand why it takes so long to boot.
After reading all your comments I'd say that the seven minutes it takes is pretty good.

The biggest problem I see is the bean counters having too much power. If they'd allow one team or group to take a system from concept to hardware, instead of fast tracking it all the time, there'd be one heck of a lot fewer interface problems causing excessively long boot times. I'd even venture to bet that if one team did the design from start to finish rebooting would be virtually unheard of.

Just one man's opinion mind you. . .

 

[Edited 2007-01-12 01:17:35]
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:50 pm

Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 15):
but the B767 and the L1011 both use the term to describe the reading lights and call lights control system where you press a button in the armrest, and the reading lights come on.

PSUs or Passenger service units.
regds
MEL
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SP90
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:54 am

I've only been on flights with the older systems where the contents of each channel just loops around. I assume those have a centralized tape system or server that broadcasts to the whole plane. So a few questions:

1) In the on demand systems, does it pre-load any contents into that box under the seat when the system boots up? Maybe the first 5-10 minutes worth of every show or movie that is available on the system. So let say I select film 1, it will start playing right away while the system retrieves the rest of the film from the server?

2) Are servers dedicated to certain groups of seats? Are they in a common pool and every seat on the plane can access them on a first come first serve basis?

It's hard to believe the system can take 45 minutes to boot up. That almost sound like each seat has to boot up in sequence, one after another!  crazy 
 
andz
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:10 pm

SAA have Rockwell Collins AVOD on 346 and 744, I'm sure it is on 343 too. When I flew BA 744 they had the more basic IFE, you can select a channel but that channel starts at the same time for everyone. EK also had AVOD on their 330s that I flew on.
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BandA
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:30 pm

I liked the systems that Asiana 777's and JAL 777's have installed, they are both a bit different from each other but work pretty well. I like the Asiana one a bit better than JAL as JAL's didnt offer e-mail and internet at the last time I flew them... also both seem to be AVOD where you can start/stop/ff/rew movies/programs at any time. Also you can play certain games with other people in the aircraft as well as contact them via phone built into the remote controller by punching in the seat number.

On the other hand, JAL's 744's had similar looking screens and remotes but the system was not truly a AVOD as the movies all started at the same time and you just flipped through the channels to watch whatever one from whichever point it was at, you couldnt control it. No internet, seat to seat calling or gameplay.

Both types did offer outside camera views though. JAL switched off the cameras during takeoff and landing whereas Asiana kept their cameras on all the time.

Hawk, wouldnt it be nice to have similar AVOD systems on S2 or Jet Airways?
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HAWK21M
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RE: A330/340 IFE System

Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:19 am

Quoting BandA (Reply 21):
, wouldnt it be nice to have similar AVOD systems on S2 or Jet Airways

Sure would for International ops Def.However the Stats on IFE damage/Snags on Domestic Aircraft are too many.

regds
MEL
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