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IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:40 pm
by cosmofly
With ever increasing popularity of iPADs or similar devices, pax can bring their own entertainments. As airlines are starting to provide power to the seats, and to make wifi available, it may make sense to save the weight and cost of IFE systems.

China's newest 77W seems to have no PTV.
http://airchina.com.au/en/aboutus/airchinanews/2011/20110622.html

The only downside (or upside) is that cabin announcements will not be able to interrupt pax.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:43 pm
by malaysia
Not all Chinese people can afford electronics like others can. I have flown CA, and did not see many with gadgets on a 747 Combi with no PTV. The main screen was very hard to see, the projector colors were off and it was faded.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:48 pm
by spacecadet
IFE may someday be obsolete, but that day is a long way off. You'd need to have close to 100% penetration of portable entertainment devices in order for IFE to not be a competitive advantage to any airline that has it (vs. others who don't). If an airline can siphon off even 5-10% of the customer base from a competing airline, that's a significant amount of money, especially when you consider it's not only a plus for one airline but also a minus for the other.

Even among people who do have portable devices, not everyone uses them for entertainment. I bring a laptop with me on flights, for example, but I do not have it loaded with any entertainment. At best I might bring a DVD or two, but that gets exhausted pretty quickly on a long flight. I'm not going to bother ripping DVD's; I'm going to watch what the airline has on its IFE.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:20 pm
by mandala499
Airlines are still exploring how smart PEDs are going to affect them. They realize that IFE as it is is not enough, smart PEDs as "bring your own" IFE is also not enough. Airlines are only beginning to seek how they can utilize pax's own Smart PEDs to be more effectively used as IFEs... I can't remember who, but someone's planning to provide "IFE apps downloaded to your smartphone" kind of service.

The IFE's burden is the lengthy time for it's introduction, and it's weight. However, newer IFE systems are becoming lighter and lighter, as well as faster, and cheaper...

It's still early days yet...
Those interested in the development of IFEs and SmartPEDs in the airlines should try to go to things such as the Airline Retail Conference (the last one was in London and just finished yesterday I think), and the next one is in Singapore just prior to Singapore Airshow... they talked a lot about IFE and connectivity as the new thing affecting them... then there is also the Aircraft Interior Expo in Hamburg every year (March - April), and one in Seattle (Sept-Oct)...

Those are very interesting to go to even if it's just to see what's new...

Mandala499

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:30 pm
by pylon101
I rarely watch movies while flying.
But there are great opportunities to make moving maps better - more informative and educating.
And cameras is another area to develop - better resolution/color/positioning.
I easily can imagine HD cameras in near future.
IFE will be more related to flight.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:30 pm
by phlwok
I think what you may see is a shift away from traditional IFE systems, which are heavy, require a significant capital investment, and can be difficult to "keep modern" long enough to justify their costs, to something lighter and cheaper, such as what a tablet PC such as the iPad can provide. You can load these up with TV shows, movies, games, etc.; you can also potentially accept credit card payments on them, provide VOIP services, Internet, on board text-based chat ... the possibilities are as endless as the apps people can dream up and code for them. And after a few years when the device is no longer as current or exciting as it once was, you replace the tablets, not an entire system.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:37 pm
by OA260
I still like to have PTV's on aircraft. Alot of the time its on the moving map and I also have my iPad for my films/music. Weird that they dont seem to have PTVs in Y on the new delivery. Anyone know why ?

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:49 pm
by AirNZ
Quoting cosmofly (Thread starter):
With ever increasing popularity of iPADs or similar devices, pax can bring their own entertainments

Except on a relative percentage basis how many passengers have/bring items like iPads? They always could bring their own entertainment anyhow, and long long before iPads/iPods!

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:07 pm
by DocLightning
The thing is that WiFi can be introduced in one night. And so that makes it popular. The idea of an IFE app that can only be accessed through the airline is simply a matter of software and I'm sure someone is working on it.

For an airline like WN, this allows them to introduce the fleet-wide product relatively quickly, inexpensively, and without a significant weight penalty.

But although WiFi will probably be the way of the future, there are still limitations. Satellite WiFi systems simply aren't as fast as ground-based systems, and ground-based systems take some time to install on the cell towers. Also, ground-based systems don't work so well over water. So for IFE to go away, we're going to need global WiFi coverage with a very high bandwidth. That's going to take some time, and in the mean time there will be a demand for PTV's.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:28 pm
by bjorn14
Quoting PHLwok (Reply 5):
I think what you may see is a shift away from traditional IFE systems, which are heavy, require a significant capital investment, and can be difficult to "keep modern" long enough to justify their costs

Peter Foster, CEO of Air Astana said that we will not see seat back IFEs in the next 5-8 years. He envisions an onboard server with Wifi capability and pax will just access the stuff they want through their own devices or rented ones.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:44 am
by goblin211
A lot of people bring laptops and iPads for business use and not necessarily entertainment. Remember, business traffic accounts for most of airline travel. Just because you see someone on a laptop doesn't mean they're using it for entertainment. Besides, any entertainment brought onboard can get exhausting after awhile. One will want something provided so they don't have to carry as much on board and won't have to feel obligated to entertain themselves. it can be burdensome to always having to find something to do and therefore IFE will still be around.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:32 am
by ltbewr
PED's have their limitations, including battery life and some devices have small screens. They can also break down, get damaged or you may face limited choices in programing you which you download or the way your device is set up or the country where it is based.

With IED's airlines can also control the available entertanment options. That may be critical to many airlines due to the need to recognize social, cultural, religious and political factors in their home base countries or major service areas. That may be critical to some based or serving the Islamic world or some countries like China that likes to have some control of access to the web or censure politically sensitive issues.

It can also be a service differnce vs. competition (like JetBlue does with their IFE services) and one could charge for it and make some profits. Something like $ 3-10 per flight for Coach level pax and like with cable or dish TV at home, you can pay a lower amount for a few basic channels or limited range of movies or pay more for a wider range of channels or even a 'pay per view' programing choice for newer movies or other programing, or limited web access.

I am a little doubtful about wide range use of WiFi on aircraft in flight as to any form of interference, problems with the interfacing of devices to the on board systems. I also am not sure we need everyone needing access to the web during a flight. The web presents a number of issues in it's use on an a/c from available bandwidth, that some would use it during crusing altitude continuiously for entertainment or business use, no one would get a break from their work places or families or may go to sites that may be offensive to adjacent pax and so on. .

Not that many years ago, you had only a choice of 1-2 movies and some shorts. Now on some airlines you could choose 100's of programs or 1000's of songs.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:39 am
by Cerecl
Quoting cosmofly (Thread starter):
China's newest 77W seems to have no PTV.
http://airchina.com.au/en/aboutus/ai....html

This has already been discussed here Has anyone seen the first Air China B77W yet? (by Fuling Jul 1 2011 in Civil Aviation)
The photos shown are unlikely to reflect the final product. In fact CA is refurbishing part of its fleet with improved IFE.

Quoting cosmofly (Thread starter):
With ever increasing popularity of iPADs or similar devices, pax can bring their own entertainments.

Why would they bring an extra kilo ´╝łor more in the case of laptops) of weight just to replace a service that is generally expected for long-haul in leading airlines? Additionally, not everyone has access to all the movies, music etc. offered by IFE, those who do often obtained them from illegal sources.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:48 am
by deltaflyertoo
As an owner of such devices, its a pain to "program" them. Having recently flew VX it was cool to get exposure to music I normally wouldn't be exposed to and see movies I may not know on my own. I hope IFE doesn't go away.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:56 am
by flylku
How many of you are like me and say "Most of the movies I see I see on airplanes"? I don't want to buy content to bring along - remember to bring it along - get it out and mess with it during the flight...... It is really kind of nice sometimes to just put all your junk in the overhead, forget about it, sit back, relax and watch whatever the airline available.

Doable? Yes. Desirable? To some. Will it happen on the majority of carriers? For reasons outlined by others above I suspect not.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:18 pm
by jwenting
I've never used the IFE systems and I've been flying for 35 years.
I've always brought my own entertainment. Whether it be books, a walkman, discman, magazines, or an iPod is irrelevant, people have been bringing it for decades and the IFE systems haven't gone away.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:42 pm
by BD338
I think it will be quite a while before IFE is obsolete. A lot of people don't have/don't travel with laptops or ipads. Battery life is limited, WiFi on long haul over water flights are in their very early days and last but by no means least, the bandwidth just does not support large numbers of people watching video. I am on DL flight at the moment and thought I would test out if I could watch the Tour de France via gogo. Result? A video that works for 5 seconds or so and then constantly buffers and re-sets itself. I've not had much better luck with Netflix either, and I suspect I'm one of the few actually using gogo on this particular flight.

IFE may improve and offer more options, even maybe live streaming videos from the net but I can't see it going away anytime soon.

RE: IFE Soon To Be Obsolete?

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:35 pm
by swedenflyer
I don't fly that often, but when I do get on a plane with PTVs, I tend to use those more than the PEDs I bring along. However, with more widespread use of iPads, iPods, iPhones, and all that sort of stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if more airlines started to think less about their IFE.