Panasonic takes live TV to aircraft

Chris Forrester

Some US airlines have been showing live TV for years, but an in-flight TV scheme backed by SES and Boeing (‘Connexion-by-Boeing’) was dumped in 2006, with Boeing paying some $70m to SES in compensation. Now, the prospects look better.

Panasonic Avionics is backing a new TV-in-the-air system, and says it has already signed up BBC World News, al-Jazeera, Bloomberg, France 24 and EuroNews for its packages. The broadcasters will be utilising Panasonic’s eXConnect broadband system, which the technology company says is “global”.

“The Panasonic Airline Television Network will strengthen our customers’ ability to provide the best in-flight entertainment by engaging recognizable, branded content providers that appeal to a wide demographic of passengers,” said Paul Margis, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “In addition, Panasonic is excited to work with these global broadcasters as they extend their channels’ distribution to the airborne market.”

Margis added: “Our goal is to provide our customers with a compelling offering within the Panasonic Global Communications Suite. Therefore, we have structured the Panasonic Airline Television Network with the ability to add channels on a global or regional basis, depending on our customers’ specific requirements and business needs.”

There’s no news on which airlines have signed up for the ExTV service, but Panasonic say they have signed up 5 airlines which will now start installing Panasonic’s kit. Services are said to begin later this year.