Joins Lufthansa, airberlin, and others as momentum for seat-centric IFE builds at APEX

Seattle, WA | September 13, 2011 —At the opening of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Conference today in Seattle, the adoption of “seat-centric” IFE continues to increase as Southern California-based The IMS Company announced this morning that Air Tahiti Nui has chosen its RAVE™ inflight entertainment system for its fleet of four A340 aircraft.

The order increases The IMS Company’s RAVE™ backlog to more than 65 aircraft, a number that more than doubles should all of the airline options for the system be exercised. Six other airlines opting for RAVE™ include airberlin, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines and SriLankan Airlines, with additional announcements expected during the Conference.
Every seat in the two-class configuration of Air Tahiti Nui’s A340s will have a RAVE™ screen, according to Harry Gray, vice president sales and marketing at The IMS Company said. The airline will use 12-inch high definition touch screen displays in Business Class and 9-inch high definition touch screen displays in Economy.

“As a leisure airline, Air Tahiti Nui is happy to finally step into the AVOD world and to share with its customers the best of what today’s inflight entertainment systems have to offer,” said Nick Panza, vice president sales and marketing, USA, for Air Tahiti Nui. “After a thorough study, the IMS RAVE system proved to be the best solution for us to provide a wider range of inflight entertainment options to travelers while significantly reducing our maintenance costs and the weight carried on board. The renovation of our fleet is an important step to ensure the competitiveness of our product. Air Tahiti Nui will be proud to present soon its new bi-class cabins offering 32 business lie-flat seats and 264 ergonomic coach seats. The typical Polynesian look and feel of our airline combined with the possibilities offered by RAVE will enhance the exclusive Tahitian hospitality that only Air Tahiti Nui can offer to make long-haul flights to Tahiti become a truly enjoyable part of the trip.”
RAVE™ is a new concept in inflight entertainment that improves upon traditional inflight entertainment systems by leveraging the best attributes of traditional AVOD systems with the characteristics of portable-player IFE. The concept is gaining considerable traction in the inflight entertainment industry.

The seat-centric inflight entertainment system differs from traditional “server-centric” systems in that each seatback display unit (SDU) contains all of the content, applications and playback functionality to provide the passenger with audio and video on demand—just like portable solutions. Unlike the server-centric model, which stores content in large disk arrays, RAVE stores content locally at each SDU. In this innovative system architecture, the unit in the seat does not depend on large, complex networks and media servers to stream content. Any anomaly on a server-centric network can cause the entire inflight entertainment system to fail, or at least some number of seats in a zone served by a variety of distribution boxes. But RAVE’s autonomous SDUs avoid the “single point of failure” scenario.

In RAVE’s architecture the system control unit (SCU) provides the interface to the aircraft Passenger Service System. It performs bulk content loads in the background while the current content is played back to the passenger. The SCU also distributes video in real-time such as safety videos and boarding music via the fault tolerant gigabit Ethernet cabin network. But the locally-stored content at each seat is never subject to network failure.

The simplified network eliminates seat-boxes and provides slim, light-weight, low-power seat displays. The system is lighter and more reliable than traditional inflight entertainment systems and costs far less.

The high-definition display SDUs with touch screens are fully interchangeable and easily replaced by a flight attendant in the event of service failure with no impact on any other seat. The SDU storage is solid state and the capacity is defined by each airline to fit its content strategy. The SDUs are easily upgradeable—up to 4 Terabytes—to meet the needs of each airline as its content requirements expand. The SCU has up to 12 Terabytes of storage capacity.

RAVE™ gives The IMS Company an opportunity to apply more than 15 years’ experience providing IFE expertise to others by way of engineering services support to its own fully certified AVOD product with a system architecture that reflects its positive experience as the industry leader in portable media solutions.