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 momentum behind “seat-centric” IFE grows unabated as Southern California-based The IMS Company announced this morning that Canadian carrier Air Transat has chosen its RAVE™ inflight entertainment system for its fleet of 12 A330 aircraft.

The order increases The IMS Company’s RAVE™ backlog to more than 60 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.

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.