At a recent IFEC show IFExpress was standing in front of an incredible 65” inch  display, watching camera footage of a verdant forest scene. While standing there we commented to a person next to us on how incredibly real in color and depth the video was – we even noted that one could see the live insects. Without missing a beat, the fellow watching too said, “Yes, but I will tell you, I would rather watch the bugs, than be there with them!”

The 4k video display we were watching was a new product from Aircraft Cabin Systems who appear to be on the cutting edge of display density. When we asked Richie Sugimoto, President, he noted: “The design concept is a first in the IFE industry and offers customized, input / output modules allowing for functionality with a variety of IFE systems.  ACS can provide the customer the monitor size they want, complete with the video inputs needed without building a special unit.” Two things we did not realize – ACS offers 9 sizes of Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K displays (27”, 32”, 40”, 43”, 50”, 55”, 58”, 65”, 75”) and they have “customizable input/output modules allowing for functionality with a wide variety of IFE systems.” Here is why the displays are so flexible and applicable to aircraft: “It Integrates with your existing HD IFE system for a UHD viewing experience, Supports up-scaling: From standard 1080p HD to 4K UHD,  Various sizes from 27” – 75” monitors, Standard modular input-modules include: HDMI / SDI (6G) / Component – Composite, Customizable video / control ports also available, Supports Variable Wide Frequency power input, Monitor orientation: Mount from top or bottom, Designed for bulkhead or credenza mounting, Quiet, convection cooled system.”

Next, we asked the ACS Team about the new product and they told IFExpress: “ACS is currently developing the market’s first 4K UHD Modular Monitor which will offer customized, modular video inputs & control ports. The modular design concept is unique. The design allows customers to integrate to their existing HD IFE system for a UHD viewing experience. The design also supports upscaling, from the 1080P Full HD to 4K Ultra HD. The process is easy. The customer selects the 4K monitor size they require. There are 9 sizes to select from. While the 40” or larger sizes will ostensibly be the most popular, the sizes range from 27” up to a grand 75”. The customer will then select the input(s) required.  Input selections include: HDMI, SDI (6G) or Composite/Component. Depending on the monitor size, each monitor can support 2 or 3 internal modules. Both the HDMI & SDI (6G) modules include two inputs and one output each. The Composite/Component module includes one Composite input and one Component input only. As customer requirements often mandate multiple and unique inputs, this modular approach will allow ACS to assemble a qualified monitor meeting the customer-required requirements in short order.  All monitors will be provided with qualification test documentation meeting the testing standards of DO-160G & DO-313.”

ACS also noted:Most interest has been from the VVIP market place as they are looking for the latest, most advanced picture quality they can have in their aircraft. The product is still in the test phase while ACS finishes the qualification testing.” They went on to say: “The design concept is a first in the IFE industry and offers customized, input / output modules allowing for functionality with a variety of IFE systems. ACS can provide the customer the monitor size they want, complete with the video inputs needed without building a special unit.”

Further, we asked about the modular inputs and ACS noted: “While the inputs are fixed, the modular design allows the customer to select their inputs of choice allowing ACS to then assemble a monitor meeting their unique requirements. Note: The modular design is available in a variety of sizes. The standard modular input-modules include: HDMI / SDI (6G) / Component -Composite.” They went on: “The 75” 4k UHD monitor is the world’s largest inflight monitor. Even given this large size, there is great interest in the marketplace. All monitors will be provided with a C of C, complete with DO-160 testing documentation. When possible, ACS will work with customers and their STC program to help secure PMA certification as needed.”

Lastly, they told IFExpress: Be sure to see ACS and their new Modular Monitor at the upcoming NBAA show, booth # N1517. The show will be in Las Vegas this year, from October 10th – 12th.”

Checkout their 4K Brochure

(Editor’s Note: In case you wondered, UHD 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) has twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). Given the number of pixels in 4K, it is hard to describe the depth and clarity of the ACS displays. Be sure at the next show you attend that you check out anything 4k!)

Other News

  • It looks like Boeing came away from the 2017 Paris Air Show the winner over Airbus with 147 (net) orders and commitments for 571 aircraft ($74 Billion) thanks to the B737MAX (147 new orders for the B737MAX 10 and the B787 Dreamliner (214 conversions to the MAX 10 from other models). Airbus snagged 326 orders worth some $40 Billion. Further in the wide-body world, they snagged orders worth $3.6 Billion (with MOU’s for an additional $2.3 Billion). Noted John Leahy, COO: “Our commercial success this week at Paris extends our already diversified order backlog to a new industry record of over 6,800 aircraft, with 326 orders worth $40 billion.”
  • Also, if you think the future is full of giant 4 engine jets, you might think again. Boeing, for example has dropped the 4 engine aircraft from it’s annual forecast. Obviously the efficient twin engine jets like B787 and the future B777X are the twins of future flights. And when the next B797 (or whatever it is called) comes along in the 2020-2025 time frame, Boeing and Airbus just may be heading out of the commercial 4 engine planes. Interestingly, Airbus hasn’t scored any new orders for an A380 in more than a year. Further, Boeing has warned that the B747-8 may be on the way out. Both Boeing and Airbus have been watching the demand drop for the big ones as smaller planes gain range and increased capacity. Bigger may not be better!
  • Want to read a good article on connectivity payment modeling: GCA Link June 2017 – Business Models Evolve with New IFEC Technology | Avionics Digital Edition
  • If you think airplane air is bad for you, there may be one low oxygen condition that helps you adjust to a time zone change. We know, we all believed that just the opposite was the case, but we all may be wrong! Here is the test information results from a study as reported in Science Magazine (website): “Abramovich et al observed daily cycles in the concentration of oxygen in blood and tissues of mice kept on a normal light-dark cycle. These variations were sufficient to alter the abundance of the transcription factor HIF1α (hypoxia-inducible factor 1α). In cultured cells, changes in oxygen concentration could entrain the circadian clock only if HIF1α was present. When animals were subjected to a 6-hour change in the light cycle (like traveling eastward on a jet), animals kept in a low concentration of oxygen adapted more quickly.” We thought that airplanes had a reduced oxygen content inflight, so why don’t we feel better? Perhaps we need less oxygen – sure!

When we saw the Aircraft Cabin Systems 52” LCD display, the only thought that came to mind was a saying attributed to US President, Calvin Cooledge, when he was asked to fund an air force – “Why don’t we buy one airplane and let the pilots take turns flying it.” Along the same train of thought, we asked why more airlines don’t install one big screen and let passengers watch it as they do in their own homes (Ok, almost)? For one thing, there are few, if any, aircraft certified IFE HD video players and displays available. Another is the availability of qualified networks to deliver the programming (watch Lumexis on this one). Goodrich (TEAC) showed a preproduction video player at the last WAEA Conference, it looks like Yukio Sugimoto’s ACS has the biggest, certified, video display available – 52 inches. We should note that US airlines like Delta use 32” screens as bulkhead monitors, but our focus today is big screen, HD, digital TV!

The screen on the ACS 47″ model is big, REALLY big! In use on Saudi Arabian Airlines B777 aircraft, the unit supplies overhead video to over 100 passengers in coach. In fact, as screens get this big, MPEG 1 signal sources are pushed to their limit. Standard Definition 480p images are really a baseline for good big screen television but as passengers watch HD 720p on digital televisions in their home, expect a demand for higher definition sources, higher bandwidth networks, and big screens. You can imagine how the owner of a $50 million bizjet feels when he has only small screen NTSC or PAL video. The problem is there are very few suppliers with aircraft certified Large Screen displays and none that push the 50” size…except ACS, that is. You can imagine the difficulty even finding a shake table to test the vibration specifications or vacuum chamber able to accommodate a decompression test for the 8,000 foot altitude pressure dump to 35,000 feet equivalent air pressure. These units are not cheap, but if you consider that a big screen can cost the equivalent of the expense of the IFE equipment outlay for less than that of an installed row of seats, it is a pretty good deal. Add in the weight savings for wiring, hardware and power and you have an interesting trade study. Just wait, this solution is on it’s way, first with bizjets and Very VIP aircraft and finally to the commercial aircraft space. And by the way, we have it on good authority that there is a 60″+ unit in the works! You can find ACS at

Rumor Central: Last week, if you remember, we broke the story about AeroMobile being in “administration”. We do know the administrators were shopping the assets around London. To refresh your memory, AeroMobile was originally a 50/50 joint venture of ARINC and Telenor. But since then Telenor has bought up more and more of ARINC’s interest and now owns 98.88%. ARINC holds 0.12% but has basically dropped out of the project. It is possible they could stand there and watch Telenor buy their own 99% and negotiate for better terms, but why wouldn’t Panasonic want to gain leverage? Remember, AeroMobile is connected at the hip to the Panasonic worldwide connectivity initiative. So doesn’t it seem logical that the IFE top dog should be in on the bidding war? We think so but the bidders are not talking. The product is very important to Panasonic. We would be surprised if they sat back and let OnAir walk away with it. It will be interesting. We guess we are saying one should not be surprised to find the Brunnerites in the airborne calling business!