Hamburg, Germany | April 9, 2014– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) today announced the introduction of Panasonic HD-AUDIO™, a revolutionary audio solution for in-flight entertainment developed in collaboration with Soundchip SA, a leading supplier of wearable sound solutions.

For the first time ever passengers will be immersed into a fully digital sonic experience with seven unique features never seen before on an aircraft.

Passengers will benefit from unprecedented sound quality that is free of clicks, pops and interference, digital surround sound; a passenger-controlled equalizer; noise cancellation; Bluetooth integration with mobile phones and other devices; seat to seat, seat to ground and multi-passenger voice calls; and the ability to converse naturally with a flight attendant or other passengers without having to remove their headphones.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics, said: “We joined forces with Soundchip to rethink all aspects of our sound experience and deliver yet another leap forward for our airline customers and their passengers. Our X Series systems are renowned for their unmatched picture quality and today we are bringing that same level of innovation to sound by reinventing the audio experience.”

Mark Donaldson, CEO of Soundchip said, “In 2011, Soundchip and Panasonic recognized the need to modernize in-flight audio, and in launching Panasonic HD-AUDIO™. Today we are pleased to have brought together a remarkable solution that delivers the same sonic thrills in the air as passengers are used to on the ground.”

Panasonic HD-AUDIO™ significantly improves listening comfort by employing state-of-the-art, digital Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling (H-ANC), which is able to suppress more background noise than ever before. By combining this capability with an exciting new feature called “open-ear”, a passenger can converse naturally with a headset still in place.

By embracing an entirely digital approach, Panasonic HD-AUDIO™ offers unprecedented sound quality that is free of clicks, pops and interference. Its digital design supports the implementation of digital surround sound processing and parametric audio equalizer, which renders an immersive sound stage to provide a theatre-like listening experience.

Panasonic HD-AUDIO™ comprises a compatible headset that connects to the IFEC system via a standard USB port. Custom software installed at the seat manages the audio streaming between the headset and the in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) system’s media and telecommunications services. Passengers may adjust the way in which sound is presented through intuitive controls that are unobtrusively embedded within the touch panel’s graphical-user-interface.

Panasonic HD-AUDIO™ supports Wide Band (WB) voice telephony for seat-to-seat, seat-to-ground and multi-passenger VoIP conference calling. Call quality and speaking comfort are matched only by modern, terrestrial-based communication systems and audio levels can be intelligently configured to encourage callers to speak softly.

To assist the airline operator directly, Panasonic HD-AUDIO employs advanced algorithms to actively monitor the connected headset’s status, reporting fault conditions to the IFEC system via BITE. Updates to the system may also be implemented in software rather than requiring expensive changes to IFEC hardware.

To support the rollout of this exclusive software-headset solution, Panasonic and Soundchip will provide airline headphone manufacturers with the technology and tools needed to develop and produce their own HD-AUDIO compatible headsets.