September, 13, 2011 — easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, today announces a new partnership with Mezzo to provide in-flight personal TVs on selected flights from the UK. From this week, passengers will be able to hire in-flight personal TVs for £7.50, and will be able to select from a range of blockbuster movies, TV programmes, music and games.

Nick Hughes, easyJet’s Head of Ancillary Revenue, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Mezzo. Our in-flight offering has gone from strength to strength, and these new, easy to use personal TVs will give our passengers an even greater experience when flying with us.

Dave Sampson, Mezzo CEO, adds: “We’re really pleased be working with easyJet and are proud to offer their passengers a fantastic TV experience. We have been working on developing the Android platform for IFEC for nearly 12 months and I am excited that this is the first deployment of an android OS Tablet. Dell has been a very receptive partner, helping us to modify the software to enable us to achieve Hollywood studio approvals and manage our development of the Android platform.”

Sampson continues, “The passenger experience is a step-change from even the latest installed system: the latest touch screen supports “gestures”; there are games that make the most of motion sensors; and the near HD quality of the 5” screen means an exceptional entertainment experience.”

The lightweight device, at only 290g per unit, also sets a new benchmark for in-flight entertainment solutions for narrow-bodied jets, allowing easyJet to carry 19 personal TVs in a single drawer of its in-flight kiosk.

The objective of this article is to provide our readers a better perspective on portable IFE. To get the ball rolling, we gave a few questions to the affable Adam Williams of digEcor.

What is the current state of the portable IFE market?

The IFE industry has changed quite a bit over the last several years. Traditional systems are becoming more sophisticated and lighter. Connectivity emerged, died and is making a strong come back. And new seat centric systems are creating a lot of buzz. Portable IFE is moving right along with the market. We are experiencing evolutions in technology (in part driven by consumer electronics) and continuing to fill a large need that seat back systems do not fill due to cost, age of aircraft, and the needs of specific routes. Of the approximately 13,500 commercial aircraft in service today, only about 6,000 are being serviced by traditional systems. In the last 12 months, we have literally sold 1,000’s of digEplayer L7’s. That didn’t happen because our market is softening.

What future developments might impact the portable IFE market?

There are two trends that will have an impact on portable IFE – consumer electronic devices and connectivity. The experience that passengers have on the ground with their own devices sets the expectations for the in-flight entertainment experience, and that’s not unique to handhelds. So companies like Apple and Google are setting a standard. The standard, though, is not having a huge impact on IFE rental and use rates. Many passengers still prefer to use the in-flight system rather than a personal device (for reasons such as battery life and content availability). I heard someone say today, “My phone is capable of playing music. But I still have a stereo in my home.”

With connectivity in the picture, you have to wonder if IFE, handheld or otherwise, still makes sense. To date, the data shows that connectivity uptake rates remain low. What connectivity does offer though, is the ability to increase the functionality and profitability of a handheld offering. For example, you can now transact in real time (15% of flyers get on a plane hoping to rent a car once they land) and serve targeted advertisements. So coupling connectivity with a handheld system strengthens the offering to passengers.

Are there any new software products for the portable IFE market?

Consumer operating systems, such as Android, are seeing some penetration in concept, but no one is flying it yet. Most new software products are in the form of applications that enhance the functionality of the device and ancillary revenue opportunities (such as shopping, destination guides, etc).

How important is connectivity to the portable IFE market?

Connectivity is a big opportunity to bring new applications and revenue streams to portable devices. The connection is an enabler, not the detractor some feared.

What software products are most used on portable IFE and do you see a change in the near future (ie games, movies, email)?

I think a lot of us in the industry love thinking outside of the box and creating new applications and services. Though our experience shows that the number one thing people want to do with IFE is just watch movies. It’s like buying a smartphone these days. When my wife and I got ours last Fall, we looked at all of the cool features and applications that we can download. Though we had to stop and evaluate each device on one core question – how easy is it to make a phone call? We walked away from some phones because making a phone call wasn’t easy. IFE should first and foremost make watching a high-quality movie easy.

Does portable IFE have a bright future and if so why, if not, why?

Admittedly, there is a lot of innovation and shifting going on in the market today. However, portables are designed to address specific market needs. Those needs, like IFE in business class on just a select few routes, are not going away in the foreseeable future. So portables will continue to have a place in the market.

What do airlines think about the programming, charging, and managing portable handout? Is this about to change?

There are obviously logistical needs that are unique to portables. Changing content, charging batteries, and cleaning players has an operational impact, just as would the introduction of any other system to an aircraft. Fortunately, we have years of experience in managing this process. So we are able to limit that impact by working with the airline and airline partners. Also, we are constantly working to make these processes faster and easier.


I love them.

What is the impact to portable IFE fostered by the rise in handheld tablets?

Handheld tablets have three direct impacts on portable IFE. First, they are setting a standard and passenger expectation. Second, IFE providers have to consider the popularity and developer support communities that exist around consumer operating systems and applications. And third, tablets are replacing portable IFE in some situations (e.g. American Airlines). The buzz around tablet devices is a strong enticer. Our experience with airlines is that there is interest from a an airline marketing standpoint but the operational inefficiencies from tablet PCs usually dissuade airlines. However, there will always be the American Airlines and Jetstars of the world that want to take on those issues hoping for a return in other areas. And I understand and respect that decision. So we, as IFE providers, simply need to be ready to help address the issues that tablets inherently bring with them.

About the time we asked Adam to comment on the portable market, American Airlines announced that they were planning to use a Samsung, Android-based tablet for their upper class in-flight entertainment. Therefore, we contacted Michael Childers (IFE industry consultant) about Android OS-based portables and he told IFExpress: “I believe that the significance of American Airlines’ selection of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is in the choice of platform more so than the device. The Android open source platform stands in marked contrast to the Apple iOS proprietary platform. Basing a product line on an operating system rather than on a specific device seems to have much greater potential, as does using open source rather than proprietary technology.”

He also noted, “The Android operating system is based on Linux, and is the world’s best-selling Smartphone platform.  The Android operating system has ostensibly found its way into IFE product announcements by Thales and Panasonic last year at the APEX Conference. If for no other reason than for the difference between the proprietary iOS platform and the Android open source platform, I believe that the Android-based offering will enjoy greater success in the IFE space than iPads.”

“Another restricting factor of the iPad and iOS platform is in Apple’s business model. Even though they’ve made some recent modifications, Apple architected its iTunes content ingestion path to support a model in which Apple participates in the content revenue stream. Some content providers have deals in place with Apple for the sale of content to consumers through iTunes that restricts them from providing content to an iPad by a means that bypasses iTunes ingestion. With no such restrictions limiting the Android OS, and with an open source versus proprietary infrastructure, it seems to me that Android devices will assume the position in IFE that many thought the iPad would.”

Another industry observer, who wished to remain anonymous, offered this comment: “My strong feeling is that OS-based solutions make more sense than device-based solutions, and open source platforms are much easier to deal with than proprietary platforms. I’ve always had reservations about iPads in IFE for these kinds of reasons. As you know, one airline announced 15 months ago that it would board iPads and trialed them a year ago. By the time that the device was re-purposed, however, iPad 2 had been released. The airline changed its plans to release the iPad 2, but it still isn’t deployed. In another two or three months, according to reports, the iPad 3 will be coming out. If it takes three generations to re-purpose the device for IFE, what’s the point!” (Editor’s Note: As far as we know, there is not consensus from the movie studios on the issue of hosting early window content on a closed operating system.)

Symonty Gresham of SymonTek made the following comments when queried on this subject: “The continued trials of custom loaded “off the shelf” tablet devices (iPad and Android based) marks a significant departure from the traditional IFE model. It not only reduces the reliance of specialized avionics equipment it is a fundamental shift for airlines to take on direct responsibility of the entertainment quality in the cabin. It is also a call to action to the suppliers of both equipment and content to prove their worth in a changing environment, where the passenger gets what they want and the airline relinquishes some of the “duty of care” of the total experience, in favor of the cost saving in an of the shelf offering.The greatest drawbacks are in-compatibility of the aircraft environment/process and the rapidly changing consumer electronics product range/standards and the reduced control airlines will have over the entire experience but these maybe trumped by the sheer reduction in cost.”

Lastly, on a mostly unrelated topic: Our old friend Neil Morgan is looking for a new challenge. Anyone seeking an experienced IFE Sales and Marketing man should contact him on

Don’t Forget: Aircraft Interiors Expo – Hamburg, Germany, April 5 – 7

We thought our readers might want a peek into some new IFE products at next week’s AIX, so we contacted a few friends and sponsors and asked -What’s new? Here are a few of the responses we got back:

1.Company Name: The IMS Company
2. Booth Number: 6B10
3. Product Lines: AVOD System, Portable Media Players, Wireless Data and Content Delivery System
4. Show Highlights: Certified InFlight Entertainment – RAVE is the latest innovation in Audio/Video On Demand, offering a simple system architecture and providing the highest reliability of any in-seat design. RAVE – We currently have five customer programs, of which two were recently announced for Air Berlin and SriLankan Airlines. More announcement are scheduled for release before and during the show. Portables – EDGE is the hottest portable media player on the market, featuring various size displays, sleek new designs and a 24-hour battery. Content and Data Services – Our 4th-generation Terminal Data Loader provides the latest technology for fast loading of digital IFE content and automatic bi-directional distribution of critical data.
5. Contact Information: Harry Gray, V.P. Sales & Marketing; +1(714) 854-8633;

1.Company Name: Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems
2. Booth Number: 6D30
3. Product Line(s): In-flight Entertainment Products
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights:
Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), the world leader of in-seat power systems, continues to experience increasing demand for its EmPower® products as more and more passengers carry onboard a multitude of powered devices. The continued growth and installations of Wi-Fi on aircraft has increased the demand even more. Most airlines installing new data services on their aircraft are also installing in-seat power and in most cases, in all classes of service. In support of this demand, Astronics has responded with their latest industry leading EmPower® in-seat power system which produces up to an industry leading 200VA for each passenger. This cutting edge system also includes a Universal Serial Bus (USB) power output for passenger devices such as smart phones, iPods, cameras, and other standard +5 Volt DC devices. This is all accomplished in a smaller form factor than previous generations of the industry leading EmPower® product line.
Astronics’ AES patented power management and control technologies are key to the success of providing passengers with PED power, IFE, and connectivity solutions scalable on any aircraft platform. Stop by booth 6D30 to view the full line of in-seat power and intelligent power solution products on display.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: LeAnn Hurst, (425) 702-4943 or

1. Company Name: Goodrich
Website: Goodrich Interiors
2. Booth Number: 6G84
3. Product Line(s): Head End Video and Audio File Servers
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: None Provided
5. Contact Information for Appointments:

1. Company Name: THALES
2. Booth Number: 6B20
3. Product Line(s): Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Systems and Services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Thales will unveil its next generation TopSeries System architecture, feature product installations in B/E, Weber, Recaro, and Contour seats, introduce a new App store for the award winning Touch Passenger Control Unit, and show the latest in connectivity solutions.
5. Contact Information for Appointments:

1. Company Name: VT Miltope
2. Booth Number: 6G35
3. Product Line(s): Aviation network products
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Miltope’s family of network products offer the required functionality necessary to create custom airborne networks similar to how office networks are created. Designed to be readily expanded, they may be configured to define a network that optimizes the combination of interfaces and computing resources to meet the operational, spatial, and functional requirements of simple to complex airborne networks at a minimum cost. Products include servers, Ethernet switches and routers, 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless access points, TWLU wireless bridging from an aircraft LAN to a ground LAN, ARINC 744 network printers and ARINC740 cockpit printer, cabin control panels, and data storage devices.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Markus Gilges Tel: +44 7793 758755, Email:

1. Company Name: digEcor, Inc.
2. Booth Number: #6B1
3. Product Line(s): digEplayer L Series, digEplayer XT, handheld and overhead content, ancillary revenue services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: We will be showing the digEplayer L7, which has launched on seven airlines since it’s release last summer, and available support equipment, to include the streamlined, plug-n-play content update station. We will also be showcasing, for the first time, a completely redesigned and modernized user interface that takes advantage of the sensitive touch screen available on the L7.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Adam Williams,, 1-801-489-2031

1. Company Name: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies
2. Booth Number: 6B40
3. Product Line(s): Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of high-performance cable including fiber; RF/Microwave, specialty and filtered connectors; cable assemblies; complex harnesses; integrated installation kits and ARINC trays; racks and shelf assemblies, and offers engineering and certification services with DER, DAR, and DMIR personnel on staff.
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is proud to introduce our LITEflight™ Optical HD (high density) cable and assembly solution to support the next generation of bandwidth hungry applications. Visit our booth to see the a demo of how capable CarlisleIT’s fiber is handling in some of the most extreme routing and clamping tests from a company that terminates more fiber optic cable than anyone else in the world.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Kris Samuelson 011 253 318 0768

1. Company Name: Lumexis
2. Booth Number: 6H40
3. Product Line(s): Fiber Optic IFE System
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Lumexis is introducing its new line of HD “sleek-look” seatback monitors for its Fiber to the Screen® IFE system. The family consists of 8.9”, 12.1”, and 15.4” LCDs that are all without bezel and flush with the seatback installation. All the sleek line monitors are LED-backlit, 16:9 format with true 720P HD at each seat simultaneously with Projected Capacitive touchscreens. The new monitors are available with an interface panel on the bottom with audio headset jack, USB port, credit card swipe and PSS buttons (for widebody aircraft), or the interfaces can be mounted separately per the airlines choice of location.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Don Sathern or cell: 949 861 0733

1. Company Name: Panasonic Avionics
2. Booth Number: 6F15
3. Product Line(s): In-Flight Entertainment and Communications Solutions and Maintenance Services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Panasonic Avionics is set to unveil its 10th generation IFEC solution at AIX. The company will also unveil its latest solutions that offer native amazing passenger experience, a lower total cost of ownership, broadband connectivity, a true business platform, open platform architectures, uncompromising industrial design, and an advanced media strategy.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Please stop by the Panasonic Avionics booth to arrange for a booth tour.

PlaneBill, the Android App developer, will be in the Triagnosys Booth and Massimo sent along his brochure on Mobile Applications for Passengers. Yes that’s right, we expect to see passenger apps on IFE in the very near future.

Public Service Announcement: For our Wi-Fi equipped friends and show-goers, there is a free Internet zone on the exhibition floor and it is located in Hall B7 Stand A10.

Passengers will be able to rent the popular entertainment console on Swedish airline’s flights after distribution agreement with leading travel entertainment provider.

Knutsford, Cheshire, UK. August 17, 2010 – IFE Services, a leading travel entertainment provider, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Viking Airlines UK to supply it with the PlayStation ®Portable (PSP®).

The agreement means that passengers on selected Viking Airlines flights will be able to rent one of the world’s most popular and best-selling hand-held entertainment consoles. Every PSP® comes pre-loaded with a variety of Hollywood movies and some of the latest PSP® video games.

“Viking Airlines UK is proud to be going into partnership with IFE Services to launch the Sony PSP® handheld entertainment console on flights,” said Gary Oakes, Viking UK’s In-flight Services and Equipment Executive. “Passengers will have the option of watching great movies or playing the latest video games at an affordable price.”

The PSP system has a high-resolution, widescreen TFT display and a sleek, lightweight design. To provide an enhanced experience to passengers, the PSP® systems will be equipped with an extended battery life offering up to 11 hours while playing games. IFE Services provides comprehensive crew training and full logistical support and can tailor, load and refresh content to suit airline requirements.

“We are very pleased to be helping Viking Airlines UK deliver innovative entertainment solutions to their customers,” said Mark Hogg, CEO of IFE Services. “We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with them.”

To date IFE Services has signed PSP® distribution deals with eight airlines and advanced negotiations are currently ongoing with several more.

SAN DIEGO, CA, June 22, 2010 – e.Digital Corporation (OTC: EDIG), a leading innovator of dedicated portable entertainment systems and patented flash memory-related technology, announced today the delivery of eVU™ portable in flight entertainment (IFE) systems pursuant to an initial eVU systems and services order from SriLankan Airlines. To date, more than 30 airlines have made dedicated portable systems powered by e.Digital technology their in flight entertainment choice.

As the national air carrier of Sri Lanka, SriLankan Airlines serves 49 destinations in 31 countries in Europe, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and the Far East. Major destinations for SriLankan Airlines modern all Airbus fleet include London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, and Dubai.

e.Digital’s proprietary studio-approved eVU portable entertainment system features a multi-language, customizable, passenger-friendly interface and an industry-leading 20+ hours of continuous video playback from a single battery charge. eVU is available in both 7″ and 8″ high resolution LCD screens with 160 GB to 200 GB of rugged and reliable storage for many hours of movies, television shows, music, specialty programming and games. eVU is the most reliable dedicated long play portable IFE product available today and integrates the latest in battery safety features through its removable “Smart” rechargeable high capacity battery pack.

“We chose e.Digital because of their reputation of providing a rugged, high quality IFE product and excellent customer service,” said Capt. Milinda Ratnayake, Head of Service Delivery, SriLankan Airlines.

“We welcome SriLankan Airlines as the newest eVU customer and the first airline to exclusively use our touch screen systems,” remarked Fred Falk, president and CEO of e.Digital. “We’re pleased that after their thorough evaluation, SriLankan Airlines selected our eVU systems and services over other portable IFE offerings for their passenger entertainment.”