Digital Sky

Thales goes big on IFE with "portrait" screen

HAMBURG - Thales went big on IFE during this year`s Aircraft Interiors Expo. The French company brought its 21.3 inch high-res "Digital Sky" seatback screen to Hamburg. The prototype abandons conventional 16:9 IFE wide-screen dimensions in favor of a lavish portrait screen - the future of Economy airtravel?

17.2 inches high and 12.1 inches wide the Thales display tests the limits of what can fit into an Economy seatback.

Comparable to smartphone proportions, the long screen envisions more than three million pixels to display several entertainment options at once - while watching a movie you may browse through apps or the web. Talk about passenger engagement.

Thales Digital Sky
Thales Digital Sky, © Thales
"Digital Sky was created to increase passenger engagement and change the way we fly in Economy and Premium Economy classes", Thales says. The system will be available to airlines from 2019. The sheer size of "Digital Sky" may create an unknown experience for Economy passengers on long-haul flights.

Innovation is overdue in rear cabins, according to industry experts. "Something in Economy" will be the next big thing in passenger experience, Blake Emery, the long-term Boeing executive for cabin and product differentiation, told us at the sidelines of AIX16.

As airlines squeeze Economy legroom, an immersive screen to display quality IFE content might compensate passengers and even be a strong selling point for airlines.

Thales` approach seemed to resonate well with the AIX audience, but the "big" question remains, whether the 2020 Economy passenger generation will prefer a massive touchscreen and its feats over PED-based  - or even VR - entertainment systems. If so, other IFE providers are bound to follow Thales` lead.
© | Abb.: Thales | Apr 21, 2016 11:01

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