Live sport to be a 'game-changer' for inflight video

By David Flynn, March 5 2015
Live sport to be a 'game-changer' for inflight video

IN BRIEF | Watching live football, F1 racing and tennis at 40,000 feet is set to become the next wave in inflight entertainment (IFE), according to Panasonic Avionics.

"Two or three years from now, you’re going to see live sport just being the biggest thing onboard airplanes,” says David Bruner, the firm's VP of Global Communications Services.

"We always think of IFE being movie content and then some television shorts, but live sport is just so popular" Bruner tell Future Travel Experience.

"Last year we carried the World Cup on our Sport 24 channel and during the time we broadcast the finals, no one watched anything else but the World Cup. Even if you weren’t a big sports fan, you were watching it."

"One of the things it tells us is people want live television and they want live sports onboard the aircraft.”

Panasonic already offers live sport through its eXTV live television service (above), but Bruner says there's increasing demand to offer more than one channel dedicated to sports.

Etihad Airways has previously screened the FIFA World Cup and the final rounds of the Formula One season on selected international flights and includes Sport 24 among its roster of satellite TV channels available on Etihad's Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s fitted with Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite.

Emirates also lists Sport 24 on its Ice TV Live line-up on some Boeing 777 aircraft.

“We’re seeing probably two or three airlines per month have their very first aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi," Bruner reveals.

“If you look at January 1 2015 versus January 1 2016, you’re going to see a radically different landscape in terms of the number of airlines that have at least started their implementation."


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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 161

Virgin had this 6 years ago. Unfortunately it's gone now.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Exactly. Seemingly very few people were willing to pay for livetv.

That said the screen were tiny and the picture quality wasn't great

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Dec 2014

Total posts 25

Indeed VA and QF need to implement this on domestic sectors, especially in J class

23 Jan 2014

Total posts 11

As much as this is great, to be honest I would prefer to see more bandwidth set aside for avionics.  Specifically black boxes are so last century!  Its time that all aircraft information is streamed in real time back to the airline's HQ. I am not saying it would have stopped the MH370 tragedy but it would certainly have made the search for answers a lot easier. It would surely also make it easier for the pilots in an emergency if people on the ground could monitor all the systems in real time and feed them the information they really need. 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

Things like Question Time is more interesting then sport. Can that be live too?

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 111

How ghastly. Won't it be fun on long-haul overnight flights to have one's sleep destroyed by men watching a match and doing all that tribal hollering! I won't fly on any airline that offers live sport.

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