Whilst short-haul flying for some is a case of point A to B, for others, there’s still a lot to enjoy from the flying experience – and ATR with Cabinstream technology think this would work well with an In-Flight Entertainment System for passengers.
Cabinstream is a streaming IFE solution developed in partnership with Phitek. The device weighs in 6kg, made up of a server, a swappable battery, designed to be stored in an overhead bin. The server itself does not have to be wired to the plane, making it an easy installed.
AfriJet of Gabon will be the first customer of the portable IFE system.
The device delivers Movies, TV Programmes, documents, flight information from the server to devices. The device hand handle 70 streams at once, with up to 50 streams delivering High Definition content.
The battery lasts up to 12 hours before it needs to be recharged.
Of course, since there’s no wired connection to the plane (or in the case of most ATR aircraft – an on-top raydome), the device will not provision internet access. Content can be uploaded via HDMI or USB.
With some ATR carriers using planes for missions over two hours – and maybe longer – provisioning an IFE system that is easy to implement and use is a priority for those carriers flying the long segments.
But what is it like to use? After the product launch, I sat down at the stand to have a play of CabinStream.
It was easy to locate in a very Wi-Fi heavy zone
Connected to the platform, the splash screen popped up, and I could navigate the content with ease.
The system itself was very stable, with no drops in use. The video quality when rendered on an iPhone 8 appeared to be very acceptable – so for those using larger devices, it should offer a reasonable experience. The User Experience parts need some finessing (the lack of a back button was… annoying), but otherwise – the system seemed mostly complete and ready for use.
Whilst IFE on an ATR doesn’t even bear thinking about in a lot of cases (for a lot of the regional hops, it’s a 6kg system in the overhead bin). However with longer mission profiles and multi-stop missions, an IFE device like this can provide distraction in the cabin, when the only IFE is the safety card, a dog-eared magazine and the outside world.
As for the airline, the value added services that can be offered from this system are worth thinking about.
CabinStream is due to fly by the end of the year with Gabon based Afrijet. The airframer is also working with other carriers to bring this IFE device to their planes.
Economy Class and Beyond was a guest of ATR at the launch of CabinStream.
We’re continuing look back at Aircraft Interiors Expo with things that caught my eye – or things that deserves more than the cursory quick post from the floor of the exhibition
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