In our coverage of AIX, we’ve seen a lot of OLED screens. There is a also a QLED product in the fold, with Thales offering it on their Optiq IFE seat-ends.
This is part of the AVANT Up ecosystem that Thales offers. Optiq offers a 4K high dynamic range (HDR) screen that is enabled using Samsung QLED technology to provide high picture quality plus a 50% increase in reliability and a 30% decrease in weight.
It seems that Thales has chosen Samsung’s Quantum Dot Technology (QLED). This differs from OLED as it uses semiconductor nanocrystals which can produce pure monochromatic red, green, and blue light, as opposed to OLED’s method of lighting up only the pixels you need. The seat-end devices have been developed in partnership with HARMAN, a Samsung Company.
There’s an advantage to QLED – and it doesn’t suffer from the burn-in.
The new in-seat and cabin displays have a sleek passenger-centric design focused on ergonomics and fit seamlessly into the modern cabin environment – again thinness is a thing for reducing weight in the cabin.
The Optiq screen can produce up to more than one billion colours for its display element. However, that is part of the story, as we head into connectivity. The seat end is enabled with Two Bluetooth connections and built-in Wi-Fi allows passengers to pair multiple devices simultaneously to the system.
In the example below, a Game controller is paired to the screen, which can also be connected with headphones for those who want to game at 35,000ft.
And yes, your writer tried gaming on an Xbox controller for the first time on a racing game, with minimal perceived lag when using it with the screen..
The chin bar is designed to be line-serviceable with it taking a matter of minutes to swap, rather than replacing the entire seat-end unit. It is available in a variety of sizes – 12″, 13″, 15″, 17″, 20″, 24″ and 32″
American Airlines is launching AVANT Optiq aboard the Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 fleets from 2023.
Deploying power to seat
Thales has developed a Smart Power Management system called Pulse. This delivers 350watts of power to a seat-set of four and allows for dynamic power allocation from that seat.
Pulse is designed to take advantage of the USB Power Delivery standard which laptops, phones and nearly everything with a USB-C socket is moving to. Pulse is a modular system built with smart power management that dynamically allocates power where the passengers need it.
Pulse is highly efficient while being compact, providing a 30% weight reduction, lower heat dissipation and the ability to install Pulse between the seat beams.
Combining all together with UP.
Of course, it’s not just enough to have monitors on seatbacks. The issue of storage remains. Thankfully, Thales has their Avant Up platform.
This allows for handsets and screens to be integrated into the IFE platform. The latest server on the platform can store up to 20TB of data, has Ultra High Definition encryption keys to ensure the security of content, and can support over 185 simultaneous 4K streams.
AVANT Up is Android-based (the same sort of operating that drives the Andriod compatible phones – allowing for the potential for integrating a vast selection of games and applications from the Android development community.
A QLED future?
There’s been a lot of fancy new screens being shown off at this show, with people showing off their demo products in the best condition. But we run into the usual problems of “who’s technology is best”, but also the one of content that I covered in another piece.
Simply put, you can put the fanciest seat-back monitors on a plane, but the content has to at least be watchable on it.
We’ve seen cases of this around with 1080p (HD) screens being installed and seeing 480p or worse output being delivered to the screen – negating the benefit of them being installed in the first place.
But if the content is there – there will be one winner – the passenger when they’re glued to the seat and the immersive experience such a screen gives.
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