Mobile television set to launch on board flights
Monday 12 September 2011
Consumers aboard select flights will soon be able to watch news and sports broadcasts live on their mobile devices during the journey.
Row44, the in-flight WiFi provider for airlines such as Southwest, said September 8 that it had signed a deal with several major channels to allow live internet television to be streamed to smartphones, laptops and tablets in flight.
Building on existing connectivity that allows passengers to watch news broadcasts on seat-back televisions, the service will deliver live television programming, delivered via satellite link from a network of ground stations.
The airline said that the launch partners would be BBC World News and Bloomberg Television, while FOX News, CNBC, MSNBC and VERSUS (set to be rebranded NBC Sports Network from January) will follow.
Travelers will be able to stream content to their own WiFi-enabled devices for a fee, although pricing for the service has not been confirmed.
It's the latest in a series of moves to bring streaming content to the skies - on August 30, Row44 confirmed a deal that would allow it to stream Major League Baseball on US flights, giving fans the ability to watch over 2,400 games annually in-flight.
Last month, American Airlines confirmed that its passengers would be able to access content from an on-board video library on their laptops, a partnership with Row44 competitor Gogo.
However, unlike Gogo, Row44 uses satellite connections, making its service suitable for use over water - and meaning live television could be launched in Europe, as well as the US.
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