Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has learned that the Qatar Airways has become the latest airline to offer live digital satellite TV on flights.
The first five Airbus A330 aircraft on the Middle East Europe flights have been equipped with the new Rockwell Collins Tailwind 560 satellite television system with moveable multi-directional parabolic antenna.
Partner distributor of the TV programming is Showtime Arabia.
Passengers have a choice of one set of TV programming in Arabic and another in English.
TV Channel selection depends on satellite used. In the Middle East, passengers have access to Al Jazeera, BBC World, EuroNews, CNN International, TV5, EuroSport News, MBC and Disney Channel. Within the European region, channels available are Al Jazeera, BBC World, EuroNews, CNN International, TV5, EuroSport 2, Future TV and Bloomberg. Essentially, coverage should be smooth moving between satellites giving uninterrupted viewing as flights pass from Middle Eastern into European airspace and vice versa.
By the end of the year, 14 Qatar Airways aircraft, including the airline’s brand new Airbus A340-60 will have been equipped with the new Rockwell Collins satellite television system.
By the end of 2007, all of Qatar Airways aircraft will be equipped with the Satellite TV system. Qatar Airways’ entertainment system onboard its widebody A330 fleet is fully interactive offering Audio Video On-Demand which gives passengers greater viewing and listening options.
Qatar Airways, based in Dubai is among an elite group of international airlines ranked with a Five Star status for service and excellence by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Qatar Airways is also one of the fastest growing carriers. It plans to more than double its fleet size to 110 aircraft by 2015.
**The first airline believed to have introduced live satellite TV was JetBlue Airways in 2000. The US low cost airline owns LiveTV, an innovative provider of in-flight entertainment products and services such as DIRECTV, Bell ExpressVu, XM Satellite Radio, wireless aircraft data link services, Digital Servers for stored content, and cabin surveillance systems for commercial aircraft. (http:www.livetvifs.com).
Last year, LiveTV contracted with Virgin Blue Airlines to provide in- flight satellite television on the Australian low-fare carrier's fleet. There is a choice of 24 FOXTEL and AUSTAR channels of satellite programming at every seatback.
LiveTV is shortly to install LiveTV satellite TV systems on aircraft of Italy's low cost airline, Air One. From 4Q 2006, Air One passengers will be offered an array of Italian language channels.