We recently took a trip on Song Airlines, who last year made some waves when they fitted their planes with a
Linux-based distributed in-flight multimedia system. It's kind of nice to know that such a trimmed-down airline spared
no expense on a system that, judging by its use, was obviously top-grade. And what a fine thing it is to have when you
don't have a laptop or book with you. Man, even if you do have a laptop or book, it's a pretty enticing
We dug up some information on the system for you, and we were even lucky enough to grab some shots of the system while the flight attendant staff were looking the other direction. But since we weren't about to get tackled like terrorists to get 'em, forgive us if they're not the best quality.
More about the system
Song Airlines outfitted their fleet of 36 Boeing 757 jets with Matsushita Avionics Systems (MAS) Corp.?s eFX systems, a pretty advanced all-digital networked mulitmedia/data distribution system. It apparently has a whole host of features, though some of which were not yet available on the flight we took. Those features included:
iXplor, enhanced GPS tracking with display accuracy of one square meter, moving map program with zoom capabilities and point of interest information
Network features, such as in-seat Internet connectivity, SMS/email messaging, in-flight shopping and purchase capabilities
Streamed MP3 audio via passenger-created playlists from in-flight library
Connecting gate information displayed directly (and presumably contextually) on the in-seat video monitors.
But it did have some good stuff:
24 channels of live, all-digital, DISH Network TV for free
Locally broadcast/streamed MP3 audio programming
Interactive networked trivia game
Ready for the shots?
We got a few of these shots, but this one came out the best. On the panel are the following unlabeled connections: two USB ports, contrast up/down buttons, and what appeared to be two 1/8th-inch stereo headphone jacks. Here?s what everything actually says:
Center (content area)
Two yes/no buttons
?System ready for your selection?
Seat Reset [very tempting!]
Gigabit ethernet port
Red switch on the right
IFE master power on/off
[IFE stands for in-flight entertainment]
Those of you who use Linux may recognize that pointer.
Listing of channels.
Shot of the music trivia game intro screen; sorry no in-game shots, was too busy aquiring the 3rd highest score of all time! Boo-ya! Seat 5A foreva!
Not the best in-flight GPS system (Virgin Atlantic?s is pretty hype) but pretty decent; can?t wait to see iXplor.
In case you wanted to know what happens when DISH goes out in the middle of the night due to weather conditions.
Unfortunately the streaming MP3 radio didn?t display song information, but we?re hoping they?ll hook that up sooner than later.