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The Next Big Thing in In-Flight Entertainment

The Next Big Thing in In-Flight Entertainment
Jennifer Billock

Big screens have finally found their way to the back of airplane seats with Digital Sky.

Soon, big-screen TV lovers will be able to enjoy a spacious screen on the seatback in front of them while flying. The company Thales just debuted a prototype of its Digital Sky system, a 21-inch touchscreen in-flight entertainment panel. It was spotted this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg by blogger The Points Guy. And yes, budget travelers, this is planned for economy seats as well.

The screens are set in portrait orientation due to the size, which may be frustrating for some video viewers. But with that set-up, the screens are able to easily display things like magazines and games.

Pictures of the screens show them taking up the majority of the seatback, leaving little room for fold out trays—although they are still there, just perhaps smaller or lower than average.

As of right now, no airlines are contracted to install the product, but The Points Guy said interest at the Expo was high.

Engadget does note, though, that more airlines than ever are moving to a streaming bring-your-own-device platform (like Qantas, who hands out iPads to passengers), so that may cause some healthy competition with Digital Sky. But since the seatback screens will be so big, it may trump the handheld device trend because flyers can see and do a lot more on a big screen.

[Photo via The Points Guy]

View Comments (6)


  1. danielchee

    April 7, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Slim chance it’ll show up on any US carrier unless they’re in J or F.

  2. ioto1902

    April 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

    no need to have super big screen if seat pitch is reduced …

  3. cestmoi123

    April 7, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Engadget’s right – the days of putting in large numbers of heavy, expensive, complex screens into airplane seats are coming to an end. Provide power and wifi, and customers will bring their own screens.

  4. c502cid

    April 7, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Not to mention that touch screens that people push on instead of touching become annoying fast…to the person in front of you

  5. djjaguar64

    April 10, 2016 at 5:00 am

    I want a comfortable seat with a good recline and a reasonable seat pitch. I don’t care about the screens.

  6. lufthansaa340

    June 12, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Hmm… this is pretty much the exact opposite of AA’s IFE screens in Eco on the non retrofitted 772’s.

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