June 14 2022  |  Inflight Entertainment

Panasonic gives first look at Astrova IFE

By Rick Lundstrom

Astrova in the full-bar setback

Hamburg — In an early-morning press conference today, Panasonic Avionics Corporation pulled back the veil on a super-thin entertainment seat-end system called Astrova.

The vivid lightweight OLED system is seven millimeters thick and comes in four screen sizes: 13, 16, 18 and 22 inches. In what company officials say is an industry first Astrova will be equipped with 67-Watts of USB-C power to fast-charge passenger devices including notebooks and laptops. Passengers operate the system with an easy-to-install bar below the screen. Astrova is also designed to be “backward compatible” with other Panasonic Avionics systems such as eX1, eX3, and NEXT.

The first Astrova systems will be flying with a launch customer in late 2024 said Andy Masson Vice President of Product and Portfolio Development at Panasonic.

Andy Masson Vice President of Product and Portfolio Development at Panasonic.

“Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, not only redefines in-flight entertainment but does so using a modular architecture that enables airlines to tailor it to support their individual commercial needs The engaging, immersive, and connected experience it creates for passengers is matched by an operational ease of ownership that makes Astrova a win-win for airlines,” said Masson, in today’s announcement.

Masson stressed that Astrova is closely following the consumer electronics market where inflight IFE has traditionally lagged. In addition to the vivid screen passengers can experience what he said was akin to three-dimension surround sound through the company’s Bluetooth technology. The screen recognizes up to 16 million colors. A fully installed system aboard an aircraft was up to 30 percent lighter than predecessors.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, added, “The launch of Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, reflects a transformation in our business, how we develop our products, and how we engage with our customers. Astrova is the first in-flight entertainment solution to truly recognize the untapped potential of seatback IFE and provides airlines with a powerful and targeted way of engaging with their passengers every time they fly.”

Because the average flight today is five hours, in-seat IFE offers a much longer dwell time than airline apps and other marketing channels. Panasonic has been carefully studying the amount of time passengers engage with seatback screens. Sain told the group that studies show that seatback systems are still gaining wide acceptance and airlines are asking for installments on regional aircraft.

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