WireMasters Blog

Amanda Kole

Let’s Debate: Will Seat Back screens become extinct?

The discussion of “Will the Seat Back Screen survive the evolving In-Flight Entertainment World?” continues to be a debate throughout the commercial aerospace industry. As passengers, we all like to be connected to our devices-phones, laptops, tablets, etc. It’s about staying connected and having the same capabilities on our devices in the air as we do on the ground-which is why reliable on-board wi-fi connection is crucial.

Certain airlines such as American Airlines have recently chosen to forego the seat back screens in their recent purchase of 100 Boeing 737 MAX. However, their widebody aircraft that fly internationally will remain with seat back screens. Although new aircraft will not be equipped with screens, they will offer content that can be streamed free of charge to passengers through their own devices.

American’s decision follows airlines like Southwest who has never purchased a seat with a video screen but supply the option to stream free limited content from personal devices. Benefits of foregoing the seat back screens provide weight savings which in turn delivers fuel savings cutting aircraft costs. Screens also have a tendency to break due to the wear and tear received from passengers, another cost factor.

Personal devices are continually being updated, therefore finding a way to help passengers stay connected to their gadget of choice is the direction most airlines are beginning to take. The first step towards personal connection is providing a high-speed wi-fi, from provider such as ViaSat Inc. Broadband connections offer customers the choice to connect to social media, Amazon, Netflix, email, and more - all at the click of a button from thousands of feet in the air! With offering these connections brings the need for USB charging connection. Streaming content can drain a battery quickly, so airlines are looking into adding charging outlets on aircraft seats to ensure devices stay powered up during and after the flight.

Seat back screens are not going away on all flights, long-haul international flight are opting to keep their screens, but in addition are adding wi-fi capabilities. The need for entertainment Is heightened on longer trips, so these selections give passengers multiple in-flight entertainment opportunities.

Seat screens could be evolving too. IFE leading provider GOGO and Delta Airlines recently announced they will be adding affixed seat back Android tablets to some of their new Bombardier aircraft. Passengers can use the tablets to wirelessly stream content from an on-board server. Since the screen will not be wired into the seat, it’s still a cheaper option than older seat back screens.

Regardless of where these changes take the industry, a constant will be the need to utilize aerospace grade high-speed data cables.  Constantly working with our manufacturers, we’ve made it a priority to stock the latest designs in data and ethernet cables with the fastest transfer rates within the wiring industry.

As these industry trends are evolving, we want to know your opinion, Is the seat back screen becoming extinct? Take our poll below!

Is your In-Flight Movie Screen Going Extinct?
Created with QuizMaker



Other research articles on the future of seat back screens:


IFEC Product Standpoints For African Airlines, Tech-Savvy Passengers And Content Producers

Your In-Flight Movie Screen Is Going Extinct

Why Those In-Flight Screens Aren't Going Away

Are Seatback Screens Becoming Obsolete?



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