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Lufthansa and LG: 4K-Screen at Every Seat

The digital signage industry is grappling with sensors on every screen; in air transport, airlines and service providers on short-haul flights are testing a new generation of in-flight entertainment systems with intelligent screens on every seat. Focusing on personalizing content and connecting to passengers own devices. Aerq – a Lufthansa Technik and LG joint-venture – is launching new inflight solutions.

Visual solutions in airplanes have been around for more than half a century – in the beginning there were bulky projectors and CRT televisions, sound was only available via pneumatic headphones. Today, personal in-seat video solutions are standard on long-haul aircraft and, in North America, on many short- and medium-haul routes. But the systems are expensive, heavy and do not meet the needs of the smartphone generation.

Lufthansa Technik and LG Electronics have set themselves the goal of bringing modern entertainment and Internet connectivity into the cabin in a modern, modular and upgradeable solution. For this purpose, the Aerq joint venture was founded in Hamburg (invidis report). Aerq’s vision revolves around bringing digital signage e.g. transparent OLED displays as class separators and digital signage at aircraft entrances and in-seat entertainment into the cabin.

As a first real-life test bed a Discovery Airlines Airbus A320 – Lufthansa ‘s leisure airline –  has been equipped with a new, globally unique digital entertainment system. Passengers Guests will enjoy in-flight entertainment on large UHD screens at every seat with extensive and personalized content and, from 2025, high-speed internet for everyone. The entire offer is available to passengers free of charge.

The converted Airbus A320 with the registration D-AIUQ will fly from the beginning of April 2024 for a test period of at least three years and can be recognized from the outside by additional “next level entertainment on board” stickers.

Discover Airlines is the first airline in the world to install AERQ’s AERENA Inseat System. The cooperation between Aerq and Discover Airlines is supported by Lufthansa Group Innovation Runway, an internal group initiative that promotes innovative solutions within the Lufthansa Group and with external partners.

Latest hardware, personalized content, high speed internet

The permanently installed 14″ LG screens with 4K resolution are a visible upgrade to the usual built-in displays. As usual, it is controlled via touchscreen; travelers can also pair their own devices and headphones with the screen via Bluetooth. The entertainment and information program offered can be personalized through optional queries.

In addition to a large selection of films, series, podcasts, games and a moving map in 3D, the open cloud-based IT platform offers the option of integrating numerous apps and services. At the beginning of the test phase, applications are already available that travelers can use to find out about their destination and reserve tours on their way to vacation.

At the beginning of 2025, the medium-haul Airbus will also be equipped with the latest internet technology, which will enable fast surfing, payment and booking functions, streaming and the integration of many other functions. In this context, “Order to Seat” is also planned, so that guests can order and pay for food, drinks and products from the on-board shop via the screen during the flight. The aim is to enable travelers to be fully connected during the flight.

Inseat video doesn’t sound new, it’s still the exception on European flights. A new hybrid network built by Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat with Nokia serves as a backhaul for on-board Wi-Fi on flights within Europe and includes an LTE ground network supported by a satellite connection. This means that aircraft in Europe can now be provided with Internet using special, ground-based mobile radio transmission systems more cost-effectively than just satellite.