American Airlines testing in-flight streaming video system

By on May 5, 2011, 8:30 AM

American Airlines is claiming to be the first North American airline to begin testing a new in-flight streaming video product from Aircell. The new product will allow customers to wirelessly stream content such as movies and TV shows from an in-flight library to their personal Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Unfortunately, the airline did not reveal what content the library contains, nor did it disclose pricing for the new streaming video offering. Both will be revealed closer to launch.

American Airlines is currently testing the new in-flight video system on two Boeing 767-200 aircraft in transcontinental service. The company plans to begin customer testing early this summer and to roll out the product on Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft starting this fall (pending FAA certifications). 

The streaming video offering is American Airlines' latest investment in mobile technology.Back in August 2008, American Airlines launched its in-flight Wi-Fi service called GoGo, which is also provided by Aircell's air-to-ground system (three small antennas installed outside the aircraft that connect to Aircell's nationwide mobile broadband network). The airline further expanded the Wi-Fi service in April 2009.

In addition to the video streaming system, American Airlines wants to expand the Wi-Fi service once again to its narrow body fleet, including additional MD80 and domestic Boeing 757-200 aircraft. This will make the Wi-Fi offering available on all of the company's domestic aircraft dedicated to flying within the continental United States. The Wi-Fi expansion will include 93 domestic 757s and up to 50 additional MD80 aircraft. Installation will begin this summer and continue through 2012. Last but not least, the airline is still installing Wi-Fi service on its entire fleet of 737-800 aircraft.

"Once again, American leads the industry in providing innovative options to keep customers connected, productive and entertained," Rob Friedman, American Airlines' Vice President of Marketing, said in a statement. "American was the first North American airline to launch in-flight Wi-Fi, and today we again set a new industry standard as the first domestic airline to test in-flight streaming video content. We know our customers want to be connected on the ground and in the sky, so we are working hard to stay on the leading edge of connectivity through technology enhancements like this."

User Comments: 5

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TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If they have wifi on their planes it seems unlikely I would want to pay to stream video for their limited selection.

Too many other free place to stream shows from or a lot of people have Netflix memberships now.

Unless their wifi network is too slow for 1/2 the people on the plane to be streaming from Netflix. But then I think I would just watch videos saved to my laptop. Rips some DVD's to it or something as I would guess the airline is going to charge large amounts for streaming videos.

NeoFryBoy said:

I'm placing my bet at 9 dollars a movie.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:


gobbybobby said:

I flew Virgin To South Afirca from London, Fantastic in flight entertainment, 100s of programs and movies to choose from, very good picture quality, and some great albums catering for all tastes of music as well. And on the way back it was all different.

#I flew AA From London to Miami.

Horrible in flight entertainment, Lacking content, The sound was really bad, the programs where really lame, it took ages to start up and it was not on demand you had to wait for a ''showing'' off the program which was up to 20 min wait sometimes, Pathetic really never flying AA for long Haul again. And it was the same stuff on the way back, when the Website said its different on the way back, Way back was the worst becuase I had watched everything! Oh and it was the 2nd of the Month and I was exsited about the films the website they had listed, but they Still had all of the Previous months stuff on the new month had not been put on and even a week later on the way back still the previous months content.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This will be great news for people who have Wi-Fi devices with no storage capacity whatsoever.

Unless you're going to be in the air for a few days, or are one of those people who needs to know what happened on Glee while you were over the Pacific, you'll just load up your Wi-Fi device with whatever you want to watch, and watch it.

They'd probably make tons more money if they charged people to plug in their laptops/tablets/phones into some kind of outlet to keep the juice going during a 12 hour flight.

And then there are books...

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