Portable devices take off inflight

Panasonic Avionics Corporation is providing airlines with a new way to entertain airline passengers using securely Microsoft Windows Media-enabled portable devices.

Utilizing the latest digital media technology, the Syncast solution allows Panasonic to provide a leading in-flight entertainment system to airlines at a competitive price without the need for new equipment. Additionally, Panasonic’s IFE system will offer passengers first-run films in a portable and easy-to-use video-on-demand format.

Currently, Panasonic holds 80 percent of the in-flight entertainment market and plans to sell the system to new and existing customers. Mexicana Airlines is the first to implement the system this year, but Panasonic also plans to roll out the service with over a half-dozen airlines before the end of the year.

“We believe this new entertainment technology will offer a new and flexible entertainment platform for our customers,” said Greg Montevideo, general manager responsible for this new Panasonic product line.

SyncCast’s technology is based on Microsoft Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM). The solution allows Panasonic to obtain content from major studios in standard formats like MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and transcode it into the Windows Media Video format, encrypted in Windows Media DRM to enable direct transfer of content to many devices simultaneously. The solution is also flexible enough to support multiple languages on a single video file.


“SyncCast’s DRM technology provides the key security features necessary for our eXpress Portable Media Player to deliver the best media content,” added Montevideo.

“SyncCast engineers solutions that help our clients overcome the digital delivery challenges they face,” said Ezra Davidson, SyncCast’s EVP of business development. “Leveraging our expertise with Windows Media technology and Windows Media DRM allows Panasonic the versatility needed to meet the demands of their customer and also offer the end user a compelling digital media experience.”

“Consumers want to access entertainment wherever they go, and content providers need solutions to enable that access,” said Jim Black, vice president of corporate strategy, AMD.
SyncCast will provide the technology necessary to securely distribute content onto Microsoft Windows Media-enabled portable devices.

“Personal media players based on low-power AMD embedded solutions incorporating Windows Media DRM help enable movie studios to provide airline passengers with the ability to enjoy the latest digital media with convenient, small-form-factor devices.”

“The collaboration between Panasonic Avionics Corporation and SyncCast is another innovative showcase of the diverse capabilities of the Windows Media platform,” said Chad Hodge, director of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft Corp. “By supporting the SyncCast DRM solution based on Windows Media technologies, Panasonic Avionics will add the flexibility to scale its product and provide consumers with premium video content, in-flight.”