The way you while away the hours on a Thai Airways flight has just taken a big step in the right direction. We reach for the remote and tune in to LIVE TV. By Simon Clays
The world of customer connectivity in the clouds took a significant stride forward in the last month, with Thai Airways’ launch of its live in-flight television broadcasting technology, LIVE TV. Built into an updated version of the national carrier’s head-rest entertainment system, the service is already proving a boon to sports freaks and news junkies. In fact, the system was soft-launched during the recent FIFA World Cup in Russia to a tremendously enthusiastic payload. Imagine, no more scrambled WhatsApp messages on taxiing to get a last gasp update of the score line. No more dead time pondering the may and may-nots or the bubble of rumour sweeping through the jet. Just sit back, soak up the atmosphere, and drink in the drama of whatever sporting spectacle is playing itself out, or track that breaking news as it happens. All from the comfort of whatever seat you happen to be travelling in across the aircraft’s entire inventory.
The service kicked off broadcasting CNN, BBC, NHK, and Sport 24, and having tried the service out first-hand, we can tell you that LIVE TV is smooth, intuitive, and feels just like watching TV at home. The in-flight magic comes courtesy of Japanese technology giant, Panasonic, which has somehow managed to forge a seamless connectivity system that allows wi-fi and a satellite signal to work with each other without the usual glitches and loss of network.
The service is yet to be rolled out across the carrier’s entire fleet, but if you’re on board any one of its A350-900s or its Dreamliner 8 or 9s, then there’s an excellent chance you’ll be able to enjoy the service with your favourite tipple and in-flight meal. This is still the dawn for the biggest innovation in in-flight entertainment systems for many a moon, but we think it won’t be too long before you’re scrolling through Netflix or pondering your Series options on Amazon Prime.