Surround sound comes to the cabin

In a three-part announcement at the APEX meeting in Seattle last week, Rockwell Collins showed off its second-generation dPAVES IFE system including HD virtual surround sound,set to be installed on new generation Airbus and Boeing narrow bodies.“The single-aisle market is driving need for a solution given the longer stage lengths,” Vice President Sales and Marketing Colin Mahoney told Inflight. “There is a need for an IFE system that competes with the twin-aisle technology in size, weight, power and costs. There is a paradigm shift. The single-aisle aircraft has seen a growth of 55% only 10% of it is in-seat equipment. We see that changing to 20-30% over the next three-to-four years.”The company’s, client centric, dPAVES is currently on 1,600 aircraft, only 120 of which are single-aisle aircraft. It saw APEX as the ideal time to introduce dPAVES 3, its most versatile from the airline standpoint, said Mahoney, who said the new offering builds on the success of dPAVES 2. It can be configured for both in-seat and over-head deployment or a combination — in seat for business and overhead in economy. The unit — available in 10.1” and 12.1” displays, is about four pounds per seat.“That’s the differentiator for Rockwell Collins,” added Mahoney. “It needed to be very reliable, easy to fix and easy to use. If you get the size, weight and power right, that becomes the differentiator from the competition. It takes out the need for a large and complex network that can present a single-point of failure for the entire system. If a unit does fail it can be changed out by the flight attendant in a matter of minutes. It also has remote diagnostics transmitting data to the ground so maintenance can readily fix it. The memory is also expandable is the need grows. It also affords access for the passenger’s own personal electronic devices.”He noted it was customizable to the airline or not and controlled how much the passenger browsed the Internet so airlines can control what comes into the aircraft. It can accommodate financial transactions for food and beverage which can be linked to investory management. Integrated into Rockwell Collins’ dPAVES high-definition media server (HDMS), the virtual surround sound, provided by SRS WOW HDTM, fully immerses passengers in a theater-like experience that is tunable to any headset. According to Dave Austin, vice president and general manager, Cabin and ElectroMechanical Systems for Rockwell Collins, WOW HD’s ‘on the fly’ processing allows any media file type to be broadcast with virtual surround sound over headphones − a first for the industry – giving passengers a consistent HD entertainment experience.Surround sound is only the latest enhancement to dPAVES which now sports at 12-inch 16:9 LCD HD or 10.4” LCD retractable overhead monitors HDMS that offers 160 gigabytes of solid-state digital audio and video storage capability, integrated pre-recorded announcements and music functionality with embedded Airshow moving map.It also has an intuitive, touch-screen control panel reducing workload for cabin and maintenance crews. It comes with an optional Flyable Data Loader which radically simplifies IFE system data loading process by using a multimedia drive, and USB and Ethernet ports.The company also unveiled its new PAVES 3, a versatile, single-aisle, IFE system that features scalable, high-definition, in-seat solution for built for maximum reliability. Rockwell Collins offers the only single-aisle digital IFE system providing customizable cabin configurations. Airlines can select from a variety of overhead and in-seat monitor combinations.“Single-aisle aircraft operations present a unique set of requirements for in-flight entertainment,” said Vice President and General Manager, Cabin and Electro Mechanical Systems Dave Austin. “PAVES 3 provides the features passengers want while meeting the needs of airlines to make quick gate turns without additional content loading or maintenance.”The unit also afford passenger PED connections for playback of personal entertainment to the monitors. The operating system supports applications from numerous sources, flexible content storage that suits individual airlines’ needs, a quick-release mechanism for easy maintenance, live updates from digital news sources and magazines, and real-time monitoring through remote diagnostics.

Kathryn Creedy, US Correspondent
Inflight /

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