Thales' New Technology to Enable 4K Ultra High Definition IFE Content

Image via Thales

As the launch of Thales’ 4K in-flight entertainment offering nears, the company is working to ensure the content being delivered to passengers is properly looked after.

Thales has developed new security and encoding technologies for its 4K in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems that will see Emirates passengers able to stream premium ultra high definition (UHD) content from Hollywood Studios when the carrier launches Thales’ latest AVANT IFE solution on its Boeing 777X fleet in 2020.

The contract, under which Thales is to equip the first 50 of 150 777X aircraft Emirates has ordered from Boeing with AVANT, was announced at the 2016 APEX EXPO in Singapore. It was secured as a result of Thales’ committing to establish an innovation center – Discovery Dubai – in the United Arab Emirates.

Thales worked with Hollywood movie studios to define and implement the optimum bit rates to display 4K content in an IFE environment. The company’s resulting solution uses variable bit rate (VBR) encoding technology that can provide bit rates of over 40 Megabits per second (Mbps). Thales said this means passengers using its system will benefit from ten times better video quality compared to traditional IFE solutions.

According to Thales, its 4K IFE solution combines professional-grade digital rights management (DRM) with hardware-level encryption within each screen to comply with the highest security level standards set by content studios from both a hardware and software perspective.

“We are proud to support our airlines customers in their commitment to deliver an exceptional in-flight experience through our new 4K technologies.” – Philippe Carette, Thales InFlyt Experience.

Thales is also to equip Emirates’ 777X fleet with GX Aviation in-flight connectivity services to further enhance Emirates’ IFEC offering.

Philippe Carette, CEO of Thales InFlyt Experience, said, “The cabin environment is constantly evolving and this is a time of significant change in the industry. With continuous innovation of our products and solutions, Thales is at the forefront of new technology development. We are proud to support our airlines’ customers in their commitment to deliver an exceptional in-flight experience through our new 4K technologies.”

The news comes ahead of the 2019 Paris Air Show alongside another announcement from Thales that it has combined its digital, cloud-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management (UTM) platform with Gemalto’s cyber-secured identity tracking technology to improve the remote identification and tracking of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS).

Thales said the resulting system can create a “certified drone identity card,” allowing regulators to verify a drone’s registration number, identify its pilot and confirm they are authorized to fly, all in a few seconds.

The platform’s capabilities have been successfully trialed in partnership with Oneida County and the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance at the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York.