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United Airlines to offer free inflight video service to iOS devices

updated 12:12 am EDT, Thu March 13, 2014

Over 150 movies, 200 TV shows on demand coming next month

United Airlines will be rolling out a new inflight entertainment service that offers over 150 movies and nearly 200 TV shows on-demand to passengers beginning in April, at no cost -- if they have an iOS device like an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The free entertainment will be made available through the airlines' own iOS app, which can be downloaded for free while in-flight if needed.

The airline says it will roll out the new service in stages, starting with iOS devices only, and it will be first deployed on the Airbus A319 and A320, Boeing 747-400 and some 777-200 aircraft first. Other aircraft will be added over time until the entire domestic US fleet should be offering it by the end of the year.

Those on other platforms not yet supported may be able to view different content that is available through the United web portal without any special plug-in or app requirements (most likely leveraging HTML5). Notebook users will be able to take advantage of the service later in the launch, with access to the same content as iOS users by utilizing a special browser plug-in. The streaming video or audio programs will be able to be paused, rewound, and fast-forwarded as with conventional on-demand streaming.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Assuming these inflight videos are coming via WiFi, how's United going to find the bandwidth if 250 passengers begin to stream 150 different movies at the same time. Everyone is in one long aluminum tube. A WiFi router and one end can easily reach the other end.
    This idea reminds me of a reading room I used to write in at the University of Washington. First thing in the morning, when there were only a dozen or so people there, the WiFi was fine. In early afternoon, with a couple of hundred people in the same space, it was impossible.
    United might want to come up with a way for people registered to fly to preload a couple of movies from home or in the airport waiting area.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Well it took long enough for airlines to start allowing people to use wireless devices, again....

    Didn't someone do an iChat conference from 30,000 feet back when iChat was still new?

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