United selects Panasonic's Astrova system for IFE solution

June 7, 2023
United plans to install the Astrova in-flight entertainment system on select new Boeing 787 and Airbus A321XLR aircraft beginning in 2025.

 HAMBURG, Germany - Panasonic Avionics Corporation in Lake Forest, Calif., has  announced an agreement with United Airlines as its first customer in the Americas for its new Astrova in-flight engagement (IFE) solution. Chicago-based United plans to install Astrova on select new Boeing 787 and Airbus A321XLR aircraft beginning in 2025.

Collectively, these agreements cover both line-fit and retrofit installations across United's fleet and are part of United Next, which is enhancing the passenger experience on narrowbody aircraft flown in domestic and short-haul international markets. The United Next program includes seatback entertainment screens at every seat — first class has 13-inch monitors, while economy has 10-inch monitors, larger overhead bins, high speed Wi-Fi, USB outlets at every seat, Bluetooth audio connections for in-flight entertainment, and LED lighting throughout the cabin.

An example of Panasonic Avionics' ability to keep the technology of its Astrova seat end solution in pace with current consumer technologies is a removable peripheral bar. This proprietary technology from Panasonic Avionics will give United the ability to add and upgrade features like Bluetooth and many others. This unlocks the ability for United to quickly adopt the technology and capabilities passengers expect and use in their daily lives. Astrova also offers significant weight savings compared to other seat-end architectures, which will help United to reduce fuel burn.

Astrova's modular architecture makes it upgradeable throughout its lifecycle, and with minimal re-certification efforts and costs. Key hardware and software components can be replaced over time to meet changing market requirements and satisfy ever-increasing passenger expectations.

Panasonic says Astrova is the first IFE solution to offer 4K OLED technology, which provides a sharper image and darker blacks.  It also creates a fully immersive experience for passengers with high fidelity 3D spatial audio delivered by Panasonic Avionics' latest Bluetooth technology.

United's passengers will also enjoy up to 100 W of DC power via USB-C at their seat, providing the ability to fast charge the latest phones and tablets, and laptops through all phases of flight.

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