Boarding a & #BANNER1 & # plane won't be such a boring prospect any more. The 19 month old Kingfisher Airlines has entered into a strategic alliance with direct to home (DTH) service provider DishTV, which will enable passengers to watch live television while in the aeroplane. So far, Kingfisher Airlines was providing five channels in-flight, but these beamed pre-recorded content.
DishTV will provide 16 selected channels in genres such as news, entertainment, lifestyle, sports and kids' entertainment. In due course, all its channels are likely to be made available in-flight, but the details are yet to be worked out. Some of the channels in DishTV's bouquet include CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18, the STAR Network channels and the One Alliance channels.
Providing live television in-flight is a first in Indian history. In fact, even worldwide, only Jet Blue Airways in the US is known to provide live television as in-flight entertainment.
He adds that the competition will soon follow suit, which is why Kingfisher Airlines wants to remain a step ahead and live television was the logical next step. To give in-flight entertainment an even deeper push, Kingfisher Airlines will allow the use of GSM phones inside aircraft from 2008.
Live television on flights will start this month (December 2006) and, by the end of 2007, all Kingfisher aircrafts will provide this facility. The first aircraft empowered by DishTV, complete with live television service, will be ready to take off by the end of December 2006. A satellite tracking dish will be installed atop each plane, which will then catch signals even 35,000 feet above ground level.
Mallya says the timing for the move is perfect. "People can now watch the Cricket World Cup in 2007, live and uninterrupted, while travelling with us," he says.
DishTV's interactive offerings such as movie-on-demand will also be made available in-flight. It is learnt that DishTV will have a mechanism in place through which people can watch live television while in their cars or even on their mobile phones by February 2008.
Subhash Chandra, chairman, Essel Group (the parent of DishTV), says, "Viewers now seek entertainment in the way they want it and when they want it. Our tie-up with Kingfisher Airlines is a part of that."
As of now, DishTV has no plans to provide its channels to any other airline brand.
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