back to article Stream vids to your laptop ON A PLANE ... but prepare to pay

American Airlines is to start offering to stream video to passengers' own kit, as long as that kit is a laptop computer and the passenger doesn't mind paying for the experience. The service offers 100 movies and TV shows, priced at $4 and $1 respectively, which can be streamed during flights on the airline's entire fleet of …


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  1. Valerion


    Need a tablet client for at least OSX and Android, for battery life reasons. Laptops (well, mine at least) lasts about 3 hours whereas the iPad lasts a good 9 hours - i.e. enough for a transatlantic flight.

    Plus the tablet is lighter, smaller, more comfortable and doesn't burn your balls after a couple of hours.

    1. paulf

      How about

      Taking a laptop charger on the plane? Just a thought?

      Even the iPad's battery will get hammered if its running video playback for many hours.

      1. Valerion

        All well and good

        Except that usually in economy there's nowhere to plug it in to charge it...

  2. Valerion


    Of course by "OSX" I meant "iOS"...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Portable screen

    Your point about laptop in Economy seats is well made, but why isn't this service using iPad/Galaxy Tabs? The battery might even last through a couple of movies. And why aren't airlines (airplane manufacturers) offering a Tab display facility for the "free" in-flight movies already available on the dreadful seatback displays.

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      Don't use a laptop in economy...

      I saw a chap sitting across the isle working on his laptop on the little tray when the person in front of him put the seat back down. The tray catch hit the top of his screen and squished it down into the tray cracking his screen... he was not a happy bunny...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        ... across the isle ... ?!?

        The aisle of Sky(e), perhaps ?

        (And no, I'm not even *thinking* of Uncle Rupert's plans to rule the airwaves)

        1. Arrrggghh-otron


          ...missed an A - thanks for pointing that out pedantic grammar nazi!

          I can only assume that the thumbs down was either for my spelling or was actually the chap on the plane who had his laptop brutalised by the seat in front...

  4. The BigYin


    ...why do I want this when the in-flight entertainment is just fine? Oh wait, they'll cut that off and force you to buy this DRM infected shit. Sod that, I'll bring my own.

    1. David Evans

      because it makes sense

      In the long run it makes far more sense for "infotainment" to be delivered to the screen you're carrying anyway than carrying all the development and capital expenditure for seatback screens, which are then stuck in the plane for years (or decades) while screen technology moves on. A similar thing will happen with cars; pointless hard-wiring in a satnav and a music system that'll be out of date before the car rolls off the forecourt; better to give the customer a slot for a pad and let them get on with it themselves, or at worst a high res screen and access to your own apps.

    2. Rob


      ... that's what I don't get about this, I could pay money to watch movies on my laptop, whilst on a flight or...... I could just preload the device, pay nothing and watch whatever I choose to load up my device with.

  5. Architect CAD monkey

    Or fly on a half decent air lines

    Such as Emirates which offers widescreen in its economy seats and a huge array of movies to stream to that screen throughout the flight. In teh last 8 weeks I have spent 60 odd hours on their planes and found the screens in flight intertainment and screens to be just fine.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's for domestic flights

    I think that, whilst it could be an option for long-haul, this is primarily aimed at domestic flights where aircraft aren't equipped with seat-back entertainment units (it will be a much cheaper retrofit option).

    But I agree with the comments about support for tablets.

  7. Jon Massey

    Seems reasonable

    $4 for 100 Movies?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've said this for a long time

    I've been saying for a long time that airlines ought to stream content from a local (i.e. on the plane) server to the passengers. The cost of a server that could do so is minimal, both in terms of dollars (a small CPU and a 100G drive would have done it years ago, now a small CPU and a 1T drive) and in terms of weight (far more important to the airlines).


    1) the movie industry will insist upon Digital Rights Denial at every step of the way.

    2) The airlines will insist upon "monetizing this new source of demand"

    And I will ask this question: with 32G microSD cards, 1T laptop drives, and so on, why restrict yourself to what the airline sees fit to distribute? Just load your media up on whatever device(s) you see fit to use and move on.

  9. The Infamous Grouse


    So on the one hand the airline industry is worried about what all this personal tech might be doing to their avionics, but on the other they want us to install unknown code on our machines so we can watch their DRMed movies? I bet there are black hats out there right now trying to figure a way to exploit this. Imagine how many machines you could potentially infect from just a single aircraft, let alone a whole fleet.

    I'm not sure who this is aimed at to be honest. Tech enthusiasts who administer their own hardware won't want to touch DRM with a bargepole, and most corporate laptops will be locked down so tightly that the drivers probably won't install anyway.

    As others have pointed out, it might be better to offer loaner iPads or Android tablets and stream to those. The only issue might be the extra weight. It's actually a pity that 'wearable screen' glasses never really managed to go mainstream. In-flight entertainment seems like an ideal use for them.

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