Video goggles as an IFE Solution?

I recently read an article about using 3D video goggles as inflight entertainment. Over the last few years, I’ve participated in several conversations about whether or not video goggles are really viable. In this article, I briefly outline some of the arguments for and against the concept.

Arguments for it

Better gaming

Probably the most obvious advantage is a better gaming experience. For example, the visual impact of racing around streets and weaving through obstacles while playing Mario Kart is a compelling selling point for a rental program. Even though gamers may represent a smaller portion of the population, they are generally more willing to spend for a good gaming experience.

The experience is impressive

The image wrapping around your view horizon creates an immersive experience that allows a passenger to escape for a few moments. Seeing a dinosaur running towards you, as in Ice Age, can be for some more visually exciting than a seatback or portable IFE system.

The goggles are becoming more attractive

Video goggle manufacturers have spent time and money making goggles, which were once large and bulky, slim and appear similar to normal eye-wear.

Arguments against it

You need a better system for better gaming

One large problem with using goggles for gaming is the graphics acceleration that is required. Meaning, you face a large capital outlay to invest in a capable system. If you want to avoid the cost, then you can continue to use a standard set of games. However, a game such as Solitaire does not take advantage of the goggle experience.

3D in theaters may be a passing fad

Several months ago, Roger Ebert, an acclaimed American film critic, wrote an article titled, “Why I hate 3-D (And You Should Too).” He outlines nine reasons why he believes that 3D is not an optimal solution. Now, I am not saying that I agree with him. However, he raises several valid arguments against 3D technology. Some of which apply to video goggles as well.

It hasn’t caught on in consumer markets

Currently, video goggles have not experienced strong demand in the consumer market. Meaning, if consumers have not preferred the product on the ground, they are unlikely to prefer them inflight.

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About Adam Williams

With six years of IFE experience, Adam is currently a freelance writer for several industry publications and marketing consultant for vendors. He can be found online at and @SpeakWithAdam.

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