The 5 most popular IFE questions from airlines

Call with questions

During a chat with our sales rep that fields most of the inbound calls for more information about our products, he mentioned that there are several questions that he answers on almost every call.

We try to avoid sales pitch-y posts on this blog, but we’ve had these questions enough times that we decided it was worthwhile to address them publicly.

How much does the hardware cost? What about content?

Hardware costs obviously depend on several factors including the platform type and volume but are comparable to a COTS solution when you consider the total cost of ownership (ie customization, repair/maintenance, spare units, cases, etc).

We provide full content services including licensing, labor (integration, encoding, encrypting, QA), and materials. Content costs differ for each customer based on their specific needs. For example, here are some factors that are taken into account:

  • Number of titles
  • Languages
  • Local/regional content
  • Airline-specific content (intro videos, advertisements, destination information, etc)

We have direct agreements in place with the major Hollywood studios and leverage our large handheld IFE customer base and in-house services to provide the lowest handheld content costs in the industry (yeah, I’m bragging a little bit).

How long is the lead time?

Our standard lead time is 90 days. However, we have delivered orders in as little as 2 weeks. We were fortunate enough to have everything on hand for that order.

Because we provide an end-to-end solution (content, hardware, repair/maintenance), we are able to respond quickly to customers’ delivery requirements.

How does the content loading process work?

Content is refreshed every 30, 60, 90 or even 180 days depending on the airline’s needs. I’ve laid out the process in a step-by-step format.

  1. Prior to each content change, the airline makes its content selection.
  2. The airline selected content is integrated at our in-house content lab. And yes, it is studio approved and MPAA audited.
  3. The encrypted content set is then sent via the Internet to the content update station at the airline’s facility. Once the download to the update station is complete, we notify the airline that the content change may begin.
  4. Players are docked into the update station (up to 100 players per station) and the airline-designated personnel initiates the content change.
  5. Once the update is complete, the players are put back into service.

As an FYI, the content transfers from the update station server to the players at a rate of about 20 GB per hour with a typical content set being 20 to 40 GB.

Most of the content change process is automated and very straight-forward. We do, though, have a 24/7 support line available any time an airline requires assistance.

What can the digEplayer do?

The digEplayer was designed and built specifically for use as an in-flight entertainment device on commercial aircraft. Being “purpose built” means several things. It means that the digEplayer is:

In short, the digEplayer provides a low cost, reliable, highly customizable IFE solution for the airline and an easy to use video-on-demand experience for passengers.

What hardware support is available?

We provide a comprehensive maintenance and repair program for the LIFE of the product. Beyond the standard manufacturer warranty coverage, our products are covered against wear and tear over time.

We provide all of our support in-house without relying on 3rd parties. This keeps our costs low and response times and quality high.

We have repair facilities in the United States, Amsterdam and Australia to support our customers across the world.

We are committed to our products as long as they are in service. We even have airlines today that are still flying the very first generation digEplayer introduced in 2004!

I hope that helps!

About Ben Fuller

Ben, originally from the Seattle area, has traveled the globe over the last 15 years working in sales and marketing for several technology companies. He is now the Director of Sales for Central and South America at digEcor.

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