At the Aircraft Electronics Association convention and trade show in April Flight Display Systems (FDS) of Alpharetta, Ga., introduced a new in-flight entertainment “pyramid” in the form of a single box priced at “less than $10,000.” While the box is small enough to fit behind an aircraft seat, it includes a moving map, DVD and CD players, three-channel wireless audio, and an audio/video switcher for eight seats. The box will also allow the true audiophile to plug in two iPods or two RoadyTwos. An audio splitter for XM Radio can be added for another $1,250. Tack on another $1,250 and you can get a universal remote with LCD display that will run up to 20 separate pieces of cabin electronics.
The company has also upgraded its moving map, taking the processing speed from 300 MHz to two gigahertz, allowing a seven-fold increase in speed, a bigger database and better resolution. And this comes at no increase to the $6,800 list price for the old moving map system.
According to FDS president David Gray, the company sees a convergence of off-the-shelf consumer electronics into the aviation market as key to bringing prices down and to bringing the latest technology into the business aircraft cabin more quickly. FDS has just moved into a new 11,200-sq-ft facility, and Gray said he expects business to double this year.