Otonomy Aviation's new in-flight entertainment (IFE) connector box will provide a simple, low-cost solution for bringing video and audio from personal devices to legacy cabin IFE systems lacking PED input capability, the French company said. Expected to be available in the first quarter, Easi Connect VCB (video control box) converts inputs from USB-C sources—including iPads, cellphones, tablets, and PCs—to HDSDI/PAL/NTSC and audio analog/digital outputs, to present on installed IFEs. An Easi Connect HCB (HDMI control box) for converting PED inputs to HDMI outputs will also be available.
The Easi Connect boxes represent “something new and fresh,” Otonomy COO Maxime Danielli told AIN. “Jet owners always struggled to have a good IFE system at a good price,” but retrofits can cost 10 percent of a legacy aircraft’s value, making them uneconomical. Pricing is undisclosed but will be “a fraction of the cost” of current solutions, and require less than 10 hours for installation, according to Danielli. The compact, lightweight boxes—about half a pound—simultaneously charge the PED.
Initially aimed at the retrofit market, MROs have expressed interest in these control boxes. According to Danielli, business aircraft OEMs are also eyeing them for both in-house retrofit programs and as potential line-fit items that provide a lower-cost option to standard IFE packages.
Easi Connect retrofits will work on “all range of aircraft,” with the Gulfstream G450/550, Bombardier Global Express, and pre-2010 Dassault Falcon 900s and 2000s among likely platforms to benefit, said Danielli.
“You’ll always have an up-to-date media center,” he added. “Even though the media systems are getting older, the applications and devices are always being updated.”
Easi Connect is the product from a new business unit established by Otonomy to develop innovative product lines for business aviation. The company, which is based near Bordeaux-Mérignac, Airport, also produces high-definition cameras, security systems, and IFEs for the business aviation market.