In-flight Wi-Fi used to be a dream, but it can be a rather expensive reality at the moment (although a whole lot more convenient, reliable and cheaper compared to testing out whether you are able to obtain a 4G or 3G connection in mid-flight, tethering your handset to your notebook while keeping your fingers crossed that you haven’t passed another country that makes your data roaming charges go up by another notch) for some passengers who are more budget minded, and American Airlines intends to introduce a change this time around by testing streaming video services while you are in the air.
No idea on just how far America Airlines intends to bring this idea, since anyone who has a reasonable Wi-Fi connection can already access numerous streaming video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, but perhaps American Airlines intends for something that is more specific and purpose-built just for their passengers.
Bandwidth, or rather, the lack of it, could prove to be their undoing though unless the compression algorithm is a new one that is super efficient. Assuming the satellite connection is able to handle 10Mbps downstream, that means no more than 10 standard definition movies being played over at any one time, but of course this is assuming we don’t know that there is some sort of secret gigabit connections being installed in mid-air at the moment.
According to GoGo who decided to clear the air, the streaming service will be relying on on-plane storage which makes much more sense, and bear in mind that the total bandwidth is closer to 3Mbps via using EVDO rev A, making video streaming the classical, terrestrial method more or less impossible. Would Wi-Fi connectivity cause you to switch airlines?
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- 2011-08-04: American Airlines offers Wi-Fi connectivity on all Boeing 767 flights