United Airlines is releasing a new inflight entertainment upgrade…. Just not yet. The airline will be adding up to 300,000 Panasonic Avioncs’ Astrova 4K OLED TVs screens to seatback entertainment. United Airlines’ Managing Director of Identity, Product, and Loyalty, Mark Muren, made the announcement at the 2023 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg last Tuesday.
“Ten years ago, United thought that it was all going to be about [using] your own device. We were right, but we can delight and engage [passengers] if we also put a great screen right in front of them. They want to use their own device, but also be engaged and entertained,” said Muren.
Panasonic Avionics’ seatback screens will be added to the new Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787 planes as part of the United Next program redesigning domestic cabins. United Airlines is the first U.S. based airline to install the new Panasonic tech on its planes.
Business-class will have a 19-inch screen installed, whereas standard business-class cabins will get a 22-inch model. Front-row flyers will get a 27-inch screen, while front-row business class will have a 32-inch screen and first class will be equipped with a 42-inch screen.
Panasonic Avionics Vice President of Production Management, Andy Masson, has already confirmed they have sold every new screen size to United Airlines. The screens will have HRD10+ certification, meaning customers will be able to stream 4K quality content from studios.
The seatback screens will have sharper image quality and provide an all-around better inflight entertainment experience. The screens use self-lighting pixels to offer a richer contrast and The 4K OLED TVs will also have Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities as well as 67W USB-C chargers for phones, tablets, and laptops. Panasonic has been enabling full-cabin Bluetooth since 2021.
There’s no official launch date set yet, but expect to see the 4K OLED TVs on Airbus A321XLRs and Boeing 787s sometime in 2025.