Tuesday, December 25, 2012

New entertainment system of Sri Lankan airlines

Yesterday we flew back to Sri Lanka by a Sri Lankan Airlines flight and I was pleasantly surprised by the entertainment system when I got to my seat. I really hated the old entertainment system. I always carried the movies, music and podcasts on the iPhone. But the last time I tried using the phone, I was asked not to - even in Airplane mode. Now they announce it before taking off. (anyways I took few movies on the laptop.)

First, the interface is completely new and looks modern. The old one looked as if it was developed in early 1990's.


User guide










Access to main sections




Movies



Games


Music



TV






Previously, there were no user sessions. The sessions were for the whole crowd  You could not pause, rewind or anything. You choose the channel and it would just resume from where it currently is playing for the others. Pathetic, isn't it? But now you have user sessions. You can pause, stop, use the time slider, play another movie and go back to the previous movie and resume from where you paused it. It's just what you would expect from this decade's technology. Nothing fantastic, but finally up to the level you expect from a $500+ ticket.





But it is not a very touch responsive screen. Not even close to that of iPad. (It's like once you get used to a cool technology, everything else that doesn't work as well is crap.) So is the fluidity of the interface. Funny thing was that the touch responsiveness differed from one unit to the other. The unit my wife got in front of her was really bad. You could hardly get your touch input to register. Getting to use the time slider was hopeless.

I tried calling the crew using the call feature in the new system, it didn't seem to work. I don't know if the system is still under development or if it is not working or the flight attendants simply ignored it. (Well, I'm not entirely satisfied with their service after all.)



Each panel has a USB port. At first I thought they were for charging the mobile device if needed. But then I figured (but not 100% sure) that this is for loading the content into each panel. I thought there was one centralized server in the plane thats streams content. Maybe it is still the case. Maybe the USB port is for updating the software. Who knows? It's not as if I can ask any of the crew members how it works. 

It had one little problem. The headphone port was on the panel. So it can get in your way, especially when having a meal. FYI, previously the headphone port was in the arm rest. 

Anyways, I have to tell, I really enjoyed watching movies with the new entertainment system. I didn't have to take out the laptop during the entire flight. 
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