Inflight connectivity provider Gogo now has a launch customer for its Gogo TV inflight live television service. Brazilian carrier GOL, already flying with the 2Ku connectivity solution, will be the launch customer for the service.
The companies will deliver six live channels to passengers on GOL aircraft. The content comes from a partnership between GOL and TV channel producer Globosat. The channel lineup includes some of their most popular TV channels: TV Globo, GloboNews, Gloob, GNT, Multishow, and OFF.
“Innovation is part of GOL and adding Live TV streaming is another important step. We are very pleased to be the first airline in Latin America to offer Internet connection, entertainment and live TV to our customers,” says GOL’s Chief Experience Officer, Paulo Miranda. “GOL is very proud of connecting people, and live TV streaming complements and enhances the inflight experience”.
Passengers will access the content on their own devices rather than in-seat screens.
The drive for live television on board is not new in the industry but it is new to Gogo. Thales, Global Eagle and Panasonic Avionics also offer live TV products to their connectivity customers. The Thales solution (flying on United Airlines and JetBlue) uses TV-specific satellite feeds. The Panasonic solution converts the TV content to an IP stream and broadcasts it across the same satellites as are used for other data communications. That saves the extra antenna on the aircraft but also requires that the content be carried on all the satellites that a plane might talk to during a trip. It is a balancing act of coverage and cost but also one with relatively fixed costs to deliver to any given geography. Getting more planes in any particular area to subscribe reduces the per-plane costs nicely.
GOL’s 119 aircraft fleet is relatively small to the deployments the other vendors (several hundred aircraft each) are flying but Gogo has to start somewhere. And letting GOL compete better against the LiveTV solution flying on rival Azul certainly doesn’t hurt the situation. Fortunately the 2Ku deployment is moving quickly, with 78 online today.