Southwest to air live TV on planes

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Southwest AirlinesSouthwest, in conjunction with Row 44, is taking the next step in wireless inflight entertainment with a preview of live TV on five of the carrier’s aircraft, with plans to expand to 20 aircraft by mid-July.  Customers on these select planes will have the option to purchase live TV including seven sports and news channels, and view on them their personal devices:


NBC Sports

MLB live games from MLB.com

NFL Network

CNBC

MSNBC

Fox News

Fox Business News

Flight Attendants will notify the Southwest Customers who are onboard a TV-enabled WiFi aircraft. Those interested in using the TV service during this preview period will have the opportunity to log on to the service through the WiFi portal via their laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.  Live TV is offered as a separate charge from WiFi, so Customers do not have to purchase WiFi to purchase live TV.  The airline will evaluate different price points from $3 to $8 throughout the trial period, with instructions on how to access live TV available via a link on the Southwest Airlines WiFi portal.

Customers who are watching TV are accessing a separate portion of the bandwidth specifically dedicated for that use. Both live TV and WiFi usage will be monitored to determine if they perform together seamlessly, and if successful, live TV will be available to all WiFi-enabled planes by the end of the year.

Southwest currently maintains the world’s largest satellite-based WiFi fleet with more than 250 connected aircraft and plans to equip the entirety of their Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s (70% of its total fleet) by mid-2013.