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Platform launched to play airline entertainment on your iPad

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Inmarsat has launched SBTV, a platform designed to link in-flight entertainment to passenger mobile devices.

The company is better known for providing voice and high-speed data communications services to governments, enterprises and other organizations across land, sea and air. In a move to the consumer market, the firm's SBTV platform transmits video content across the SwiftBroadband (.pdf) flight network, which can then be distributed wirelessly to a mobile device. This includes laptops, tablets and smartphones.

SBTV aims to use on-demand features for passengers to be able to select content in the same way they would at home. In addition, the airline can tailor available content depending on route, language and region -- prerecorded or live.

Inmarsat clued into the fact that consumers are watching more on-demand video than ever. According to the latest research from comScore's Video Metrix, over 180 million Internet users in the U.S. watched 33 billion online videos in June this year, up 6.9 billion the previous year.

David Coiley, Inmarsat Vice President, Aviation, said:

"SBTV has been designed to reflect the way TV content is now consumed by people on the ground, enabling more viewer choice thanks to the ability to consume on-demand content on PCs, tablets and smartphones.

SBTV provides an opportunity for airlines to leapfrog the limitations of rolling broadcast news services by allowing passengers on-demand access to the latest news and sports programming on their own, to choose what they watch and when they watch it."

Over the past 20 years, over 11,000 commercial and non-commercial aircraft currently use Inmarsat services for inflight connectivity. The partnering airlines include British Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. According to the firm, over half of the world's A380 fleet is equipped with Inmarsat SwiftBroadband.

Inmarsat generated a revenue of $1.4 million in FY2011. The firm's EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) was $854m. The company employs roughly 1,500 staff.

Image credit: Flickr

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— By on September 16, 2012, 8:24 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure