Spatial Audio at 30,000 Feet? Panasonic and HEAR360 Are About To Make That Happen
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics), a leading provider of in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) systems, and HEAR360 Inc., experts in advanced audio solutions, have partnered to bring spatial audio to airline passengers.
Spatial audio is becoming more commonplace in entertainment, including movie and music streaming, and for the first time, spatial audio is being included as part of in-flight entertainment (IFE).
Panasonic sees spatial audio as an important next step in Panasonic Avionics’ ongoing innovation efforts to provide state-of-the-art systems for all types of cabin experiences.
In-flight entertainment (IFE) content delivered through the Panasonic Avionics Astrova platform, whether live or on-demand movies, music, live TV, sports and games, will be delivered in real-time 3D Spatial Audio using proprietary HEAR360 audio technology. .
Spatial audio will be available as a standard feature on aircraft equipped with the Panasonic Avionics Astrova IFE solution to complement entertainment systems that also include 4K UHD OLED displays.
Tip: 3D surround sound can be delivered to listeners using any wired or wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Benefits for airlines
One benefit for airlines using this new option is that the HEAR360 spatial audio enhancement can be realized without additional media purchase or shipping costs for the end user, as no special media encoding or file types are required. Of course, this does not prevent airlines offering in-flight entertainment from raising fares.
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From Andy Masson, Vice President of Product Management, Panasonic Avionics: “Spatial Audio provides passengers with a home theater experience that they would enjoy on the ground, while allowing airlines to offer premium sound and remain efficient with media spending… The launch of Spatial Audio represents the latest evolution in the industry-leading in the industry Sound solutions Panasonic Avionics offers and builds on our previous achievements, including the introduction of HD Audio in 2015 and full Bluetooth Audio in 2021.”
From Matt Marrin, CEO and co-founder of HEAR360: “We are thrilled to partner with Panasonic Avionics to provide all passengers with an unparalleled immersive and engaging flight experience using our revolutionary audio technology. Content and device agnostic not only means we are democratizing best-in-class audio for everyone, but also providing Panasonic Avionics and its airline customers with immediate scalability in a cost-effective way.”
Tip: Qatar Airlines is the first carrier to use the Panasonic Avionics Astrova IFE system.
Panasonic is expected to showcase the Panasonic Avionics Astrova IFE solution at the upcoming AIX (Aircraft Interior Expo) from June 6 to 8, 2023 in Hamburg, Germany.