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(Pocket-lint) - Virgin America has turned to Lufthansa System's BoardConnect technology for the next generation of its Red in-flight entertainment system. It includes HD seat-back displays, an MP3 jukebox containing 3,000 tracks, live satellite TV, and "Talk", and an instant messaging service that allows passengers to chat to each other without leaving their seats.

Launching in 2012, the new entertainment platform also features full Wi-Fi connectivity, a controller with a full QWERTY keyboard, and an on-demand menu so that passengers can order food during a flight. Plus, it offers connectivity to personal devices.

The system is being tested from this month on an Virgin America Airbus A320 named #nerdbird, and leads us to wonder if Virgin Atlantic may consider adopting it if it's well received.

However, the international carrier fitted a new Panasonic system in its Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which took to the skies for the first time in April this year. And it was revealed that platform was being fitted to all 10 Airbus A330s in the fleet over the next 2 years.

It offers touchscreen control, and is described as a tablet-like experience. Also, passengers in Premium Economy get a controller with a mini touchscreen that can both select action for the main display, or even run some applications independently to the seat back monitor, such as in-flight maps.

Let's hope there are plans to retrofit older aircraft with one system or the other. And before CES in Vegas.

Who's got the best in-flight entertainment? Let us know in the comments below...

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 16 April 2013.
Sections TV