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Airline To Unveil TV-Equipped Jumbo Jet

June 17, 1988

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Northwest Airlines and a California company plan next week to unveil a Boeing 747 jumbo jet equipped with 3-inch color TV sets fitted into the backs of 116 seats.

Sheldon Presser, president of California-based Airvision Inc., said Thursday that passengers will be able to choose from six programs on closed- circuit channels played via videocassette.

The airline would not comment on the new television-equipped aircraft except to say a news conference was scheduled Tuesday aboard Observation Flight 5687 on a route over Canada. The airline said it would tell reporters and photographers about ″an exciting innovation in inflight entertainment.″

The programs, Presser said, will include movies, sports, music, news and, possibly, such programs as ″Night Court″ and ″Moonlighting.″ One channel will be devoted to foreign-language programs, he said. Passengers will get the audio through earphones.

Press said the installation is aimed primarily at testing the system, developed with help from Warner Communications and Philips N.V., a large Dutch electronics firm.

Unlike traditional cathode-ray televisions, he said the airborne sets have small liquid crystal display screens. ″It’s really a new business,″ he said.

About 30 percent of the seats on the test aircraft will have the television sets, both in first-class and coach areas.

The programs will have commercials, Presser said, though advertising rates have yet to be determined.

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