Panasonic to install 4K OLED displays in passenger jets

Mike Wheatley

You could be in for a superior in-flight entertainment experience the next time you take to the skies, as Panasonic Avionics has announced a deal with several major airlines that will see its Astrova 4K OLED displays installed in their aircraft.


The new OLED displays are coming to Icelandair’s fleet first of all, later this year, with additional airlines set to follow. According to Panasonic Avionics, a subsidiary of Panasonic Corp., Icelandair will install 16-inch displays in its Business Class seats, and 13-inch variants for Economy class passengers, starting in the fourth quarter of this year.

Panasonic Avionics actually offers a wide range of Astrova 4K OLED display sizes, with 19-inch, 22-inch, 27-inch, 32-inch and even 42-inch models available in its lineup, and the exact size will likely depend on the level of luxury one comes to expect when purchasing flights. Most likely, the beefy 42-inch models are going to be reserved for those who take chartered, private flights only, but in any case the rollout is good news for passengers of every type.

Of course, the Panasonic Astrova 4K OLED displays are much smaller than the TVs we generally use in our living rooms, because airlines are obviously limited by factors such as the size of the seats in their aircraft. But still, it’s not the size that counts but rather, what you do with it, and in Panasonic’s case it has delivered some premium features such as 4K resolution with HDR10 and HDR10+ support.

The in-flight displays also provide multi-channel spatial audio features, meaning passengers will be able to plug in their headphones for a superior sound quality. They also support Bluetooth headphones, and users can link the display to their smartphone or tablet device, so they won’t be limited to the content offered by the airline itself. To enhance this, there’s a 100W fast-charging port available so users can relax and enjoy multiple movies saved on their phones, even on long-haul flights.

The Panasonic Avionics displays can be upgraded too, and the company has promised they’ll receive regular updates with additional functionality. Moreover, they’re based on a modular design, which should make it easier for airlines to swap out when it’s time to upgrade the displays again.

According to the company, Icelandair’s Airbus passengers will be the first in the world to enjoy true 4K HDR experiences in all the glory of OLED, with its superior contrast and picture accuracy, replicating the home theater environments many have become accustomed to.

It’s good news for passengers because, let’s face it, long-haul flights especially can be incredibly tedious, and so the ability to watch your favorite movies and TV shows will go some way to making the flight time pass more quickly.

While Icelandair will be the first to get the new displays it will be followed closely by Qantas Airways in its Airbus aircraft, and United Airlines, which plan to install them in its Boeing jets. Other airlines to have agreed deals with Panasonic Avionics include Saudi Arabian Airlines and Qatar Airways. In the case of the latter, it has opted for larger, 22-inch displays in its business class seats.