Panasonic Astrova in-flight TV

(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic is about to give airplane entertainment a serious upgrade. Its Astrova 4K OLED systems will be coming to Icelandair later this year, with more airlines following suit shortly afterwards. The Icelandicair airline will be installing 16-inch versions in Business Class and 13-inch models in Economy starting in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Those aren’t the only sizes Panasonic offers. It also offers 19-inch, 22-inch, 27-inch, 32-inch and even 42-inch models, with the size of the TV likely to reflect the price of your ticket. 

Next in line is Qantas Airways followed by United Airlines, both of which will be installing the displays in its Airbuses – and in Boeings in the case of United Airlines so you’ve got something to watch when the doors fall off… Egyptair is another Airbus installer, and both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Qatar Airways have also announced plans. In Qatar’s case, the chosen sizes are 22-inch in business class and 13-inch in economy.

There’s more to these TVs than their screen sizes, though. The specs are impressive too. 

Why Panasonic’s OLEDs are an in-flight upgrade

While the displays are generally smaller than the best TVs you’d have in your home, because of course you’re not limited to the size of the seat in front of you, the specifications here are impressive. The OLEDs deliver 4K with support for HDR10 and HDR10+. 

The in-flight systems also support multi-channel spatial audio for an immersive audio experience. That means that thanks to Bluetooth support for the best headphones, you don’t need to bring an adapter on your next trip. There’s also 100W fast charging so your phone is fresher than you are on arrival.

These displays are upgradeable too, so they should have a long life. They’re designed with modular construction, which means they’re easy to swap out when better versions are developed.

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Panasonic says that this is the first time passengers have been able to enjoy true 4K HDR picture quality from their airline seats, and it should help the miles pass more quickly.

We first reported on the new systems last year, with Becky Scarrott explaining, “it remains to be seen how good it’ll be, and how immersive the promised ‘premium home theater environment’ can be. But it’ll certainly better that much of what’s out there currently… and we’ll even get it in coach!”

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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.

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