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Spatial Audio at 30,000 Feet? Panasonic and HEAR360 Are About To Make That Happen

Qatar Airlines will be the first to offer in-flight spatial audio, but will passengers flock to it?

Boy on Airplane wearing headphones

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics), a leading supplier of in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems (IFEC), and HEAR360 Inc., experts in advanced audio solutions, have formed a partnership to bring Spatial Audio to airline passengers.

With Spatial Audio becoming more commonplace in entertainment including streaming of movies and music, this is the first time Spatial Audio is being included as part of an inflight entertainment (IFE) experience.

Panasonic sees Spatial Audio as an important next phase of Panasonic Avionics’ continued innovation efforts to offer state-of-the-art systems for all cabin experiences.

Implementation

In-flight entertainment (IFE) content delivered via the Panasonic Avionics Astrova platform, whether live or on-demand movies, music, live television, sporting events, and games, will be provided in real-time 3D Spatial Audio using HEAR360’s proprietary audio technology.

In-Flight Entertainment Screen at Seat

Spatial Audio will be available as a standard feature on planes that incorporate the Panasonic Avionics Astrova IFE solution, complementing entertainment systems that also include 4K UHD OLED screen displays

Tip: The 3D spatial audio experience can be delivered to listeners that are using any wired or Bluetooth wireless headphones or earbuds.

Benefits for Airlines

One benefit to the airlines that use this new option is that the HEAR360 spatial audio enhancement can be implemented without additional media purchase or end-user delivery costs, as no special media encoding or file types are required. Of course, that doesn’t prevent Airlines with inflight entertainment enhancements from raising fares. 

Benefits to Passengers

From Andy Masson, Vice President, Product Management of Panasonic Avionics: “Spatial Audio provides passengers with a comparable experience to a home theater system they would enjoy on the ground while enabling airlines to offer premium audio and remain efficient with their media spending…The launch of Spatial Audio represents the latest evolution in the industry-leading sound solutions Panasonic Avionics offers and follows our previous milestones including the introduction of HD Audio in 2015, and full cabin Bluetooth Audio in 2021.”

Airplane cabin with in-flight entertainment screens at every seat

From Matt Marrin, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of HEAR360: “We are thrilled to partner with Panasonic Avionics to give all passengers an unparalleled immersive and engaging inflight experience using our revolutionary audio technology. Being content and device agnostic not only means we democratize best-in-class audio for everyone to enjoy, it provides Panasonic Avionics and its airline customers with immediate scalability in a cost-effective manner.”

Tip: Qatar Airlines is the first carrier that uses the Panasonic Avionics Astrova IFE system.

It is expected that Panasonic will be showing the Panasonic Avionics Astrova IFE solution at the upcoming AIX (Aircraft Interior Expo) from June 6th to 8th, 2023 in Hamburg, Germany.

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