Wi-Fi Takes the Lead in Onboard Entertainment

Posted on November 2, 2009 by Nicole Schlosser - Also by this author

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From Wi-Fi service to DVD systems to 110-volt outlets for charging any type of mobile communication device imaginable, passengers are used to having these amenities in their homes, and are increasingly requesting extra technology of coach operators.

To gain a deeper understanding of the onboard entertainment options, LCT spoke with four coachbuilders. Here are their offerings:

Setra, Daimler Buses North America, Greensboro, N.C.

Tom Chezem, vice president of motorcoach sales, for Setra/Daimler Buses North America, says that the manufacturer has gone with a Blaupunkt Professional Line series as its standard entertainment system. The coachmaker also offer 19-inch LCD, 5-screens with a DVD system and radio in its standard package.

For customers looking for extras, Setra can increase the number of monitors if a coach operator wants some of them to face backwards. They also can add eight-channel systems, satellite TV, XM radio, and Wi-Fi.
Operators such as Omaha, Neb.-based Arrow Stage Lines have added some of these features and capabilities. A Yankee Line, in Boston, recently invested in satellite TV and Wi-Fi.

“A lot of people are adding multi-receivers, XM, people with iPods, MP3 players,” Chezem says. “More people are drawn to the computer and the Web, and lots of times people have their cell phones, they’re already connected. Wi-Fi is great if you’ve got a computer, but a lot of people are walking around with cell phones and don’t need the Wi-Fi connections. And they’re really not watching movies, because it’s not individualized to their taste,” he adds.

Chezem says that the Asian market is leading onboard entertainment trends. “They tend to be on the cutting edge of electronics from an entertainment perspective. There is a merging of the two when you look at the pipeline that’s available. Most of it goes through Wi-Fi: How can you download movies to a coach that’s running along the road? I think we’re still a little bit farther away from that. I haven’t seen the changes in the entertainment side as much as I’ve see it on the [fleet] tracking side. [For] entertainment, what you tend to see is larger monitors, a little more bling.”

Setra Options
• Wi-Fi
• Extra monitors
• 8-channel systems
• Satellite TV
• XM radio

Prevost, Sainte-Claire, Quebec

The Prevost H-Series offers Prevost’s newest entertainment system, the DELTATM Configuration.
The Prevost Premium Sound System with AM/FM/CD receiver has satellite radio capability, XM, Sirius, and is iPod ready. The Prevost Sound System with DELTATM configuration comes with dual subwoofers and one speaker above each passenger area broadcasting one channel and surrounding speakers broadcasting the other channel to provide a more homogeneous sound throughout the coach.

Prevost Extras
• 17-inch, flip down flat screen monitors, which only descends when in use
• Wi-Fi
• Wireless microphones
• 110 electrical plugs
• Satellite TV

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