In July 2021, Singapore Airlines began a trial of inflight Live TV service on its A350-900 ULR aircraft, bringing news and sports to passengers in real-time.
Live TV was eventually expanded to the long-haul configured A350-900s, and Singapore Airlines has now confirmed that passengers flying on the B737-8 (formerly known as the MAX, and not to be confused with the B737-800) and B787-10 can enjoy the service too.
Besides our A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft and A350-900 Long-haul aircraft, Singapore Airlines has rolled out the Live TV trial on Boeing 787-10 and Boeing 737-8 aircraft.
Which aircraft offer live TV service?
With the latest updates, a total of 63 SIA aircraft now offer Live TV service, or just under half the fleet.
|Aircraft||In Fleet||Live TV?|
In case you’re wondering which version of the A350-900 you’re flying on, here’s a reminder of how the seats are configured:
|A350-900 Regional||A350-900 Long-Haul||A350-900 ULR|
|Number in Fleet||24||28||7|
There are several ways to tell if your A350-900 has Live TV service:
- If you see an A350-900 on a European or USA route, it must have Live TV
- Look at the Business Class seat map. If you see seats with “wings” like the ones on the left below, you’re on a A350-900 Regional with no Live TV. If you see rectangular seats like the ones on the right below, you’re on a A350-900 Long-Haul or A350-900 ULR with Live TV
- If the plane has no Economy Class cabin, you’re on a A350-900 ULR with Live TV
- If the plane has no Premium Economy cabin, you’re on a A350-900 Regional with no Live TV
|✈️ SIA A350-900 ULR Fleet|
|✈️ SIA A350-900 (Long-Haul) Fleet|
What’s on Live TV?
Passengers flying on SIA aircraft with Live TV service can choose from the following four channels:
- BBC World News
- Sport 24
What’s really catching my attention is Sport 24, which holds the broadcast rights for major sporting events like the US Open and Wimbledon tennis championships, the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League, NBA, PGA Golf Tour and the Olympics. Imagine witnessing these events live from your seat.
|🎾 Sport 24 Events|
I’ve previously managed to catch the Australian Open on a flight from Bangkok, and more recently, the semi-finals of Indian Wells when flying from San Francisco.
The feed remained stable throughout the broadcast, and it was just like watching from anywhere else on earth.
Will Live TV come to other aircraft?
Live TV has yet to be introduced on the regionally-configured A350-900s, A380-800s, B737-800s or B777-300ERs.
Singapore Airlines remains tight-lipped about a broader rollout, only sharing the following
We will share plans for a broader rollout, if any, at the appropriate time.
While I’m confident we haven’t seen the end of the Live TV rollout, it’s a safe bet the B737-800s won’t get it (on account of not having IFE screens!).
Singapore Airlines uses a mixture of Panasonic and Thales IFE equipment, and while Panasonic Avionics owns the international inflight rights to the Sport 24 channel, it’s mentioned its openness to working with other providers:
Green tells Runway Girl Network that Panasonic is talking to all the usual players in IFC (inflight connectivity), effectively anyone who wants live sports as part of their offering, which is a “huge and growing market”.
Panasonic expects to forge relationships with aero ISPs after ensuring they have the right tech and security to protect the sports streams. But the company is not opposed to working with rivals in the embedded IFE space, with Green noting of course that Panasonic has a number of airline customers with a mix of IFE and IFC providers.
Once agreements are reached and Panasonic hands over the streams to the IFC providers, in theory those streams are available for whatever IFE hardware is on board, says Green.
Indeed, Panasonic recently secured one such agreement bringing Sport 24 to JetBlue’s A321LR aircraft, which are fitted with Thales AVANT monitors and Viasat’s inflight connectivity network. So there’s no reason why that couldn’t happen for Singapore Airlines, and in any case, the vast majority of SIA’s fleet uses Panasonic Avionics hardware anyway.
|✈️ Singapore Airlines Widebody Fleet|
(Long-haul, Ultra Long Range)
Singapore Airlines passengers can now enjoy Live TV service on all B737-8, B787-10, A350-900ULR and A350-900 Long-Haul aircraft, representing just under half the fleet.
It’s certainly not the first airline to offer such a service – others have had it for years now – but a welcome addition to the KrisWorld entertainment repertoire nonetheless.