4K revolution


Bill Baltra, director of engineering at Sky Definition Aero Systems, heralds the advent of 4K in business jet cabins

Is there a lot of demand for 4K screens?

There is strong interest in 4K/ultra-high-definition (UHD) hardware, as consumer electronics companies are investing in developing 4K/UHD televisions, tablets, smartphones, laptops and cameras. Many in the consumer electronic industry expect to see a large increase in demand for 4K in 2015. 4K/UHD displays have four times the number of pixels offered by an HD display. This higher pixel density results in a sharper and clearer picture. 4K/UHD displays also have improved color depth and higher contrast ratios, providing a more dynamic and realistic viewing experience.

How have you responded to demand?

Our product line includes 39in and 50in 4K/UHD network monitors. The 50in monitor debuted at NBAA 2013, and the 39in monitor was introduced six months later. In 2015, 24in and 65in 4K/UHD network monitors will join the range.

What are the main technical challenges in implementing 4K in a business jet?

As bandwidth requirements increase to support displays with higher resolution and color depths, the main technical challenge is to minimize changes to aircraft wiring. To change the aircraft’s wiring in response to every technological advancement would be very expensive and time-consuming. Today’s technology is all about connectivity. Implementing a standard wired and/or wireless network for content delivery is the solution. Connected devices can access thousands of hours of digital media stored on an onboard network server. Business jets equipped with off-board connectivity will eventually be able to stream live 4K/UHD content from the internet to connected devices such as our 4K/UHD network monitors.

Is there enough compatible content to do the hardware justice?

Yes – the amount of 4K/UHD content and the number of 4K/UHD content providers is growing quickly. 4K/UHD content is currently delivered via online streaming services, download services and satellite services. The first consumer UHD Blu-ray players should be available by the end of 2015. As for those with extensive libraries of HD content, a 4K/UHD display up-scales HD content to 4K/UHD resolution while delivering brilliant picture quality. Business jet owners investing in 4K/UHD technology now will be ready for the coming 4K/UHD revolution.

What’s next for screen technology?

Organic light emitting diode (OLED) and quantum dot light emitting diode (QLED) display technologies will allow for LCD panels that are flexible, have more color depth and higher contrast ratios than standard LED panels. 8K/UHD displays have also been developed that provide 16 times the resolution of HD.

Bill Baltra is director of engineering at Sky Definition Aero Systems. Click here to read an article on IFE trends in the January 2015 issue of Business Jet Interiors International.

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About Author


Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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