Introducing TrayVu: This airline tray doubles as an inflight entertainment system

Back in 2003, I wrote a story about an Alaska Airlines baggage handler-turned-entrepreneur by the name of Bill Boyer who created a new electronic entertainment system called the digEplayer. That device has remained mainstay on Alaska Airlines flights, with GeekWire columnist Frank Catalano reviewing the newest version after testing it on a recent flight.

Boyer’s company eventually was sold. But the entrepreneur is now back in the inflight entertainment system game with a company called Skycast Solutions. Today, Boyer and his team are showing off what they are calling the world’s first in-flight entertainment system that integrates directly in the tray table.

“Airlines face tough conflicting pressures to lower costs, increase their ancillary revenues, without resorting to higher fees. Today’s tech-savvy passengers expect and deserve a better onboard experience,” said Boyer in a statement. “The TrayVu IFE system was designed from the ground up to meet those challenges and expectations.”

What are the specs?

Weighing in at less than two pounds, the company says that the system is a fraction of the weight and cost of most seat-back systems. It also includes HD resolution on an 8.9 inch touch screen. The system just isn’t about movies and TV shows, with users of the high-tech tray able to input food and drink orders.

It is developed around a Samsung Galaxy tablet, utilizing an Android Honeycomb 3 platform.

UPDATE: I asked Skycast Chief Operating Officer A. Peter Parsons, the attorney and father of noted Seattle entrepreneur Pete Parsons, the obvious question. Why would anyone want to use an in-tray entertainment system in this era of iPhones, iPads and tablet computers.

Here’s what Parsons had to say:

Put a fully functional tablet at each seat and the impetus to drag out your PC or tablet is lessened. Personally, I pull out my MacBook only reluctantly because the Continental system is so limited. Our system (and several new entrants) give the passenger what the expect rather than something that feels like MS-DOS.

Previously on GeekWire: “Practical Nerd: Alaska Airlines’ digEplayer enjoys a long flight to obsolescence”

  • Brian Ratzliff

    I’ve met the team and am pulling for these guys.  They’re well aware of individual iPad and tablet use on planes, but airlines need to supply something.  Skycast has come up with an interesting technology and revenue sharing model.  I look forward to watching this one.

  • Marston_gould

    One of the huge challenges this is going to face is the regulations that would require the entire seat to become unavailable if for some reason the electronics in the tray were to not be working. This is one of the reasons that several airlines stayed away from seat back entertainment systems.