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United Airlines to launch free in-flight video streaming service, but for iOS only

iDevice-owning passengers flying with United Airlines could soon have hundreds more movies and TV shows to choose from as part of a new in-flight service set to roll out next month.

Fliers with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 7 or later will be able to choose from 150 movies and around 200 TV shows, with the service offered free of charge, United said. All a passenger has to do is download the United app onto their device.

United appears to suggest that those with Mac computers will also be able to take advantage of the addition to its in-flight entertainment, though Android and other platforms are not currently supported, with no word on whether this might change.

The service is set to be rolled out on a range of aircraft among its fleet, including the Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 747-400 and some of its 777-200 planes. Additional types of aircraft will have the service added over time, with United planning to have it up and running on “most” domestic aircraft by the end of this year.

Of course, United isn’t the first carrier to offer an in-flight service like this. Southwest Airlines, for example, teamed up with Dish Network last summer to offer passengers with smartphones and tablets free access to on-demand content as well as more than 10 live television channels.

Also, Lufthansa, Germany’s national carrier, is reported to be planning a cross-platform entertainment service for smartphone and tablet owners, allowing passengers to not only watch movies and TV, but also place orders for food and drink.

Though services like these certainly offer fliers more choice when it comes to in-flight entertainment, if the seat has no USB port or other power outlet, battery power becomes a serious issue. With this in mind, passengers are advised to charge their device fully before getting on the plane, or to bring a battery pack with them to provide extra juice.

While United’s service will no doubt be welcomed by owners of Apple-made devices, many Android users and those on other platforms will surely be wondering why the airline couldn’t find the resources to roll it out for their devices too. Better hope the seat-back entertainment system is up to it (or simply pre-load your device with your own content).

[via Patently Apple]

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