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Southwest Airlines Previews Live TV Inflight on Five Aircraft

Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with inflight Wi-Fi service provider Row 44, is taking the next step in wireless inflight entertainment with a preview of live TV on five of the carrier’s aircraft, with plans to expand to 20 aircraft by mid-July. It was announced Thursday, June 28.

Customers on these select planes will now have the option to purchase live TV consisting of seven sports and news channels, and view on their personal devices.

“We are excited to give our Customers new options for inflight entertainment,” said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines chief marketing officer. “We believe our Customers will enjoy the opportunity to access live TV, in addition to Wi-Fi, using their personal devices, and we look forward to their feedback on the product.”

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Earlier, leading digital interactive entertainment company Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA) announced that Pogo, its online gaming destination, will make three of its games available for free on Gogo’s new in-air multimedia platform, which is currently live on all Gogo equipped Alaska Airlines and select Delta Air Lines flights. (Read: Pogo to Fly with Gogo In-Air Multimedia Platform)

“Row 44 believes live inflight television is a highly desired element of inflight entertainment,” said John LaValle, Row 44 CEO.

Flight Attendants will notify the Southwest customers who are onboard a TV-enabled Wi-Fi aircraft. Those interested in using the TV service during this preview period will have the opportunity to log on to the service through the Wi-Fi portal via their personal Wi-Fi-enabled device (tablets, laptops, Wi-Fi-enabled smart phones, etc).

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Live TV is offered as a separate charge from Wi-Fi, so customers do not have to purchase Wi-Fi to purchase live TV.  The airline will evaluate different price points from $3 to $8 throughout the trial period, with instructions on how to access live TV available via a link on the Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi portal.

Southwest Airlines will offer seven live TV channels on these five aircraft so that customers can stay abreast of the latest news or sports scores while flying at 35,000 feet. The channels are NBC Sports, MLB live games from MLB.com, NFL Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and Fox Business News.

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