An in-flight entertainment system that isn’t terrible

No Alex today; she’s tragically germ-ridden and sighing weakly beneath a heap of duvets on her sofa. But, in spite of it all, she’s managed to communicate that I should share Kyle‘s Raspberry Pi in-flight entertainment system with you.

Kyle is far from impressed with the in-flight entertainment on most planes: the audio is terrible, the touchscreens are annoyingly temperamental, and the movie selection is often frustratingly limited. So, the night before a morning flight to visit family (congrats on becoming an uncle, Kyle! We trust you’ll use your powers only for good!), he hit upon the idea of building his own in-flight entertainment system, using stuff he already had lying around.

Yes, we know, he could just have taken a tablet with him. But we agree with him that his solution is way funner. It’s way more customisable too. Kyle’s current rushed prototype features a Raspberry Pi 3B+ neatly cable-tied into a drilled Altoids tin lid, which is fixed flush to the back of a 13.3-inch portable monitor with adhesive Velcro. He’s using VLC Media Player, which comes with Raspbian and supports a lot of media control functions straight out of the box; this made using his mouse and mini keyboard a fairly seamless experience. And a handy magnetic/suction bracket lets him put the screen in the back of the seat in front to the best possible use: as a mounting surface.

As Kyle says, “Is it ridiculous? I mean, yes, obviously it’s ridiculous, but would you ever consider doing something like this?”



is it really allowed to use a wireless mouse dongle or a wireles keyboard dongle in an air plane?


Yes, bluetooth devices have been allowed on aircraft for quite a long time now. There will be cordless headphones on every flight because the noise cancelling is very useful.
Some aircraft provide in flight WiFi.


that i didn’t know… thank you for the information.


I would be afraid that the TSA would think it was unusual and confiscated it or worse (like Star Simpson)


How does one convince VLC to play videos smoothly on a Pi? My 3B (not +) won’t do that, need to use OMXPlayer. I’ve been using TBOPlayer, just a GUI for OMXPlayer.


The build looks very pro – nice work!

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