updated 12:51 pm EDT, Tue July 2, 2013
Live TV promoted by iPad giveaway to passengers on flight
Satellite TV provider Dish Network will be providing free live TV to passengers on Southwest Airlines flights. The service, titled TV Flies Free, will be available on more than 400 Southwest planes with Wi-Fi onboard, and will offer up to 75 on-demand shows at no charge, as well as access to 13 live-streaming channels.
Passengers wanting to use the service will need to use their own smartphone or tablet in order to view content through the Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfers apps, and despite the Dish branding, viewers will not be required to be Dish customers. As part of the service's launch, 100 Southwest passengers were presented with a free iPad 2, while new Dish customers opting for a Hopper DVR will receive Southwest frequent flier points and the option for an iPad.
The addition of free live TV over Wi-Fi is the latest addition to in-flight entertainment in order for airlines to attract customers. While Southwest currently offers Wi-Fi to its customers, competing airline JetBlue already offers live TV through DirecTV, and though it does not currently offer in-flight Wi-Fi, it hopes to launch the service in partnership with ViaSat later this Summer.