What the average geektimes reader does while hovering in the clouds

    Perhaps you do not know, but some airlines have finally realized that when literally every grandmother has a smartphone, you can radically save on the fleet and suddenly increase the level of service.

    The operator’s train of thought is something like this: why buy a liner with a TV in each headrest (or carry out a deep modernization, if at all possible), if films, music and cartoons can be broadcast directly into the passenger’s pocket?

    I love it. If only because the screens built into the seats are, to put it mildly, terrible, and the headphones connected to them are also so-so, to be honest. I am already silent that in the economy there are so broken connectors that the headphones either wheeze or are deaf in one ear. And yes, I still can not afford a business class.

    In general, at least one airline already has this option in the form of a Wi-Fi media server with broadcasting content to passenger devices on board the Airbus A320 and A320neo. I found out about this, you will not believe it, from the usually not carrying particularly useful information pre-flight message of the ship's commander. Details, as was said - in the logbook.

    Since there was nothing to do, I set about the good old reading. It turned out that, firstly, you need to connect to the on-board Wi-Fi network. And secondly, if you have a smartphone or tablet in your hands, then it would be nice to have a proprietary app (available for iOS and Android), and if you use a laptop, then nothing is needed, and so it will work.

    Without a branded app, only access to music and books is promised. Movies and cartoons are added with a branded app or laptop.

    Interestingly, the description of installing the app for Android turned out to be different for the A320 and A320neo. For example, if you believe the instructions, then you need to have time to download the app flying to the A320 before departure (as well as owners of iOS devices), but the lucky ones on the new A320neo can install the application at any time (obviously, loading from the internal server is provided), you just need to courage and allow installation from unknown sources.

    Since my flight was operated on an A320, and I didn’t find a proprietary application (and laptop too), I was literally in the span. But, you see, it was boring. And with melancholy, I still connected to the network, hoping that if there is a streaming server, then you can look for the address of the stream, and Android will somehow figure out what to do next.

    Having connected to the liner's internal Wi-Fi network, I saw on the screen a standard login screen with a primitive browser, where the media portal is displayed by default.

    Since I was primarily interested in the video, I chose a cartoon with a reptiloid. A note suggested that you won’t be able to see without an app, but would you really stop me? I boldly pressed the play button.

    It is hard to say what I was hoping to see, but I received an error message in which I drew attention to the JSON link:

    Of course, I selected and opened it. In the end, one must once begin to play text quests. At this step, I really liked the link to the file with the promising name Manifest_MD.mpd:

    And she did not fail. In the manifesto, among many things that I don’t understand (I remind you that I am an average reader of Geektimes), there was also a way to what I tried to find - a file with a cartoon.

    Since I am not very confident in compiling the URL, I spent a few more time getting the correct full path and voila:

    More precisely, not quite voila. It turned out that Android knows what to do with MPEG, but remains at a loss when it encounters DRM protection. At the same time, however, all movies can be downloaded to the smartphone’s memory.

    In general, I admired the little squares jumping around the screen, as a symbol of what I can still read, and there I fell asleep.

    And while I was sleeping, I dreamed that it’s not quite right, it’s probably right to simply download content and let anyone walk around the media server bypassing its interface.

    And I also dreamed that aerophobes should not worry about this: the media server is isolated from the flight control computer, so even the most ingenious hacker will not be able to play flight sim.

    TL; DR: I got on a plane without downloading the proprietary application, fell asleep without looking at the bedtime story. Do not do like me.

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