Where is the outdoor A/V entertainment market headed?

The outdoor A/V market is definitely growing in 2011. We have already started to see an increase in sales with our dealers and distributors, almost twice as much sales as the year before. We are also seeing new building projects beginning to increase, which also drive up our commercial sales.

Where do the product innovations lie in weatherproof flat panels?

We use specialty high brightness LCD panels made by LG and Sharp. We use an AR (Anti-reflective) and IR (Infra-red) blocker on our glass, so you do not get the blacking out in the LCD or the bright reflection on a sunny day. There is a photo cell in each unit so that when the sun hits our units, it brightens up the LCD. And when it is dark, it automatically dims down the LCD so that you have the proper amount of light coming from the flat panel.

Does a typical outdoor installation use the flat panel’s built in speakers or separate units for the audio?
Our units come with built-in speakers. However, many who buy our products like to install mono, stereo, or surround sound speaker systems throughout their backyards. Rock speakers are very popular complements to our TVs. They blend in very well and can be placed throughout the yard, so depending where the TV is placed, even well away from a covered patio and out in the elements, the rock speakers can be very close to the TV as well as throughout the yard for equal audio coverage.

Is there a large difference between outdoor weatherproof equipment/flat panels for different markets, such as residential vs. commercial?
The differences between residential and commercial use of our product is vast. Residentially, our outdoor TV line is used exclusively since residential use is somewhat “generic”, meaning where the TV is placed and in what type of natural elements the TV will have to work in are the main factors. Of course there are different needs and situations for residential use, but that’s why we have different residential models to choose from. In the commercial world, customers use both our outdoor TV line and our outdoor digital signage line, depending on their specific needs. Commercially, our products are used a lot as the hardware to market a customer’s products and services. Different situations warrant a different style TV.

What is Pantel’s most popular product, and why?
The Pantel PAN421 (42″ Outdoor TV) is our most popular product because of its size, cost, and durability. It has so many great uses both residentially and commercially.

How does the lowering cost of outdoor TVs help retailers and installers market/sell weatherproof flat panels to potential customers?

Well, as the economy continues to recover and at this time of year when people are beginning to entertain outdoors again, those are two points that dealers/installers need to drive home to potential customers….”If not now, when?” Plus, just like any other type of electronics, as technology increases year after year, new, less expensive yet still high quality units continue to enter the market. So, depending on a customer’s budget, most anyone who can afford a nice outdoor entertaining area can finally once again afford to invest in that area with video. They’ll be sorry during an upcoming Father’s Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day weekend BBQ when everyone’s outside but they also want to watch the ball game or televised fireworks.

Does Pantel have some new products coming up in the near future?

Two things we are working on for the future are our outdoor LED and our composite model outdoor TV. We hope to be releasing our outdoor LED TV sometime in 2012. The LED unit will use less power and be a lot thinner and lighter than our current LCD. We hope to have our composite model TVs out sometime this year.

Ryan Moodley is national accounts manager for Pantel Corp. Originally from Durbin, South Africa, Moodley started with Pantel in 2008 whereas he also added trade show manager to his resume. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo, and a master’s degree from Cleveland State University. An entrepreneur/business owner himself before entering the A/V market, Moodley is a 1st degree black belt and also counts weight lifting, personal training and outdoor activities such as fishing and camping as favorite activities outside the office.