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Slow conquest in Latin America

altOn the subject of projection screens for residential use, experts agree that for the final consumer design and size prevail over the quality and type of technology. In Latin America, the cost of the product is a determining factor.

by: María Cecilia Hernández

The audiovisual market in Latin America has a strong challenge to overcome, an obstacle that it will have to overcome on the direct road to globalization. This struggle corresponds to the industry of projection screens for residential use and has to do with its slow incursion into The Latin commercial dynamics in contrast to the popularity and great acceptance that this product has gained in North American and European territories.

experts say that this type of equipment for home use has not been positioned with the same impetus around the globe, and consider that in Latin America trade opening has been slower than what is needed for this industry to be significant in economic terms for entrepreneurs in the sector.

As eric García, representative for Latin America of the North American company Elite Screens, explains, the economic situation of crisis that has been occurring a little less than two years ago has hit the Latin markets hard, and the audiovisual sector is no exception. However, the expert assures that nothing affects this business more than the foreign policy of each country, where the import and export processes are very wasteful and, above all, the costs are significantly high.

"You have to have the base value of the product, and to this we must add what it costs entrepreneurs to import the products, plus customs taxes, among other items. So when it comes to selling a piece of equipment, a projection screen in this case, prices skyrocket and it becomes an item that is difficult to acquire for the end user," says García.

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Cost is different from value
This opinion is shared by Joaquín Rivera, Director of Sales for North America of Stewart Filmscreen Corp., who affirms that this business "is in its infancy when it comes to Latin America, but it is not precisely because of the responsibility of consumers, since they always demand the same thing anywhere in the world: quality, design and user experience. Value is not the same as cost."

The entrepreneur adds that he recognizes the potential purchasing power that exists in this region of the planet but assures that, as the level of sales is currently presented, it is not a representative audience for the business. "Our company has been present in the Latin American market since 1940 and I can say with certainty that just a very short time ago Latino customers have begun to pay attention to the technology of projection screens for residential use, we hope that soon this industry will have greater incursion in that part of the American continent."

Latin America, according to Joaquín Rivera, has always been conservative on the issue of prices, but we know that they are willing to spend money when they are safe and there is a guarantee that it will be a good investment."

In contrast to this point of view, García states that in the countries of the center and south of the continent the price of an article is a determining factor since wage levels are far from North American wage levels, and in that sense the purchasing power decreases considerably.

"Prices must be on par with those of the United States because once the product leaves that country, prices skyrocket because of tariffs. So for items like residential projection screens to fully enter the Latino market, what must happen is a transformation from the state and the government, they must lower taxes and legal obstacles. Basically, marketing treaties must be modified in such a way that it is easy for companies to acquire any equipment abroad, regardless of its impact on their economy and, therefore, that they can sell it at a reasonable price so that the final consumer adopts the technologies for the price they can pay. " explains Eric Garcia.



Entertainment: the goal
A projection screen has various uses in the residential environment, entertaining is the fundamental objective.

According to Eric García, 95% of families buy a projection screen to use as a home theater, the remaining 5% give it other uses.

For his part, Rivera believes that "in the residential sector there are many ways in which a projection screen can be used, as it has the possibility of adapting to almost any environment. As home theater, multipurpose rooms, family rooms, games room, children's rooms, patio and field area or poolside."

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Finally, whatever its spatial location, a projection screen installed in a home will be, in most cases, for fun.

However, the entertainment would not be complete if technical, physical and space details are not taken into account, which allows projection screens to offer their best quality in the reproduction of images. That is why the recommendation of experts in the field is to seek advice for both the purchase and the installation of the equipment at home.

In the variety is pleasure
There are screens of different formats and made with different materials, each one provides different services.

The basic difference between a projection screen for residential use and others for school, commercial or business use, is the format of it. "For example, corporations use the 4:3 format which is a standard rectangular format. While the residential sector makes use of the 16:9 format, which is also rectangular but more elongated. Many of the films that have been coming out and those that are expected come in this last mentioned format, which is also called Wide Screen, "explains the entrepreneur of Elite Screens.

Not because it is for residential use the screens are basic or simple, these are equipment that have multiple characteristics, qualities and resources. Some screens are electric and motorized, that is, they make use of the technology of infrared remote controls; they have the ability to be connected through an RJ45 port, which can be used to synchronize the projector with the projection screen. This technology also allows automation systems to make use of it in such a way that with the touch of a button an entire safety mechanism can be activated.

Choose the type of fabric
Other elements that remain for the consideration of the end user can become decisive in the projection.

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The fabrics are very varied, from those with a velvet finish that increases the perception of contrast, to those made of silver in combination with multiple layers for the reproduction of bright colors.

In the case of fabrics that are used specifically for home theater, the standard is the so-called Matte White, although there are also gray materials, but this depends on the uses and light conditions of the space where the projection is going to be made.

Some screens have rigid frames that eliminate possible distortions in the image and others allow to be rolled, collected or 'saved' to save space.

Consumer needs
Stewart Filmscreen's North American sales director accepts that knowing the type of technology and the scope of each screen is essential, but sometimes buyers in the residential segment base their investment on the design and size of the screen.

Eric García complements this assessment by detailing a profile of the final consumer: "This is a person who has a need for entertainment and wants to go beyond conventional media, is willing to invest to have a home theater system and surely they are people who have a fondness for cinema and media."

Despite the slowness with which this product has penetrated the Latin markets, there is already evidence of a measured increase in sales: "In a span of five years we have seen significant growth and we expect this trend to continue like this. As far as our brand is concerned, we have had an increase in sales by 70% in the last five years, this is an estimate," says the representative of Elite Screens.

The companies are optimistic about the advances that the projection screen market has had for the residential sector and are confident that with the stabilization of the world economy they can venture with greater force in the Latin American territory.

Author: Santiago Jaramillo

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