The last frontier of screen ubiquity in Canada is about to be conquered. Are you ready to watch Hockey Night in Canada in your backyard?
In March, SunBriteTV, a California-based company that makes all-weather, outdoor televisions, is kicking off an aggressive expansion into the Canadian market. The company's first challenge: introducing not just the product, but the very idea to consumers.
"The whole idea of a television that's specifically built to play outside kind of goes against everyone's ingrained, conventional wisdom," says Tom Dixon, vice-president of marketing for SunBriteTV. "What we realized [is that] the vast amount of consumers don't even know that this product concept even exists."
The concept, however, might not be that much of a stretch. Screens are everywhere already: You practically can't get in a taxi or even a bathroom stall these days without one. Some people might think that backyards are an oasis away from screens and their monopoly on our attention, but marketers say a television out back gets the party started.
"Once people put these in their backyard, then they literally make excuses to have get-togethers," Dixon says. "It really, really puts an exclamation point on your backyard space. Now you're out there and you've got the big game, or you've got golf or you've got hockey playoffs. … Literally, it really increases outdoor interaction."
A handful of other companies, such as Luxurite and Kinytech, also make outdoor televisions, but they are still far from common in Canada.
The all-weather TVs are rainproof and built to last, Dixon says. Each comes equipped with cooling fans and vents to keep spiders and insects out. They feature high-haze LCDs and LEDs, which reduce ambient light reflections to cut down glare. They also come with rainproof remote controls.
Price-wise, it's certainly much cheaper to drag an ordinary television outdoors. The 32-inch television in SunBriteTV's Signature series comes with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,495 (U.S.). Most ordinary LED and LCD TVs that size retail for less than $300. The 46-inch TV in the Signature series costs $2,795 (U.S.), approximately more than four times the cost of an indoor TV that size.