2009 PRO AV Brand Leaders

As readers of PRO AV have come to know, the installations profiled in the magazine and online are a pretty good indicator of what product brands their colleagues generally specify or install. Still, we asked readers which brands they use most.
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2009 PRO AV Brand Leaders

As readers of PRO AV have come to know, the installations profiled in the magazine and online are a pretty good indicator of what product brands their colleagues generally specify or install. Still, we asked readers which brands they use most.

As readers of PRO AV have come to know, the installations profiled in the magazine and online are a pretty good indicator of what product brands their colleagues generally specify, install, or use. Glance through enough equipment lists and you get an idea of which systems are popular.

But it's never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, and while a certain AV project may have included one particular flat-panel display system, for example, that same integrator knows enough to offer different brands for different situations (LCD vs. plasma, commercial-grade vs. consumer, etc.). Often they have distinct relationships with a variety of manufacturers, or they eye certain brands for the support they receive.

So PRO AV asked its readers which brands they use most–and not just their top brands, but also the ones they go to when their flagship is inappropriate, unavailable, ruled out by the client, or otherwise not the first choice in a given situation. In April, we invited PRO AV integrators, installers, consultants, and end-users to take an exclusive online survey and asked them their brand preferences in 23 AV product categories. More than 250 AV pros completed the survey, and while not every participant had experience with products in every category, their feedback was compelling. Among the "top" trends in the study:

  • Top Dog: Extron. In effect, where Extron sells products for signal management, AV pros follow. They're the Pro AV Brand Leader in switching, scaling, signal amplification, and fiber transmission.
  • Top Two-Vendor Race: Crestron vs. AMX. When it comes to touch panels, these are the go-to brands. As for back-end control systems, the two giants are also fairly dominant, but Extron's ability to handle control functions puts it in the race.
  • Top Clear-Cut Leaders: Shure, JBL. In several categories, the Brand Leader is clearly the leader, but it's especially evident when AV pros are asked about their microphone and speaker providers.
  • Top Vote-Getter: Da-Lite. For projection screens, a whopping 79 percent of respondents say Da-Lite is among their top two choices.
  • Top Crowded Race: Projectors. Although one brand comes out on top (Christie and Sanyo, in two different categories), there are clearly a lot of good projector brands for people to choose from.
  • Top Indication It's Not All About AV: Lutron. The fact that Lutron is the Brand Leader among lighting control makers might not be a surprise. But the fact that more AV pros have an opinion on lighting controls (213) than, say, touch panels (198) indicates this market is well down the road in making lighting one of its core competencies.

We even asked AV professionals about that most nascent and confusing of product categories: digital signage. On the following pages, PRO AV presents its inaugural 2009 Brand Leaders. Happy shopping.

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