Pantel specializes in outdoor, weather-resistant TVs, and the firm’s 42-inch set features a rugged black enclosure with fan cooling and extensive water-resistant details, along with ATSC and NTSC tuners and on-board audio system. Even the remote control itself is waterproof, and Pantel claims an IP56 dust/water ingress protection rating for the set.
The set is quite beefy and includes a solid metal tabletop stand that features bolt holes to safely secure the set outdoors, and it can be wall-mounted with standard wall-mount fixtures. It also includes a wireless A/V adapter along with two rear panel Wi-Fi-type antennae that permit wireless standard definition (but not HD) signal transmission from up to 150 feet away.
The Pantel’s on-screen menu system is both clear and concise, with large fonts and numerically denoted slider bars for the various adjustments. The set comes with the usual assortment of picture preset options found on most other LCD TVs, including variable backlighting, although the range between the lowest and highest settings isn’t very much (roughly 25 percent or so). Still, the ability to drop the overall brightness for nighttime viewing is a plus.
Mostly good news here—the remote features large buttons, with color-coded key caps and direct source access buttons, along with a button to adjust the set’s variable backlighting. Unlike most remotes that are powered by AA or AAA batteries, the Pantel’s remote is powered by a CR2032 lithium disc battery and can only be replaced by unscrewing the back panel (which ensures the remote’s waterproofing).
Note: The following recommended settings were obtained using a Samsung Blu-ray player, set to 720p output, and connected to the set via HDMI, using the recently released Digital Video Essentials HD Basics Blu-ray test and set-up disc. Having a test DVD and/ or HD disc on hand is really the only way to ensure that your source components and the display are properly adjusted, especially with respect to the brightness and contrast controls.
The Pantel is a very good performer in most respects and has the right combination of features and picture quality that make it ideal for an outdoor installation. The wireless A/V input feature works quite well, which allows for standard-definition viewing from a source well away from the set. The cabinet is well-constructed, and the set’s IP56 ingress protection rating indicates true weather resistance.