Slow start for flat panel monitors says analyst

Market research company Stanford Resources predict a slow start for flat panel monitors, with CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors remaining the standard until at least 2004.

Flat panel monitors reduce light reflection and give a sharper, more accurate picture. Steve Baker, senior hardware analyst for PC Data says "they give a better picture, they take up less space and they look good."

According to Stanford Resources, it is the monitors' price that continues to hobble the technology.

Baker says prices for CRT monitors have dropped significantly "in the last year or so" and despite a drop in the price of flat panel monitors, the older technology still represents a far cheaper option.

Ian Conchie, senior support engineer for monitor manufacturer iiyama agrees, but offers a technical rather than economic explanation: graphics cards take a digital signal, convert it to analogue and send it to a flat panel monitor where it is converted back to digital. "Unless you move to a digital interface," says Conchie, "you will not have a decent picture. This is one of the reasons why flat panel monitors are not doing so well. With a CRT monitor you pay far less, plug it in and you are ready to go, bar a bit of tweaking. People are not ready to pay more money for something that is harder to get up and running."

One source, who requested anonymity, believes flat panel monitors will continue to play exclusively in niche markets - such as dealing rooms - unless a major manufacturer lowers the prices "dramatically".


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