Disclaimer: Hewlett-Packard Co. is a client of the Enderle Group.
Up until recently, large LCD screens were mostly for multimedia applications, and they had more to do with consumers watching TV than they did with actually doing real work.
This started to change a few weeks ago, as a new class of LCDs began to enter the market. While not as inexpensive as their predecessors, these flat-panel displays sport faster refresh rates, much higher resolutions and more accurate colors.
This class of product is for people who create things. Whether its Web page design, photography/movies/art, or advertising and print layout work, this is what the working creative professional has been waiting for in an LCD product.
Throughout this year we will see a major push by a number of vendors into this class. This competition will drive down prices, but technology will continue to advance, further increasing the performance of this high-end class and continuing to justify the premium prices it commands. Heres a look at a few of the products.
One of the first high-performance products out was the Sony PremierPro 23-inch wide flat-panel LCD. With a wide 16:10 aspect ratio and an incredible 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, this monitor could be used for content creation much more successfully than the TV LCDs that preceded it. This product was released at a $3,000 price point and has already dropped $400, showing the price pressure on this class of offering as well as the entry of powerful competitors.
One of the most powerful of those competitors is Hewlett-Packard Co., which entered the market last week with a very similar product, the HP F2304, which is priced nearly $500 below where the Sony now is at: $2,199 if you take the $100 mail-in rebate that is available with this product today.
While clearly still not cheap, the HP display maps to the Sony in virtually every critical area and provides one of the better values in this high-end segment—at least, until someone else picks up the gauntlet and lowers prices once again.
Samsung LCDs will
pummel plasma “> The big surprise in LCD displays is expected in July when Samsung releases its 46-inch high-definition LCD display. These displays are not only used in TVs but also for call centers, network operations centers, trading floors, lobbies, conference rooms and at conventions.
While plasma displays have typically been used in such venues, LCDs have more than three times the service life, are generally lighter and more power-efficient, and provide more accurate colors. With a 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution and a price of under $10,000, when this enters the market, Samsung will have the best price-to-performance ratio, as well.
While much of the news surrounding this product will be focused on the consumer TV segment, this will undoubtedly provide a better business vale than the plasma displays that are currently on the market and, at $10,000, businesses will be better able to justify the cost. For always-on use, this clearly showcases the fact that we are coming to the end of the plasma display and moving to another, more robust, technology.
The $10,000 price is due to relatively low initial manufacturing volumes and yields, so expect this too to drop sharply as we move into next year. Plasma is a dead-end technology without much of a future once LCD panels hit similar prices and sizes. It died out with mobile PCs within months of the introduction of comparable LCD panels. The same is likely here and should be factored into your purchase plans.
Be aware that there is another display technology beginning to roll to market: ePaper. Its actually shipping on products in Japan. These displays are on a new class of eBooks and, for resolution and cost, cant be beat.
The backers of ePaper have recently solved the color problem, suggesting this technology will move more broadly into the market over the next few years. And since the initial use of this technology was for billboard-class displays, expect them to arrive in impressive sizes relatively quickly. Ill keep you posted as related products come to market.
Change is in the wind, and this is one case where you will clearly see it with your own two eyes.
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