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-- by Jim Forbes
A whole new desktop monitor category is headed your way this year, and the models on view so far show a lot of promise. Based on LCD panels, the products use passive-matrix technology from Sharp, among others, and will be sold by companies such as Portrait Display Labs and Panasonic. There's improvement all around: Viewers get big-screen images on smaller monitors.
The only thing not to love is the cost. Though desktop LCD monitors have been around for some time, vendors have charged up to $5,000 for desktop SVGA LCD color monitors with 13-, 14- or 15-inch viewing areas. The new generation of 15-inch and 17-inch color monitors, however, features price tags of $1,500. They typically have a maximum resolution of 1024x768 pixels.
While most vendors have so far marketed LCD-based versions of CRT technology, one is now taking a different path. Early this year, Portrait Display Labs introduced dual-scan, passive-matrix versions of the PageView and PageMaster pivoting monitors it's traditionally sold (pictured)
Although they still cost about twice as much as color displays that rely on CRT technology, analysts say LCD displays offer a number of advantages. "They take up a lot less desk space, never need to be focused and have no significant emissions," noted analyst Jon Peddie, who specializes in display technology.
LCD monitors also require less power than CRT products. For example, the PageView LCD needs only 30 watts, while a CRT-based equivalent might need 160 watts.
This market is still small-about 1 million of the 60 million units expected to sell in 1997 will be LCD models. But with advances in manufacturing technologies, LCD panels are now more available, driving down costs. If and when a 17-inch color LCD panel costs $900 or less, the market could take off.
Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.