LCD Flat Panel Displays

Wouldn't it be nice to replace that bulky monitor on your desk with something smaller? Unfortunately, that is not possible with current video tube technology, which dictates that as screen size increases, the entire monitor size must increase to accommodate the larger CRT tube. However, that may change in the future as monitors could shrink to a fraction of their current size.

Monitor manufacturers, seeking to capitalize on the popularity of color LCD screens for laptop computers, have taken this technology one step further. Several manufacturers have developed flat-panel LCD screens that are designed to replace your existing desktop monitor. These screens, only one to two inches thick, are designed to mount vertically in a stand or even on your office wall. Television manufacturers are even designing models intended to replace your living room television set.

Flat-panel displays hold several advantages over existing CRT tubes. Foremost, they will take up significantly less desk space. The screen can be positioned further away from the user for better ergonomics. LCD screens also generate much less heat than CRT tubes, so large businesses may even save money by lowering air conditioning bills. Finally, flickering, which can be a problem with certain monitors and video cards under fluorescent lights, disappears entirely.

As with any new technology just coming to market, prices on flat-panel displays are much higher than conventional monitors. As of this writing, the cost for a 14-inch unit typically ranges from $1,500-2,000 [Editor's note--a 15-inch model now costs about $500!]. However, as with the smaller laptop screens, as manufacturing yields improve, demand increases, and competition rises, prices are expected to fall over time.

May 1998

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