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LCD Computer Monitor Prices Stabilize After Two-Year Drop

LCD monitor prices have halted their almost two-year long skid, and with demand now outstripping manufacturing for some screen sizes, prices are expected to remain stable and possibly rise slightly going into the holiday selling season.

The primary impetus behind this is the manufacturing shift to larger 17-inch and 19-inch panels in the various vendors’ Generation Five fabrication plants.

The mother-glass produced in these new facilities is geared toward producing larger size panels, which is creating a shortage of the smaller variety.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, explained Monica Islas, Samsung’s product manager for monitors. With prices sitting still on the 15-inch monitors it gives the manufacturers a chance to catch up to demand, she said. For 17-inch LCDs the effect is even more important. These products still generate a healthy profit margin, so halting the price drop is enabling companies to help their bottom lines, Islas said.

Still, Samsung sees 17-inch monitor prices declining a bit more before leveling off. Islas said there is more room for this to happen with the 19-inch models.

Stan Glasgow, Sony’s display marketing VP, does not expect manufacturing capacity to catch up to demand until the first quarter of 2004, which will result in LCD pricing remaining stable until that time.

In addition to the manufacturing issue, Glasgow said the instant popularity of LCDs with consumers was the other reason for the tight supply situation.

“We saw the demand immediately shift over to LCD,” he said, adding that the LCD monitor attach rate to Sony’s Vaio PCs is about 70 percent.