Flat panel display dips below $900

CTX International reduced the price of a 14-inch LCD display to $899, one of the first at this price point.

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CTX International reduced the price of a 14-inch LCD display to $899, making the City of Industry, California, operation one of the first flat-panel manufacturers to break the $900 price barrier.

The PanoView 745 falls 16 percent from $1,072, indicative of the market's rapid decline this year. Previously too expensive for the mainstream market, lower-end flat-panel displays are beginning to reach price points occupied by top-line CRT monitors.

A 15-inch CRT--the functional equivalent of a 14-inch flat panel--typically sells in the $200 to $300 range. But vendors like IBM and Mitsubishi continue to offer premium models for more than $700.

Although the traditional CRT monitors remain the predominant display technology, accounting for 7.6 million units per quarter in the United States this year, flat-panel displays under the sub-$1,000 barrier have begun to pick up market share. according to market research firm Stanford Resources.

"As the displays drop below the $1,000 price point, sales are expanding beyond the niche markets," concluded a recent Stanford report. Currently, flat panels appear most frequently in ATMs; financial, medical, and transportation applications; and some touch-screen kiosks.

"Crossing the $1,000 price point is significant, as this figure represents a purchase barrier for many managers, requiring a signature of someone higher in the corporate chain before the purchase can be made," the report noted.

Besides Taiwan-based CTX, CRT and flat-panel heavyweights NEC and Mitsubishi are also below the $1,000 mark, along with several smaller vendors.

The PanoView 745 weighs 12.1 pounds, comes with two internal speakers, and offers 1024-by-768-pixel resolution. No special adaptations are required to plug it into a standard PC, according to the company.