A silent price war between LCD flat-panel display manufacturers has caused LCD prices to fall steadily during the past six months. That descent is about to dip even lower, according to an industry source who does not expect a nadir in flat-panel prices until the winter holiday season.
"We've been in a [flat-panel] price war for a good six months," the source said. "But expect new price points in the next couple of weeks. You will see the lowest average selling prices for flat panels ever. I don't see the price decline bottoming out until the end of the year."
Aggressive competitive pricing - expected as early as next week from NEC-Mitsubishi - could be the catalyst for an escalated flat-panel price war, the source said.
NEC officials are already talking tough. "We're going to be making a significant announcement; a very clear indication of our desire to maintain our No 1 brand share," said Al Giazzon, a vice president of marketing at NEC. Giazzon stopped short of predicting a price war but did say that NEC will flex its "ability to pass along manufacturing savings to [its] customers."
The arrival of 15-inch LCDs for under £500 and sub-£800 17-inch LCDs would be added incentive to buy LCD displays, which already pay dividends in a number of other ways, according to Martin Reynolds, a research fellow at Gartner, an industry think tank.
Reynolds said LCD monitors are better on the eyes, offer "significant space savings," create less heat, and consume "about half the power" of CRT monitors.
When analog interfaces are removed from flat-panel monitors altogether, the cost of LCDs will drop around another £100, according to NEC's Giazzon.