Bigger is better, as is greener, while LCD is slowly gaining popularity over plasma, according to vendors BenQ, NEC Display Solutions and Panasonic.
Ajen Laio, managing director of BenQ UK, points to the new 16:9 aspect ratio screens as likely winners in next year’s consumer market. Previous 16:10 screens displayed video with black bars framing the top and bottom of the picture.
BenQ’s latest range – the E900HD and G900HD – includes what it calls
ultra-green 16:9, 720 progressive scan, high-definition LCD panels, promising
300 nitere brightness in a two-lamp design, with reductions in carbon and
“The cheapest product is usually the best seller. But many people are willing to invest in larger screens with good picture quality,” said Laio.
BenQ’s best-selling LCD, the 241W, was actually launched in 2007. Sales have
remained strong for the 24in model.
This year, the market for LCD monitors has shifted focus from the 17in to 19in, with buyers now opting for 22in screens or larger.
“We thought that 17in to 19in was big, but now people are looking to 22in. It
is no longer expensive and for most people who deploy networks at home, it is
not just about monitors but about game playing and movies,” said Laio.
The business market is following a similar trajectory, as people expect their workplaces to have technology that is at least as good – if not better – than what they enjoy at home.
“In the business market, we are seeing the most popular monitors as 19in to
22in with height adjustability,” he said.
The most desired screen sizes for business monitors, Laio believes, will get even bigger when businesses start investing in larger desks. Even schools and other public sector institutions use multimedia and wish to benefit from larger displays.
SMEs lag behind corporates and consumers because of their budget limitations and smaller premises, but will also be looking to trade up in the next few years as technology is refreshed, he said.
Easier being green
Simeon Joseph, product manager at NEC Display Solutions, agreed that customers are increasingly preferring 22in and even 24in screens over 17in or 19in monitors.
He said the shift around increasing screen sizes has confirmed that environmental friendliness is a strong selling point with both consumers and business customers. Green features save running costs – an attractive proposition in tough economic times.
"That is a major push we are making right now,” said Joseph.
Neil Hartigan, channel director at NEC, said the vendor is seeing good take-up of large LCD public display screens, especially in the public sector.
“NEC is saving power with models that allow control of power consumption and
carbon use, some with built-in software that lets you see by how much you are
carbon footprint,” he said.
NEC’s new Enterprise Standard LCD series, starts with the 22in MultiSync E221W for home office to entry-level corporate deployment. It has an integrated carbon footprint meter that shows the quantity of CO2 emissions that can be saved over the running time of the device, according to the vendor.
Hartigan added that widescreen is continuing to displace the standard screen
form factor on the desktop and that is a key driver in the LCD market.
Eco-savings are also accelerating that adoption as more energy-efficient
technology is released.
Similar trends are driving both the public display and computer monitor markets, he added.
In the public display market, whether to buy LCD or plasma screens has often proven a source of confusion, especially as LCD technology changes and develops.
LCD versus plasma
According to screen vendor, Panasonic, LCD is at its optimum performance up to and including 37in, but plasma offers optimum performance at the larger sizes. Both live for about 60,000 hours and are similarly energy efficient, although plasma fluctuates according to the brightness of a scene.
Some 61 per cent of respondents to a Panasonic survey perceived plasma as offering the best performance compared to LCD, indicated by criteria such as sharper pictures and better colour.
BenQ’s Laio said, however, that LCD has improved significantly in recent years and is likely to win out over plasma for large displays and home theatre as customers’ perceptions of the technology change.
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