By Joe Wilcox(edited by me
Staff Writer,CNET News.com/October 20, 2000, 11:45 a.m. PT
This year, it could be a flat-panel holiday.
Prices on desktop flat-panel monitors are falling fast because of a sudden glut of inventory, which could well make them one of the most attractive high-ticket items this holiday season.
Many companys that have a warehouse full of product because of oversupply right now, and they will be dumping it," said Herb Berkwits, senior product manager for Viewsonic.
Flat-panel monitors rely on liquid crystal display (LCD) panels like those used in notebook computers. Prices on these monitors will soon likely drop to the $599 range or lower when coupled with rebates, according to analysts and retailers. That compares with an average price tag of more than $950 just three months ago. Similarly, notebook prices should also drop.
Shortage of LCD glass has kept notebook prices relatively high in comparison with desktops. Supply has now improved and has resulted in a glut, at least for now.
Although prices will decline over time, the fire sale atmosphere could be temporary, warned Rhoda Alexander, an analyst with Stanford Resources. "Prices are going down, but they will go back up again," she said. "You have to know when to buy. We have a glut for the moment, but we will go back to the shortage situation when the demand pushes up again."
In the last six weeks, prices have dropped about $200 on 15-inch displays and as much as $400 on some 18-inch models. Well-known brands such as NEC, Samsung and Viewsonic are selling for as little as $799 for the first time, with some 15-inch flat-panel displays going for less than $699.
Although this is good for consumers, manufacturers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Many manufacturers are stuck with displays that cost them more to make than those hitting the market during the glut. Monitor makers may discount to remain competitive and empty warehouses, but they also will be selling many displays at a loss.
One of the big questions now is: How low will the prices go?
"We've had some recent price action from some of our manufacturers that started us in the right direction to get us to $599 by the Christmas holiday season," said Kim Stevens, head of product management for online retailer PC Connection. PC Connection sells four flat-panel displays for less than $800, such as the KDS Radius S-3F for around $680, the Samsung SyncMaster 570S at $750, and the IBM 9483 for $769. Rival PC Mall already advertises one flat-panel display at $599 but with two caveats: The monitor is refurbished and comes with an $80 mail-in rebate to get the low price.
Even if prices stall at $700, analysts predict aggressive bundling of small PCs and 15-inch flat-panel monitors for around $1,500 or even lower.
"By Christmas time, you're going to see bundles coming out in the $1,500 range. That's with a small form-factor (PC) and small form-factor LCD," Alexander said. "If (retailers) start to get those down to that $1,000 window, they'll really start to attract attention. But I don't think they'll get it down at this time."
"It's consumer beware," Alexander said. "There's no question there will be some products out there at $599 on the 15-inch side, but people have to look at viewing angle and some of these other areas like dead pixels on the screen."
More compelling than the lowest-priced flat-panel displays may be price drops on higher-quality models down to the $800 and $900 range. These use better LCD panels and tend to offer other features, such as both analog and digital connectors. Lower-cost models tend to use only analog, which is supported by more graphics cards but doesn't deliver as crisp or clear an image.
Besides the increase in the number of manufacturing plants, other factors are expected to drive down the cost of flat-panel displays. Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers are benefiting "from component costs nicely dropping and higher yields, where they don't have to trash as many panels," Haruki said.
i know its a long article(cut it in half), but it didnt even get into people spending less due to higher interest rates(everything will be dropping) and the fact that Christmas could help or hurt Flat monitor sales. I think we'll find much better deals than the ones mentioned in the article.