NEC slashes prices on flat-panel monitors

NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America Inc. on Wednesday dramatically dropped the prices of its flat-panel LCD monitors, discounting its 15-inch displays by US$200 and its 18-inch displays by more than $700.

The 15-inch NEC LCD1530V is now priced at $549 and the 18-inch NEC MultiSync LCD1830 and MultiSync LCD1800 are now available for $1,149, according to Al Giazzon, vice president of NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America.

The aggressive price cuts are part of an effort by NEC-Mitsubishi to widen the adoption of flat-panel monitors in corporations and homes.

"We think particularly the 18-inch pricing will be the trigger point for corporate adoption," Giazzon said. "We've gotten great feedback from our retailers as well."

Lower flat-panel prices would be one more incentive for companies to switch to LCD displays, which already pay dividends in a number of other ways, according to Martin Reynolds, research fellow with Gartner Group, in Stamford, Conn. Reynolds said LCD monitors are better on the eyes, offer significant space savings, and consume about half the power of CRT monitors.

Power conservation is an increasingly important issue, particularly in California where Governor Gray Davis last week signed two bills providing more than $800 million for energy conservation programs.

Companies looking to save with flat panels shouldn't shy from the initial investment, Reynolds said.

"Yes, they've got a bigger capital investment up front, but now they're saving on both power cost and air conditioning cost, which I'm telling you this summer is going to be a big deal," Reynolds said.

The current industry transition from analog flat-panel interfaces to digital interfaces will also help drive the price of flat-panel monitors even lower, while drastically improving their resolution, Reynolds said.

When analog interfaces are removed from flat-panel monitors altogether, the cost of flat-panel monitors will drop another $150, according to NEC's Giazzon.

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