TECH NOUS Class Monitors

Within the next three years up to 90 percent of all computer monitors sold around the world will be LCD (Liquid Crystal Diode) monitors. That’s the prediction of Philips marketing manager Scott Wright.

Big, ugly CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors that have traditionally dominated the office landscape will soon be relegated to the junk heap as slimmer, more efficient, LCD monitors take their place.

LCD monitors offer businesses not just savings in desk space, but also lower power consumption (good news for our hydro lakes), and lifespan twice that of CRT monitors (they don’t suffer the same image degradation as CRT screens). Add to this the fact that LCD technology has zero flicker, thereby reducing eye strain and fatigue, as well as less refraction or glare; and you know you’re staring at the future of computer screens.

Philips, which has 26 percent share of the display market in New Zealand, has experienced huge growth in LCD sales this year and is predicting LCD to overtake CRT sales by the end of the year. This trend will be mirrored worldwide.

“LCD is taking off in massive way now that the pricing differential is comparable,” says PC peripherals product manager Ash Johns. “LCD is the present and the future.” He advises people to buy their monitors not on price, but on picture quality. “There is nothing worse than getting your new monitor home only to find annoying pixel defects.”

Any price difference between the old and new technologies is easily made up in power savings, as LCD monitors use just one third the power typical CRT monitor uses. I’m told the TFT technology behind Philips’ LCD monitors uses 23 watts of power on average, compared to CRT’s 80 watts. They also generate less heat, so expect the load on your air-conditioning system to go down.

LCD monitors have had some catching up to do in regards to picture performance, including pixel response time (refresh rate), colour matching and brightness, but many experts now believe they’re right up there with CRT monitors, satisfying everyone bar discerning graphics pros, DVD-watchers, and gamers.

Meanwhile, Philips has taken another technological leap forward in monitors with its new DesXcape detachable monitor. This wireless LCD display allows you to unplug your computer monitor and roam around the office or home using the latest WiFi technology.

Weighing only 2.4 kilograms, and with 15-inch touch-screen and five hour battery life, the DesXcape can roam within the wireless environment up to 90 metres away. The monitor comes with its own docking station which transforms it into an LCD computer when needed, plus built-in virtual keyboard, touch pad, handwriting recognition, and wireless keyboard.

I can see the DesXcape becoming popular with creative types who don’t want to be desk-bound while in the middle of brainstorming session.

But don’t expect LCD monitors to be the be-all and end-all in viewing technology. Plasma technology is giving the LCD screen run for its money, particularly in the 40-inch and above category. Both technologies have their advantages: LCD wins on less screen burn-in, longevity, PC compatibility, and voltage, while plasma is ahead on contrast, colour saturation, viewing angle, video playback, and size versus cost.

My bet is that plasma will be the clear winner in the large-screen stakes. For comparison between plasma and LCD, see

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to Management. Email: [email protected]

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