Old fashioned cathode-ray tube computer monitors -- bulky, hot, and sometimes hard on the eyes -- are headed the way of black-and-white TVs if this week's Computex trade show in Taiwan is a guide.
A seemingly endless array of flat-screen makers are hawking sleek designs to a public happy to pay roughly three times the price of a cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitor, leading to a scarcity of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and higher prices.
"You'll find the CRT monitors will virtually disappear," predicted Andrew De Jong, director of Dreamworks IT, a small Australian PC distributor.
A Taiwan market research firm predicts flat LCD screens will make up nearly half of a forecast 141 million monitor sales in 2005, compared with less than 15 percent of 106 million monitors shipped globally last year.
Rising LCD sales and prices sent the stock of LCD makers soaring at the beginning of 2002, although the shares have since eased a bit and some analysts warn of a looming supply glut. Deutsche Bank has an "underweight" rating on the sector.
The advantages of the flat monitors are clear: They take up less desktop space, generate less heat, use less power and their slim design is less visually obtrusive. In affluent Asian cities where space is scarce, flat screens are especially popular.
"We are selling space," said Aaron Chen, general manager of Taipei-based Video-Com Technologies Ltd, a maker of flat screen and CRT monitors, as he wooed buyers at Computex, the global computer industry's third-largest trade show.