Rise in LCD-Panel Prices Squeeze PC Makers and Consumers

Shifts in thin-film-transistor liquid crystal display production here may bring changes to the product mix offered by PC makers to customers in the U.S. and Europe. Analysts said recently that manufacturing transitions and market demands will bring something unfamiliar to consumers of flat-panel displays: a rise in prices. For the first half of 2003, the dramatic fall in prices for LCD screens encouraged U.S. PC vendors to bundle these slimmer footprint displays with their new PCs. The market also boomed as consumers and businesses bought these flat-panel displays to replace the bulky CRT (cathode-ray tube) screens in existing systems.

However, this increased popularity of flat panels has come at a time though when LCD manufacturers are in a period of technological transition and supplies look inadequate to meet this new demand. For example, the second half of 2003 saw the average price of LCDs larger than 10-inches—the main component of flat-screen displays—go from $219 in the second quarter to $271 in the fourth quarter. A December report from Austin, Texas-based DisplaySearch predicted that this climbing trend is likely to slow somewhat but will continue into 2004, bringing prices as high as $291 for the first quarter of 2004.

News source: eWeek

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