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Tracking LCD Display Trends

(September 2007) posted on Wed Sep 12, 2007

Bigger is in, wider is better.

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By Molly Joss

According to DisplaySearch research, the larger size monitors are attracting all kinds of buyers: "Demand for wide displays still remains hot with both major and minor brands introducing new wide products on a daily basis." Pointing out that six of the top 10 bestselling display sizes are wide-screen, the consultancy also notes that the biggest percentage increase in sales over the two quarters has been in 22-in.-wide monitors. The increase may be due, in part, to buyers doing careful cost comparisons. "Many suppliers are producing 22-in. displays more efficiently than 20-in. wide displays, so 22-in. wide is selling at similar (and sometimes lower) pricing than 20-in. wide."

Weis backs up DisplaySearch’s findings, saying that he anticipates the 22-in. wide-screen LCD monitor becoming even more affordable. He anticipates that it will be the dominant screen size for the next year or two.

Overall, LCD-display manufacturers are betting heavily that the wide-screen trend is one that will appeal to graphic-arts professionals. Mayer says that although LaCie continues to offer the regular format in 19-, 20- and 21-in. sizes, he has seen more professionals looking to go wide with particular interest in monitors that support a 16 x 9 format instead of a 4 x 3 format.

Mayer says the largest wide-format LCD screen he expects to see this year will be 30 in. To go larger than 30 in., or even 26 in., he says will require improvements in the quality of LCD panels-at least for monitors suitable for graphic-arts professionals.

Graphic-arts professionals find the wide-screen format appealing because at larger sizes it allows them to see a double-spread at full size. A letter-size double spread won’t fit at full size on even 17-in. standard format screen but fits comfortably on a 22-in.-wide format, and with room to spare on a 26-in. screen. A wider format screen also allows designers to spread out toolbars and palettes so they don’t block the view of a page. Many of the wide monitors can also pivot from horizontal to vertical, allowing the user to view an entire tabloid page without reduction.