The future of computer monitors

Flat panel displays are making their way to your desktop

Is your computer monitor hogging space on your desk? Soon you’ll be able to replace your bulky monitor with something a lot slimmer: a flat panel display. Today, most monitors are cathode ray tube (CRT) devices that employ the same technology as your television. Flat panel displays (FPD) are desktop monitors that use plasma or liquid crystal technology similar to that found in laptop computers. Advances in monitor technology and drastic price drops are bringing these streamlined monitors into more businesses and homes across the country.

“Most flat panel monitors are still two or three times the cost of CRTs, but the benefits might be worth the price,” says Rob Enderle, an analyst specializing in desktop computer technology for Giga Information Group in Santa Clara, California.

FPDs represent the future of monitor technology and have several benefits over CRT monitors such as:

  • A standard CRT monitor is roughly 15 inches deep, which leaves a large footprint on your desktop; a 15-inch FPD is between 2 and 6 inches deep, thus drastically increasing your usable space.
  • CRT monitors can weigh up to 50 pounds; most FPD monitors weigh only a quarter of that.
  • n CRT monitors have an average work life of two to three years before problems set in; FPDs last twice as long.
  • Radiation levels from traditional monitors (cathode rays) are a concern for some businesses; FPDs emit no radiation.

“Several years ago companies sold laptops with flat panel monitors that were monochrome and had low

viewing angles,” says Chandra Shekar Reddy, president and CEO of Sage Inc., a Santa Clara, California-based company that develops several technologies used in flat panel displays. “Today, for the same price, you can get a much better flat panel display. In some cases, the active matrix, liquid crystal display even has better picture quality than a CRT monitor.” Reddy predicts FPDs will become the dominant market product by 2006 and the only type of monitor available by 2010.

As prices dropped last year, several companies introduced high-quality flat panel display monitors that are now within reach of most businesses and many consumers. For those of you on the cutting edge, here are a few models to start your search:

The Apple Studio Display is a 15.1-inch FPD that weighs 12 pounds with the desktop stand. The monitor works with Mac OS 7.5 or later and Windows 95 or Windows NT systems.

  • Retail: $1,299
  • Apple Computers Inc.

800-795-1000 or visit www.apple.com.

The award-winning Compaq TFT500 is a 15-inch active matrix monitor that is 2.8 inches thick and weighs 12 pounds hanging and 20 pounds on the base. The TFT500 has a 15-inch viewable image size, almost the same viewing area as a 17-inch monitor.

  • Retail: $1,199
  • Compaq 800-345-1518

or visit www.compaq.com.

Bohlken Bai has a more avant-garde approach to the flat panel display. The San Francisco-based company manufactures seven designer LCD monitors in various styles. Prices range from $1,495 to $2,300. Bohlken Bai’s owner, Joe Thrift, will also custom design a monitor to fit your office or home decor.

Bohlken Bai 800-952-5501
or visit www.lcdmonitors.com.

If you believe bigger is better, Fujitsu’s Plasmavision is

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