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For your eyes only

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DQW Bureau
New Update





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The desire to experience visual treat is fueling the monitor market in India.

The boom in the gaming and personal entertainment segment is particularly

driving this desire, making computers more personal. This results in display

innovations which are high on technology and design and aesthetics like 3D

monitors, feather touch buttons, and sleek designs go beyond the traditional and

the given.

The relatively newer trends, along with the emphasis on visual treat and

aesthetics, have speeded up the already emerged trend of shifting toward LCD.

But the consumer's increasing aesthetic sense is not alone in giving momentum to

this trend. Technological advancements taking place in the LCD category and the

reducing price gap between the CRT and LCD categories are also drivers. Last

year, this shift toward LCD resulted in the market share of LCD overtaking that

of CRT.

As per IDC India, the sale of LCD monitors overtook CRT for the first time in

the quarter ended June 2007, with 51.4% of the 1.73 mn monitors sold being LCD

displays. The market share for LCD monitors rose to 52.3% out of the 2.04 mn

monitors sold in the quarter ended September. According to R Manikandan,

business group head, IT division, LG Electronics India, it is a matter of time

before LCD completely replaces CRT monitors. “LCD monitors with better

technology and aesthetics will be a dominant product from now on. CRT monitors

will lose the economy of scale as the volume nosedives, leading to price hikes

that will narrow the gap between CRT and LCD. This could further fuel the growth

of the LCD monitor market,” he explains.

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According to Sanjay Sharma, VP-IT, Samsung, this year the LCD monitor is

expected to reach over 75% of the market share. Last year, LCD monitors

contributed around 40% of the company's monitor sales. In 2008, it expects LCD

monitors to contribute around 85-90% of its sales.

Interestingly, the OEM market is also shifting toward LCD monitors. However,

as Gautam Ghosh, country manager, ViewSonic Technologies India, points out,

“This trend is yet to catch up in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. They, too, shall

switch over to LCD in the coming months. We expect the LCD boom to hit tier-2

and tier-3 cities in India shortly, replacing CRT screens.”

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As B and C class cities gradually start waking up and maturing to the LCD

monitors category, we will see vendors focusing on these cities for driving the

next phase of the growth of LCD monitors. Overall, LCD monitors are now serving

as accelerators for the overall growth of the monitor market.

Vendors are also increasingly looking at newer market territories to tap. In

addition to higher consumption of LCD monitors in the home segment, the BPO,

finance, and retail industries are switching to LCDs very fast. Significant

upgradation is also taking place in the government and education sectors,

contributing to the growth of the LCD segment.

Pricing Trends



The pricing in the monitor market is dependent on the demand and supply

matrix of the monitor panel. This is termed as the 'crystal cycle' phenomenon.

This trend primarily governs the pricing of monitors in the markets across

countries. The LCD pricing trend, therefore, is also well defined through a

'crystal cycle' governed by a demand-supply situation.

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According to Manikandan, while the overall trend shows a 5-10% price erosion

from entry to exit on a y-o-y basis, the crystal cycle swings up the pricing to

high levels for about 4-6 months a year. Thus, if we consider the average price

for the year, many products will not show significant price erosion. Sharma of

Sansung estimates that LCD monitor prices dropped by 3-4% in Q1 08.

Size Does Matter



While the overall monitor market is fast shifting toward LCD monitors,

within LCD monitors as well the shift is now toward larger screen.



     
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The past one year has seen 17-inch LCDs taking over as the mainstream size

over 15-inch, and vendors expect 19-inch to become the mainstream model by next

year. According to George Paul, executive vice president, HCL Infosystems, after

the transition of 15-inch and 17-inch TFT monitors in a big way in India, the

market is now clearly moving toward the 19-inch wide and the 22-inch wide TFT

monitors. The major traction during this year will be toward transi-tioning the

mainstream market from 17-inch to19-inch.

The buying trend will also be focused on wider monitors with the price

difference between 17-inch and 19-inch coming down. “Currently, the price gap

between 15-inch and 17-inch is Rs 1,600 and between 17-inch and 19-inch is Rs

2,000. No doubt, the future is flatter, at least for display technology,” adds

Paul.

Furthermore, globally, the LCD wide models are more in demand and the same is

reflected in the Indian market as well. Paul estimates that while some months

ago the demand for 17-inch LCD wide versus 15-inch LCD normal was 30:70, it has

currently reached 70:30.

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The other shift is toward wide screen LCD monitors with an aspect ratio of

16:10. In the consumer market, the widescreen ratio in India is almost 75%,

whereas in the commercial space, the preference is toward square LCD monitors

with an aspect ratio of 4:3. According to Ghosh, the need to go wider is being

fueled by the boom in the gaming and personal entertainment segments making

computers more personal.

As the Indian PC market matures in the SoHo and home users' space, customers

are demanding more innovations and value additions in their PCs. This, in turn,

has increased the importance of monitors for Indian customers. And the reason

behind this kind of rational thinking is that the monitor is not only the key

interface between the user and the application, it also helps in overall

infotainment.

Paul points out that with TV tuner cards now getting hugely popular, the use

of a monitor as TV presents an interesting option, especially in the TFT LCD

space where monitors can also function as standalone TVs.

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Multifunction monitors have also penetrated homes and the top-end of the

corporate sector. The gaming and home entertainment segment is expected to

contribute heavily toward the growth of bigger and wider screens along with the

growth in demand for faster response rates and innovative computing solutions.

Emerging Trends



The other important development is toward the design element for better

aesthetics. According to Manikandan, having decided to go for an LCD monitor,

aesthetics becomes an important attribute following the technology. Vendors, in

effect, are answering this market demand for better aesthetics through their new

product offerings focusing on smart, sleek, colorful, and trendy looks. For

instance, Samsung, which launched its 'Touche' range of LCD monitors in the

first quarter of this year. The new offering is being positioned as a

combination of sleek design and superior performance.

On the technology front, newer technologies incorporating higher resolutions,

multi-functional solutions, and integration of other computing peripherals like

speakers, webcam, IPod, etc, with monitors, are revolutionizing this segment

like never before.

Advanced performance liquid crystal display (AP/LCD) technology is the latest

display technology breakthrough. LCDs with extreme view angles, advanced

resolution, and LCD-TV models are some emerging technological advancements.

The superiority in technology is through various factors like digital fine

contrast ratio (DFC), ultra fast response time, wide color gamut 100%, and wider

viewing angle. Higher DFC to the tune of 10,000:1, ability to toggle between two

aspect ratios (seeing 4:3 in wide), wide color gamut 100%, lightning fast

response time of 2 ms are technologies that are fast coming up.

Like aesthetics, vendors are also in the hoard to be one up over each other

in the technology domain as well. Over the last two years, ViewSonic has

launched CASA Series with DCR function and multimedia projectors suited for both

home and office needs. Recently, the company also launched the VP50 series LCD

monitors for professionals who demand wide tonal range and large color gamut for

an enriching visual experience.

An interesting technology advancement addressing the gaming and entertainment

market has been 3D monitors, which offer three-dimensional pictures. Images in

the 3D monitor appear to be coming out of the screen and floating in the space.

The effect is that of watching a hologram movie wherein images seem real and

appear to “pop” out of the screen. Last year, LG launched the first 3D monitor

in India. The product is priced at Rs 649,000, targeting both commercial

establishments and high-end gaming centers. The possible applications of 3D

monitors can go beyond gaming and entertainment into other segments like

healthcare and the corporate world.

All said and done, LCD monitors with better technology, and aesthetics will

be a dominant product from now on. Vendors in the race to be one up over the

other are heralding greater technology breakthroughs and aesthetic features than

ever before.

Shipra Malhotra


shipram@cybermedia.co.in

R Manikandan


Business Group Head IT Division, LG Electronics India

LCD monitors with better technology and

aesthetics will be a dominant product from now on. CRT monitors will lose

the economy of scale

George Paul


Executive VP HCL Infosystems

Currently,

the price gap between 15 and 17-inch is Rs 1,600 and between 17 and


19-inch is Rs 2,000. The future is flatter, at least for display technology

Gautam Ghosh


Country Manager ViewSonic Technologies, India

Tier-1 and -2 cities shall switch over to LCD in

the coming months. We expect the LCD boom to hit tier-2 and -3 cities in

India shortly

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