The Skinny on the Total Cost of Monitors

Most operations and technology executives are aware of the advantages LCD (liquid crystal display) flat panels have over standard CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors. They’re cheaper to ship, consume far less power, occupy less desk space and are ergonomically better for employees.

“I’ve heard of many companies making LCD panels their corporate standard,” says Samantha Nebrich, market research analyst for San Jose-based iSuppli/Stanford Resources.

The benefits that aren’t immediately realized are often overlooked, however: Flat-panels have a high resale value, sometimes up to 40% of the original cost (compared with about 10% for CRTs). They also produce less heat and are friendlier to the environment than CRTs, which contain pounds of hazardous lead. (But LCDs are not danger-free: All displays contain toxic material, and environmental legislation is very strict regarding their removal.)

Flat-panels still cost about twice as much as comparable CRTs, but prices are falling due to overproduction and increased manufacturing capacity and efficiency. In the past two years, 17-inch LCD panels have dropped 48% and are projected to fall an additional 30% by the end of 2003, says Nebrich.

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