Exciting Time for Monitors
According to IDC’s Q2 report, the LCD market currently accounts for almost 97 percent of the total PC monitor market. With just close to 3 percent market share, the CRT is almost dead. It’s only popular in the lower end of the education segment. And even this segment, is gradually shifting toward the LCD given its long-term energy savings.
There’s also huge demand for non-attached monitors. The non-bundled LCD market registered a growth of 26 percent quarter-wise in Q2 FY2010-11. The non-attached to attached ratio is currently at 60:40 as per the latest IDC Q210 Monitor report. In terms of screen size, the 18.5-inch has become the most popular. As the market matures, larger screen sizes such as 19-inch and 20-inch may take over.
The rise of LEDs
LED is the latest technological innovation in the IT sphere. LED monitors are technically a member of the LCD monitor family. The display screen on an LED is a liquid crystal display, the same as on any other LCD monitor. The main difference between the two is the different backlighting techniques, which may change the picture quality dramatically.
When LCDs were launched in India they were priced more than three times higher than CRTs. That’s not the case with LEDs. In the TV space, LEDs command about 50-60 percent premium over LCDs. In the monitor space the price difference is pretty low. “There’s hardly a 10-15 percent premium for LED, and even this is expected to go within a year’s time,” says Gautam Ghosh, Country Manager, ViewSonic India.
Adds Mukesh Gupta, Director, TPV Technology Group, “The industry is going to shift to LED very quickly, more so because the cost difference is not very huge, unlike the cost difference between LCD and CRT monitors. The production of CCFL panels is expected to stop by the second half of 2011.”
ViewSonic has already announced that all its PC display products will feature LED technology by early 2011. This is to offer its customers energy cost savings, besides improved performance and contrast.
Similarly, LG expects its LED range to contribute more than 10 percent of its monitor revenues in the current year. This is likely to increase to more than 50 percent in the next year itself.
Monitor TV: The monitor TV is a PC monitor which doubles as a complete television. LG and AOC were the key players in this segment and they expected excellent growth. “The product has unfortunately not become as popular as expected, in spite of good marketing by major players,” says Gupta.
One of the reasons for the slow response to this segment is higher taxation. Unlike PC products which attract only 4 percent VAT, monitor TV comes under the consumer electronics segment, thus attracting 12-14 percent VAT. Moreover, such monitors are sold only through IT channels and not consumer electronics channels. But vendors are increasing their focus on this segment and expect it to grow significantly next year.
“We strongly believe that there’s a lot of potential to be realized with this product, and we’ll be focusing on it very strongly in the coming year. We plan to increase our monitor TV line-up by introducing a 20-inch model, along with a complete range of LED monitor TVs in the coming year,” says R Manikandan, Business Head, Business Solutions, LG Electronics.
ViewSonic also has plans for this segment. “We are first mapping the market for this kind of product, and when we feel the market is ready, we will launch monitor TVs,” Ghosh says.
Full HD Monitors: High Definition (HD) considerably increases picture quality and clarity based on the resolution of the monitor. For this reason, HD is, in reality, a synonym for high resolution. High resolution means more pixels in your screen which leads to a remarkably clearer picture. An HD monitor and TV gives you a brighter and clearer picture.
According to Ghosh, “The trend is that high-end or technology-led product categories are doing better in the Indian market, and that’s the reason we expect better acceptance for the HD monitor in the Indian market. ViewSonic has many full HD monitors such as the latest VX2250wm-LED, VA2231wm-LED and VX2450wm-LED.”
Currently, the full HD feature is offered by most players in mainly 22-inch and upward screen sizes. “The share of the same is currently about 10 percent of the total industry, but by 2011 it’s expected to increase to 20 percent. AOC has a very strong focus and a very competent product line-up in the full HD monitor segment,” says Gupta.
Nevertheless, the growth in HD monitors will be driven by the availability of HD content, which is expected to improve in the coming years.
3Dimension: Driven by increasing 3D content, the new technology, which is currently being promoted for stand-alone televisions, is expected to come to the monitor space within a year in a big way.
“ViewSonic was the first company to introduce 3D monitors (the VX2268wm) in India,” Ghosh says. “3D monitors are very helpful to professionals such as architects, doctors, designers and film makers; they also attract customers from gaming.”
AOC and LG are planning to launch their 3D monitors next year.
Touch-screen: Touch-screen applications are currently limited in India. However, with the rise of tablets triggered by the iPad, there’s increased focus in the developer community on touch-based applications. AOC already has touch-screen monitors in India. However, the company feels they are not very popular at the moment because of the high price. “AOC has a feature-packed, multi-touch, 22-inch monitor with a user-friendly screen. It’s also a notebook-friendly monitor that’s designed to help users connect their notebook directly to the monitor,” claims Gupta.
ViewSonic is planning to launch a touch-screen monitor by 2011, while LG is focusing on offering standard monitors with third-party touch-screen solutions.
While 2010 saw the emergence of LED monitors, 2011 should see the coming of age of a number of technologies including 3D, touch and HD. Year 2011 should also see convergence in the true sense as monitor TVs gain momentum—and combine computing with entertainment.