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LCD TVs set for big price increase

LCD technology has been improving and prices coming down. Are things about to change?

Increased demand for LCD TVs and flatpanel computer monitors is set to send prices back up towards where they once were. That's according to iSuppli market research, which suggests that constrained supply and high demand will reverse the current trend of falling prices.

"Following weak pricing conditions in the fourth quarter of 2006 and the first quarter of 2007, the large-sized LCD panel market entered into a robust recovery in the second quarter, and strong conditions are persisting in the third quarter," said Sweta Dash, director of LCD and projection research at iSuppli.

"Demand is rising in all three major markets for such panels, namely televisions, desktop monitors and notebook PCs. Meanwhile, inventories remain under control.

"This combination of rising demand and constrained supply is causing overall panel prices to increase. Demand for ever-larger LCD-TVs has prompted iSuppli to raise its revenue forecast by a larger margin than its unit forecast," he said.

Plasma set for boost?

It's just the news that plasma TV manufacturers like Pioneer and Panasonic have wanted to hear. The one advantage that LCD technology has over plasma is that it's generally cheaper. Rising LCD panel prices could well encourage large TV buyers to plump for higher quality plasmas instead.