February 14, 2005 5:57 AM PST

Flat screens at rock-bottom prices

New companies are trying to capture market share from well-known consumer electronics makers by using one tactic: low prices.
The New York Times

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Low price is just one part of the equation
After studying reviews and prices I bought the beautiful BenQ 23.1" widescreen TFT monitor, but could not get it to work at it's full resolution under SuSE 9.1 Linux. I called the Dutch BenQ support line for Linux drivers, and they almost feel from their chair laughing: "Linux? No sir, we don't support that!". Stupid of me to not check this beforehand, but what manufacturer who wants to grab market share can afford to ignore a user community larger than their own market share?
After a few months at 1024x768, last weekend a friend managed to get it to 1600x1200 (cost me gas money and a bottle of Havana Club anos reservas), we're still chasing the specked 1920x1200. I would have gladly paid something extra for a similar TFT from a manufacturer who supports Linux drivers, to save me this still continuing hassle.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Problem with non CRT
you have to look straight on... which i dont often do... its retarded
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Link Flag
Low price is just one part of the equation
After studying reviews and prices I bought the beautiful BenQ 23.1" widescreen TFT monitor, but could not get it to work at it's full resolution under SuSE 9.1 Linux. I called the Dutch BenQ support line for Linux drivers, and they almost feel from their chair laughing: "Linux? No sir, we don't support that!". Stupid of me to not check this beforehand, but what manufacturer who wants to grab market share can afford to ignore a user community larger than their own market share?
After a few months at 1024x768, last weekend a friend managed to get it to 1600x1200 (cost me gas money and a bottle of Havana Club anos reservas), we're still chasing the specked 1920x1200. I would have gladly paid something extra for a similar TFT from a manufacturer who supports Linux drivers, to save me this still continuing hassle.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Problem with non CRT
you have to look straight on... which i dont often do... its retarded
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Link Flag
At these prices, resolution still matters
A better priced LCD will still be judged on picture quality when it costs 2 month's wages to buy. I've noticed that most of the lower-priced brands of LCD's at places like Best Buy have noticeably inferior picture quality when compared with the adjacent pricier models. I think most buyers will continue to pass up lower priced models until the picture quality matches the expensive brands. The prices still make this purchase an exercise in comparison rather than an impulse buy for most people, so these guys had better be buying the good chipsets as they claim or their product won't move the way they hope...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you need to compare spec for spec
spec for spec, *most* of the time, there is no difference. those two brands that you compared at best buy probably only share one spec in common...display size. models with the same resolution, contrast ration, brightness, refresh rate, and viewing angle will be near identical regardless of brand. the 'secret sauce' mentioned in the article is all marketing fluff. let me point out the syntax LCD TVs as an example. i would say that it has one of the best overall performances (especially the new 32"/37" models) regardless of price. i did extensive research before i plunked down that kind of dough and the 32" is simply amazing.
Posted by tlite722 (160 comments )
Link Flag
At these prices, resolution still matters
A better priced LCD will still be judged on picture quality when it costs 2 month's wages to buy. I've noticed that most of the lower-priced brands of LCD's at places like Best Buy have noticeably inferior picture quality when compared with the adjacent pricier models. I think most buyers will continue to pass up lower priced models until the picture quality matches the expensive brands. The prices still make this purchase an exercise in comparison rather than an impulse buy for most people, so these guys had better be buying the good chipsets as they claim or their product won't move the way they hope...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you need to compare spec for spec
spec for spec, *most* of the time, there is no difference. those two brands that you compared at best buy probably only share one spec in common...display size. models with the same resolution, contrast ration, brightness, refresh rate, and viewing angle will be near identical regardless of brand. the 'secret sauce' mentioned in the article is all marketing fluff. let me point out the syntax LCD TVs as an example. i would say that it has one of the best overall performances (especially the new 32"/37" models) regardless of price. i did extensive research before i plunked down that kind of dough and the 32" is simply amazing.
Posted by tlite722 (160 comments )
Link Flag
Lower Priced Purchase May Make Sense
In some situations it makes sense to buy the lower priced LCD/Plasma models. This is true if there is a wide differene in price but only a small difference in image quality. Face it, given technology improvements, you are not going to keep using these displays as your primary for more than a few years. You'll want to upgrade to the latest and greatest temptation. If you spent $4,000 on a display, it will be painful to your wallet. If you only spent $1,500 to $2,000 it's not so big a deal. Given the pace of technology improvement and price decline, I find that most of my purchases of tehnology have a truly useful life of about 2 years. That is why I never buy leading edge. The cost/benefit ratio is too high.

This is not to say that quality doesn't matter and that price is the only factor. But I frequently find that the most expensive brand is not the best, recent example being Intel CPUs vs. AMD.

Regarding one responder's comment about poor image quality in the store of low priced units, there are two factors.

1) Check the specs on the display - nits, contrast ratio, etc., to see if there is a simple explanation for the difference in image quality

2) Consider that the store may have hooked up the lower priced displays to an inferior display adapter, or de-optimized the brightness/contrast settings. This is an old trick that TV appliance stores use. They try to upsell you by intentionally making the lower priced TVs look bad. If the specs pass muster, then consider buying the lower priced display, take it home, and try it out. If it disappoints, take it back to the store and get another model. Oh, and always check product reviews and user opinions first, before buying.

Keith
www.techcando.com
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
reality
if you buy top line it lasts significantly longer (in usefulness) than if you had bought the standard
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Link Flag
Lower Priced Purchase May Make Sense
In some situations it makes sense to buy the lower priced LCD/Plasma models. This is true if there is a wide differene in price but only a small difference in image quality. Face it, given technology improvements, you are not going to keep using these displays as your primary for more than a few years. You'll want to upgrade to the latest and greatest temptation. If you spent $4,000 on a display, it will be painful to your wallet. If you only spent $1,500 to $2,000 it's not so big a deal. Given the pace of technology improvement and price decline, I find that most of my purchases of tehnology have a truly useful life of about 2 years. That is why I never buy leading edge. The cost/benefit ratio is too high.

This is not to say that quality doesn't matter and that price is the only factor. But I frequently find that the most expensive brand is not the best, recent example being Intel CPUs vs. AMD.

Regarding one responder's comment about poor image quality in the store of low priced units, there are two factors.

1) Check the specs on the display - nits, contrast ratio, etc., to see if there is a simple explanation for the difference in image quality

2) Consider that the store may have hooked up the lower priced displays to an inferior display adapter, or de-optimized the brightness/contrast settings. This is an old trick that TV appliance stores use. They try to upsell you by intentionally making the lower priced TVs look bad. If the specs pass muster, then consider buying the lower priced display, take it home, and try it out. If it disappoints, take it back to the store and get another model. Oh, and always check product reviews and user opinions first, before buying.

Keith
www.techcando.com
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
reality
if you buy top line it lasts significantly longer (in usefulness) than if you had bought the standard
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Link Flag
Boring.
Boring boring boring. None of this really touches on what really matters:

Providing a product that contains NO DEFECTS. That's right, no lit or dead pixels, sub-pixels, or whatever you want to call them. That's right, making a product that works as it's intended... you know, kinda like CRTs?

Until manufacturers stop screwing consumers over by ignoring the ISO class standards set for LCD displays and "interpreting it their own way", you're going to end up with shoddy products -- regardless if they're in the 3 or 4 digit price range.

All LCDs should be class 0. PERIOD. There is no excuse for it; the goal of a monitor is to display an image as it is intended to be displayed. When a monitor cannot display an image as it's intended, due to FLAWS IN THE TECHNOLOGY (re: transistors being improperly placed, transistors being faulty, etc. etc.), then the monitor CANNOT DO WHAT IS IT BEING ADVERTISED TO DO.

Consumers really need to start considering a lawsuit about this -- I'm the last person on earth to recommend a lawsuit for ANYTHING, but this is flat-out anti-consumer. Better QA and longer burn-in times could solve all of this...
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Boring.
Boring boring boring. None of this really touches on what really matters:

Providing a product that contains NO DEFECTS. That's right, no lit or dead pixels, sub-pixels, or whatever you want to call them. That's right, making a product that works as it's intended... you know, kinda like CRTs?

Until manufacturers stop screwing consumers over by ignoring the ISO class standards set for LCD displays and "interpreting it their own way", you're going to end up with shoddy products -- regardless if they're in the 3 or 4 digit price range.

All LCDs should be class 0. PERIOD. There is no excuse for it; the goal of a monitor is to display an image as it is intended to be displayed. When a monitor cannot display an image as it's intended, due to FLAWS IN THE TECHNOLOGY (re: transistors being improperly placed, transistors being faulty, etc. etc.), then the monitor CANNOT DO WHAT IS IT BEING ADVERTISED TO DO.

Consumers really need to start considering a lawsuit about this -- I'm the last person on earth to recommend a lawsuit for ANYTHING, but this is flat-out anti-consumer. Better QA and longer burn-in times could solve all of this...
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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