A Faster Future

I’ve been shopping around for a TV on the Internet for a while now. After thinking about it and looking at the trends in prices, I’ve decided to buy one of the cheapest TVs possible without completely sacrificing on quality. Normally I subscribe to the belief that if you’re buying a high value, high use product, you should buy the best item you can reasonably afford. This works for cameras, computers, phones, etc.

Right now, TVs are different. Consider this: the price of plasma screen TVs is forecasted to drop by 40% this year. This means that in two years, 40+” flat screen TVs will be perilously close to the �1000 mark. At the same time, LCD panel prices will plummet due to mass production and in 2005 you will probably be able to buy a 17″ LCD TV for under �150. At those prices, it’s unlikely that anyone will want to buy a normal CRT (cathode ray tube) television. In other words, just as DVDs stole the throne of VCRs in 2003, LCDs will defeat CRTs in 2005.

There are other more unpredictable factors as well. Organic electroluminescent displays are cheaper, brighter and thinner than LCDs – the only problem with them is that they are difficult to make in large diameters. It seems that Sony and others have at least partially figured out a solution, so perhaps LCDs won’t have it all their way. I recall reading something about cheap rear-projection digital displays recently, which to the end user is a cross between a CRT and a plasma display.

Whoever the eventual victor is – and it might not be just one technology – it’s clear that CRTs are in their twilight. If you’re planning to spend a lot of money buying a TV in the next two years, don’t.

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