When it comes to displays, bigger is better. Not only can a larger display increase your productivity by allowing you to view and open multiple windows simultaneously, but if you own a Media Center PC, your large LCD can double as a secondary TV. Fortunately, prices on these mammoth monitors have dropped so low in the past year that it's now possible to get a 24" monitor for a mere $300. Considering most 24" displays originally debuted in the $1,200 range, these numbers represent a major turning point. But just how did prices fall so low and will the numbers continue to drop?
Back in November of 2006, Dell dominated the 24" category with its UltraSharp 2407WFP. The LCD, which could be found online for $679, was challenged by pricier alternatives from Acer and BenQ. Our numbers show, however, that it was Dell who initiated the LCD price war when its 24" LCD dropped to $577 in late November. BenQ's FP241W immediately followed suit dropping from its original price of $800 to $760.
The price decline continued throughout the 2006 holiday season as Dell, BenQ, and Acer raced to outdo each other in the pricing wars. Then, in March of 2007, Gateway joined the foray with its FPD2485W, competitively priced around $650. The following month it dropped another $30 until Dell answered back and lowered its price to $569.
As the market grew more saturated in the spring, with competition from HP and Samsung, prices for 24" monitors started settling in the mid-$500 range until Acer hit the $400 mark in the summer with its AL2416WBsd.
By mid-summer, companies like Westinghouse and Samsung started boasting better spec lists with features like HDMI connectivity, higher contrast ratios, and quicker response times. Soyo then hit the $300 mark in September with its 24" entrant, which lacked the panache of the name-brand LCDs, but proved to be the most affordable to date.
In September and October, prices have settled in the $350 to $550 range. Dell and Samsung have stuck with higher prices whereas Westinghouse and Soyo have been at the forefront of the price war with prices in the $300 range.
As the holidays approach, we expect prices on 24" LCDs to fall further south. We'll keep our eyes on the latest trends and will continue to scour the web for the best deals possible.Louis Ramirez is a dealnews Features Editor