LCD monitor makers adopting IPS technology

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DigiTimes reports adoption of IPS technology is on the rise thanks to the success of Apple's iPad 2, great news as IPS screeens are color precise:

In-panel switching (IPS) panel has come under spotlight recently, due to the craze of Apple's iPad 2. Apart from tablet PCs, the number of LCD monitors adopting IPS technology has been also on the rise, particularly 27-inch and other large-size monitors. Though promising, with the advantage of wide viewing angle, some have questioned IPS monitor's lofty price and usability, when compared with other panel technologies.

IPS panels' prices are higher than those of twisted nematic (TN) ones because of more complex manufacuring process and low yield rate, according to monitor suppliers in Taiwan.

The suppliers said that increasing demand for tablet PCs and the success of the Apple iPad 2 that employs IPS technology have drawn people's attention to IPS panels. Expecting improved sales and profits, some makers are adding IPS monitors to their product lines. Mitsubishi Electric and Admiral Overseas Corporation (AOC) have released 23-inch IPS monitors. Viewsonic also has IPS products slated to be released soon.

However, doubt about IPS panels remains. Some makers said that flat-panel monitors' high market penetration rate and low-priced laptops and tablets have triggered a price war among display makers and caused product prices to slump. Widescreen 19.x-inch and 22.x-inch monitors are now sold in Taiwan from NT$2,500 (US$86) to NT$4,000, said Taiwan's monitor suppliers. However, IPS panels' higher price would cost consumers an extra NT$1,000 for an end product compared to ones with TN panels. It is doubtful whether consumers will pay the extra cost, they said.

Besides, the wide viewing angle that IPS enjoys will not necessarily translate into a market niche as it competes with panels using other techniques. Some say that TV and movie viewing functions of LCD monitors, in addition to word processing, give competitive edge to IPS panel. Others believe LCD monitors are highly personalized products, and a wider viewing angle does not guarantee appreciation from consumers.

Makers said that although large-sized IPS monitors, such as 27-inch ones, have showed signs of increasing demand, its contribution to the global sales of LCD monitors remains limited. Compared with 2010, the overall sales of LCD monitors in 2011 worldwide is expected to either remain unchanged, or on a mild decline.

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