15" 17 19" 21" TFT,s Why the difference in price?

  Legolas 19:26 02 Feb 2005

I have just bought a new 19" TFT from ebuyer for £270 almost the price I paid a few month ago for a 17" which cost almost as much as my first TFT a 15".
The price difference between a 17" and a 19" is becoming less.
My question is this, why is the difference between a 19" and a 21" so great, the cheapest 21" on ebuyer is £553 and even a 20" is £440.

Why the discrepancy?

  Charence 20:10 02 Feb 2005

I guess its harder to make.

e.g. You can now easily buy Plasma TVs at 40" - 50" much cheaper than a 40" LCD TV would cost and I don't think they make 50" because its more difficult to make LCDs so large without a significant no. of dead pixels on the display.

  JonnyTub 20:58 02 Feb 2005

Economies of scale

  t.long 21:36 02 Feb 2005

The thing to understand is that the price you pay for a lot of goods has nothing to do with how much they cost to make. An MS Xbox for example can be had for less than £100, but it costs far more to make.

As for LCDs, the price has fallen to reflect changes in the market. A few years ago demand for LCDs was far higher than manufacturing capibility, so prices were high. As manufacturers moved to increase production demand actaly fell, so prices did to. Many manufacters no longer produce CRTs since the profit margins are so low.

A 17" LCD is what we might consider the standard, or entry level size. Where as a larger 20" or 21" is more of a 'prestige' product, so the price is higher, and the profit margin higher as a result. So lets say it costs a fixed amount to make a square inch of LCD, whilst the cost of manufacturer would remain constant, say £5 per square inch, to keep the maths simply, the profit margin that can be added to a larger prestige screen is greater, so is the cost.

So are 17" might be 17" x £5 - we are just going to pretend a 17" screen is 17" square, its not but it does not realy matter for our porpose - which equals £85, we add say another £50 for other costs to give up £135. Maybe our profit margin is 20% or £14.80 which we shall average to £15 gives a total of £150 for a 17" panel. For the 20" we might have a 40% profit margin, 20"x£5 = £100, £100 + £50 = £150, £150+40% = £176. These costs are clearly very low, but it illustrate the effect that profit margins can have.

In addition you will pay more or less depending on the brand, a Sony panel will cost more than a Samsung. Even though - IIRC - Sony do not make LCDs, they are all rebranded Samsung panels. Sony's profit margin is larger. A panel sold by say Dabs.com as part of there 'Dabs value' range will have a much smaller margin.

You can not actaly make an LCD larger than 40" since the response time is so low. You can have larger LCD displays, there is one in Las Vegas that covers a whole street, but it is made up of lots of little panels.

  Wilham 22:25 02 Feb 2005

Two years ago PCA put the Fuji-Siemens 5100FA 21 inch TFT monitor as 'best of ten' in three consecutive issues. The reviewer said it was the only monitor large enough to give comfortable entertainment value showing films, or words to that effect, and I was impressed.

There was a slip with that published model number, but I found an Iiyama AU5131DT which had exactly the same specs at £1200. (Surely from the same maker?)

If you look now in Ebuyer there is an NEC/Mitsu 21.3 inch TFT at £1069 which is near double the price of your quoted 21" TFT.

This suggests there is a wide quality difference between similar sized monitors. PC World nor other stores display them side by side. Which is why I'm pleased with the help I had from those PCA Magazine reviews.

  Legolas 13:08 03 Feb 2005

Wilham My quotes taken from the ebuyer site were for the cheapest 21" TFT,s.

The price difference between a 17" and 19" is around £70 on ebuyer that is for the cheapest model of both sizes. The cheapest 21" inch is £426 dearer than the cheapest 19" model

Cheapest 21" £647

Cheapest 19" £221

Cheapest 17" £150

It seems a lot of money for an extra two inches.

  Wilham 15:27 03 Feb 2005

Legolas: I agree you have a sensible approach, though figures need adjusting and ought to inc vat,- and delivery cost if to be added.

A slip by t.long also needs correction. He rightly costs per sq inch and then wrongly applies linear ratio. If we increase width and height by 10%, then the area increases by exactly 21%, not 10%.

The next step as far as possible is to compare like with like. Larger screens tend to need higher resolution when viewed at same distance.
Your 19" is 1280x1024 pixels. Moving to 20 or 20.3" brings 1600x1200 pixel resolution. my calculator shows this as 46 or 47% increase in no. of pixels per sq inch. So in just a 10% screen increase the no. of pixels has gone up 77.9%.
(I can't see pixel count for the 19" in Ebuyer but it's given.... click here )

I think it's great we consumers look at these figures, but remember they don't show everything.

  Wilham 17:39 03 Feb 2005

Correction. Sorry for this slip... The 46 or 47% is increase in no. of pixels in the resolution step-up, not nec'ly per sq inch.
A 1600x1200 monitor has 1.92million pixels whatever the screen size. I'm not right just to assume the 21% and the 46% increases simply combine to reach 77.9% (1.21x1.46 -1)x100. But I hope you'll see some answer in it all to this thread question.

I'm not sure my above data is accurate. 1200 x1600 used to imply the no. of available pixels, and early Sony specs used also to include the (larger) actual number, but not seen it nowadays.


  Legolas 18:17 03 Feb 2005

Wilham The above prices from ebuyer of the cheapest 17", 19" and 21" does include VAT I did'nt include delivery as it would be much the same for each one.

  Forum Editor 19:33 03 Feb 2005

are more difficult to manufacture, and the failure rate is higher - so it's reflected in the cost. Economies of scale apply in almost all manufacturing processes however, and if we all started buying 21" displays the price would drop rapidly.

When I bought my first 21" CRT monitor it cost me well over £1000, but the last one I bought was only £250. It was a bargain (Samsung) because the demand for these screens has dropped as TFTs have increased in quality and decreased in price, and the supplier was clearing stock, but it was a demonstration of how market forces operate.

  Legolas 20:09 03 Feb 2005

FE I think your answer is the most likely reason and as you say if more people started buying 21" screens then the price would fall, althouth I still think the price difference is disproportionate.

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