IO Data Device has announced the first LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors to carry price tags of less than $400, on the opening day of the World PC Expo exhibition in Chiba, Japan.

The LCD-A15N and LCD-A15NS both feature a 15in TFT (thin film transistor) panel with 1,024x768 (XGA) resolution and a conventional analogue interface. Because the active area of an LCD panel is larger than that of a CRT (cathode ray tube), these no-frills monitors are said to give a picture of equivalent size to a 17in CRT monitor.

The viewing angle on the panels is 120 degrees left to right and 90 degrees from above and below. Brightness is 250 candela per square meter, contrast ratio is 300:1 and refresh rate is 45 milliseconds. The A15N will cost the equivalent of £260 and the A15NS, which has a built-in speaker, will cost around £10 more. The units should go on sale in late September.

The falling price of LCD monitors is a product of both quantities of scale, as their popularity increases, and the declining price of LCD panels. Monitor prices fell 28.4 percent in the latest quarter, according to data from Display Search, and is expected to continue falling at least into the first quarter of next year.

In addition to the two models mentioned, IO Data also announced several other LCD monitors including a 15in XGA resolution monitor with digital DVI input in addition to analogue for not much more than the LCD-A15s and some others with larger screens at more normal money.