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Flat panel list prices fall

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Planar Systems cut list prices last month for its medical-grade flat-panel monitors by almost half, framing the move as part of an effort to make flat-panel display systems more affordable. The company's most popular product, a 3-megapixel dual-display

Planar Systems cut list prices last month for its medical-grade flat-panel monitors by almost half, framing the move as part of an effort to make flat-panel display systems more affordable. The company's most popular product, a 3-megapixel dual-display monitor, which was listed for $28,000 now lists for $15,000. Planar has maintained margins on its products by taking costs out of their manufacture. This was achieved by redesigning boards and outsourcing manufacturing to Asia, according to the company.

Planar executives said the price cuts should allow a wider range of healthcare facilities to deploy Planar displays. They noted, however, that the new prices on Planar's 2-, 3-, and 5- megapixel monitors bring the company more in line with competitors whose products deliver similar image quality.

Planar's decision to reduce list prices marked an evolutionary step in the sales history of flat-panel monitors: the transition from an early-adopter market to one of mass sales, according to Quest International, which distributes flat-panel medical monitors made by Totoku of Japan. Sales will increasingly be decided by software and support services, Planar and Quest executives agreed.

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