A shortage in LCDs (liquid-crystal displays) will mean prices for desktop and notebook displays could increase, key manufacturers warn.

Global demand for LCDs outstrips the current supply by 4 million units, said a Samsung spokesman at the Society for Information Display conference in Boston. That shortage will cause the price of all LCDs – including those used in TVs and handhelds – to climb through the second or third quarter of 2003, he said. Samsung expects that prices on all LCDs will rise between $10 and $20 per quarter, he added.

LG Philips LCD, a joint venture between LG Electronics and Philips, expects shortages until the middle of 2003, according to a company spokesman. LCD prices have stabilized for LG.Philips, due to weak second-quarter demand, he said. That could change in the third and fourth quarters of 2002, as those quarters are usually much stronger, the spokesman said. He added that the end of the year could see further shortages.

New factories Both Samsung and LG.Philips expect the shortages to be eased, and therefore prices to fall, as new manufacturing facilities go online in late 2002 and mid-2003. Samsung will open a new plant in September or October, with LG Philips following in mid-2003, the spokesmen said.

DisplaySearch, a research and analysis firm that specializes in the display market, also expects prices to rise this quarter, but that rise should be the last one for a while, according to Barry Young, vice president and chief financial officer of DisplaySearch.

The firm is raising its forecast for LCD production, and expects that prices will come down – though the company isn’t sure when that will happen, Young said.

The rise in LCD prices has already hit some PC makers, with those costs being passed onto users. In March, Apple said it would raise the price on its latest iMac by $100 due to the rising cost of LCDs.