Sales of LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors will top $20 billion in 2003, overtaking revenue from sales of conventional CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors this year, according to IDC research.

The worldwide PC monitor market will grow by 4.8 per cent this year, driven by improving economies and an expected spike in PC sales growth, IDC predicts. Last year, sales growth for monitors was just 0.7 per cent, it said.

LCD monitors are getting larger as improved manufacturing technology ushers in lower prices. The predominant LCD size is the 15-inch screen, but by 2005 the market will shift to 17-inch models.

As prices for LCD monitors continue to fall, and CRT manufacturers fail to explain the advantages of their products to end users, the shift to LCDs will continue, according to IDC.

Experts have stated that the human eye needs to see 25 frames per second to be tricked into thinking that motion is continuous, and LCD monitors have often failed to meet this specification, making them less attractive for showing fast-moving graphics such as those found in games.

The new Diamond View DV159 LCD monitor from Mitsubishi has an improved pixel response time and can show over 60 frames per second, the manufacturer has stated.

As prices drop, manufacturers will increasingly offer LCDs bundled with PCs, and the stand-alone LCD monitor market will begin to shrink, according to IDC.

The US is currently the world's largest monitor market, accounting for 34.4 per cent of monitors sold, followed by Asia with 24.6 per cent of shipments, IDC said.