22 December 2015

The Tyranny of Average Cost, part the seventh

Just a bit of commentary from the AnandTech piece on a 5K monitor from HP. Edited for clarity.

gonzo98x - Tuesday, December 22, 2015
What's the deal with the price of this monitor when Samsung can squeeze a 4k display into a 6 inch screen and sell it for far less?

Doesn't it take a higher level of specialized technology to cram a 4k resolution into such a small display? To me that would mean a phone display should be more expensive or in the case a 27" monitor should cost less.

So where does the cost come from? Or is this simply another example of setting the price for something 'because they can'. We expect it to be expensive so it is expensive?

I'd love to see a teardown and bill of goods for a monitor such as this.


TheStu - Tuesday, December 22, 2015
I imagine it has something to do with the economies of scale. Whoever is making this panel for HP, they're probably looking at less than 100,000 sales (especially if it is NOT the same panel that's in the 27" iMac). Samsung is going to sell tens of millions of their phone displays.

bryanlarsen - Tuesday, December 22, 2015
A 6" display has an area of 15 in^2. A 27" display has an area of over 300 in^2. 20x in size, ~20x in cost, where's the disparity?

CaedenV - Tuesday, December 22, 2015
less material used, plus higher output capability, plus a more reliable process. It all adds up to far less cost, and far FAR less waste, so the product costs much less.
Think of it this way... a 6" 16:9 display has 15.37 square inches of material. A 27" display with the same aspect ratio has an area of 311.53 square inches.
Lets say that the phone display costs ~$50 (just for the sake of nice round numbers... I have no idea what a high end cell phone display costs). That would break down to $3.25 per square inch... extrapolating that to the larger display it would scale up to $1,012.50.

But there is a difference between a cell phone display and a computer monitor. A cell display is merely the display, and the backlight with minimal controllers and other electronics, and no housing... the monitor has a USB3 hub ($), a stand ($$), a housing ($), a controller supporting multiple inputs, resolutions, frequencies, and scaling ($$$), a power supply ($), higher shipping costs per unit ($), higher storage costs per unit ($) etc.

Plus, lets not forget about issues of manufacturing. Lets say that for every 1000sq" there is a defect that makes a device unusable. That means that for every ~67 cell phone displays, there is one bad apple, so the average cost of each display rises ~1/67th, or 75 cents per unit.
But if that same kind of manufacturing ratio is applied to the larger screen, then that means that one out of every 4 displays is going to be bad, which means a 25% increase in screen price (+$253 per unit! way more than 75 cents!).

TL;DR... smaller things are going to cost less.

Some folks actually get it, even when they don't say so.

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