Monoprice: From underground following to legitimate electronics brand

By on February 5, 2013, 6:30 PM

Monoprice built a very successful online business by doing one thing exceedingly well: offering extremely high quality cables (most notably HDMI cables) at unheard of bargain basement prices. This allowed the company to grow into a $120 million a year business that’s been growing at between 25 percent and 35 percent per year for the last five years – impressive considering it was almost done completely through word-of-mouth.

The company had what could be described as an underground cult following of nerds for several years since being founded in 2002. Those that knew better than to spend $100 for a 6-foot HDMI cable at the local big box retailer would recommend the service to friends, family and even strangers on forums across the web. It all sort of grew steadily from there.

The secret could only last so long, however, as Monoprice is a well-known source these days for everything from cables to audio equipment. But last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, Monoprice debuted a couple of products that has helped them transform their name from an online source of cheap cables to a reputable source for consumer electronics.

One of those products was a high-end 27-inch monitor with an IPS panel featuring a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. Typically you’d expect to pay somewhere around a grand for a quality brand-name product but through Monoprice, it’s yours for less than $400. It's worth pointing out that similar high-end panels have been available overseas through eBay for years but this is one of the few times a US-based company has offered something comparable.

Unsurprisingly, the Monoprice CrystalPro Monitor is currently on backorder through March 20 with the only real complaint being a cheap stand – the panel itself is described as beautiful by one reviewer while all of the reviews on the product page cite the display / image quality as a pro.

The other new product unveiled at CES was the MHD Action Camera, a Go-Pro style recorder with a price tag of under $100. Much like the monitor, you’ll have to wait until mid-March to get your hands on the handheld shooter.

User Comments: 17

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SantistaUSA said:

Wow where have I been? This is the first time I hear about them. Gonna have to keep my eye on this. :-)

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If that screen goes in stock I think that it'll be my next upgrade, 27" with that resolution is a sweet deal, especially at that price.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

For the last few years this is where I've gone whenever the wife and I have an argument - it's my sort of nerd revenge shopping spot. Guess that's why I have so many high quality cables packed away.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I've been buying from them for years, never had a problem with quality. Been recommending to anyone I know that is in need of a cable too.

Man, I want that camera. I've been doing a lot of singletrack mountain biking in the last few months, would be awesome to capture some of that. The GoPro is too expensive for me. Sadly, this one is too, but once I have some spending money again their camera looks good..

Guest said:

Their audio cables are great as well

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

This is great. No harm in shaking up the big boys. They over charge for their products anyway. Just goes to show what can be done with a bit of ingenuity. I've no qualms in supporting them.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Monoprice is awesome. I've used them exclusively for HDMI cables. Also worth noting for any aspiring graphical artists, Monoprice has killer deals on graphic drawing tablets. Forget Bamboo. I picked up a 10" tablet a couple of years back for about $40.

Guest said:

I live in Montreal, and even with the inflated shipping charges, Monoprice is still the best deal around.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Man I guess I was way outa the loop. Wish I knew about these guys when I was wiring my house with Cat5 - I spent way too much on the keystones and wall plates....

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Just because of HDMI cables...? Thats quite false. Tech's/Consumers have been purchasing various adapters, speaker wire, and all types of cables from them for years at bargain prices.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I've just perused their e-catalogue. Man, do they have some good prices.

free4rm said:

I first started been buying cables from Monoprice in early 2011 when I read about them on an online article about setting your home theater. Have been buying from them since and have all my electronics connected with cables and adapters I've purchased from Monoprice, even bought accessories for my tablet. The prices are incredible. I always recommend them to my coworkers and friends, even the standard ground shipping rates for the States are very reasonable. I live in Arizona and almost all of my orders are delivered overnight by one of the companies they contract with (the delivery company sends you a pic email of your package where they left it upon delivery), it is a great company!

Guest said:

Absolutely one of the best places to buy A/V gear. Great quality, even better pricing.

avoidz avoidz said:

$3 dollar Cat5 cable from Monoprice, great deal. $40 with shipping to Australia, not so great.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

$3 dollar Cat5 cable from Monoprice, great deal. $40 with shipping to Australia, not so great.

Yeah, always a catch somewhere along the line. Not Monoprice's fault or problem at all.

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

I liked them when they were mainly a cable company.

Their quality has dropped since then. Shame that companies try to keep getting bigger and bigger and ruining themselves (Neowin, Amazon, etc., even gaming companies like Blizzard!)

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

How has their quality dropped? I'm sure their cables are the same as they were years ago.

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