At the end of the last century it was striking gold or oil, but as the new millennium approaches the current investor dream is picking the technology stock that makes you rich. In Hong Kong, punters have been scrambling for anything that sniffs of Internet or multimedia. But at least one broker says that dream can be realised in a simple, old-style technology play - Hong Kong's Varitronix International. Investors have long been willing to pay a bit more for Varitronix, which historically has traded on price-earnings ratios within the mid-teens. It is a smart company, founded by a group of local science types including an Ivy-league educated doctorate in physics. But it is not exactly a Dell Computer nor does it have the brash ambitions of the young Pacific Century CyberWorks. It does not 'create' - it makes things. In particular, those liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that give you the time on your digital watch or flash a 'fasten seat belt' sign from your car's dashboard. An investment bank told clients in an unpublished note last week that it saw the share price jumping to $100 in the next three years, from $15.60 now. It is a story of technology, says the broker, who sees Varitronix's fate hitched to that of high-resolution television - the new frontier of sorts in television. The high-resolution technology can be used in film projectors, cellular phones and other consumer products. But most importantly it brings movie-screen like clarity to the humble living room idiot-box. Some say that we will all own one of these superior TVs one day, in the way the colour TV eclipsed the black-and-white. The problem at the moment is they are too expensive. 'The average can cost up to US$10,000. That's not chump change. But they're coming down rapidly,' says Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Vijay Harjani, who has a 'hold' on the company. Varitronix is bringing on-line a micro-display technology to make the picture screens of these new-age TVs. There are a few competing technologies for these screens and if Varitronix made the right bet - that its liquid crystal optical system (LCOS) micro-display is the winner - then so will investors be. The HK$100-target broker sees this line as offering 'unlimited growth'. Nevertheless, the broker conceded that it was too early to even include the LCOS micro-display revenues in its earning outlook, and for that reason asked not to be named. Its current call, the broker admits, is a speculative one. But that is the nature of the game. Paribas director Simon Irwin says: 'It's like all these tech things - it might take off but there are some very substantial risks involved. 'There are numerous technologies, numerous companies working on LCOS technology and numerous directions in which this market could go.' Mr Irwin has a 'sell' on the company based on disappointing returns for the current LCD business. Credit Suisse's Mr Harjani also recommends treading cautiously when dealing in the counter. 'Longer term I have no hesitation in saying this will be a killer sector' but he feels the technology has a long evolution ahead of it. The optical micro-display systems, for instance, work in tangent with a video interface controller that is currently neither mass produced nor inexpensively produced, he points out. 'It could be another 12 months to mass manufacture at a competitive price,' he added. That makes it hard to judge when the overall price of the television will fall into the typical consumer's affordability range.