As CO2 laser-based systems have increased in sophistication, performance, and producibility, more attention has been focused on the detector unit. These units have typically been photoconductive (PC) HgCdTe detectors for low frequency systems, such as rangefinders, and photovoltaic (PV) HgCdTe detectors for heterodyne detection systems. Recent systems applications have, however, demanded more from the detector unit. Requirements have included both direct and heterodyne detection capability, small arrays of detector elements, and rugged, long-life cryogenic packages. This paper discusses the performance, packaging, and producibility of both types of detectors in current systems, and analyzes PC/PV technology trends for laser detector applications.