This changes everything. Dell is a juggernaut that has grown to dominate the desktop and laptop computer markets. And now the company is setting its sights on the living room with its new large flat panel TV offerings. In addition to smaller sets, the company now offers a 37-inch LCD HDTV and a 50-inch plasma HDTV. (You can learn more about the differences between LCD and plasma in Professor Poor’s Guide to Buying HDTV.)
Many people may not be aware of the fact, but Dell is the #1 LCD flat panel source worldwide. They sell a lot of notebooks with LCDs, and LCD monitors with their desktop computers. And a consumer survey of the “best brands” put Dell in the #3 slot for 2003 and 2004, and in 2005 the company moved to the #2 position behind Sony. So it makes sense that the company would expand into the TV arena.
The company will sell the TVs direct, but also will have 120 in-store kiosks set up around the country where buyers can see the displays in person. Dell also offers a 21-day no-questions-asked, money-back return policy, which will help ease buyers’ concerns about purchasing a television over the phone or on the Web.
Michael Dell started the company in his college dorm room, and it has driven many well-established companies out of the computer business, and some out of business altogether. Dell’s entry into the large flat panel TV market is probably causing some sleepless nights among competitors around the world.