April 18, 2012
IKEA Creates Furniture With Built-In HDTV, Blu-ray

By Gary Reber

Already the one-stop shop for smart and compact home furnishing, IKEA has launched yet another product for your living room: the IKEA TV.

The new furniture range, named UPPLEVA, the Swedish word for experience, integrates an LED TV, a sound system with wireless bass speakers, an internet connection and CD, DVD and Blu-ray players -- all in one piece.

Although the TV and the other electronics are made by Chinese manufacturer TCL, IKEA has built everything around them, hiding the masses of cables that can be a nuisance and make a living room look shabby.

To further simplify things, IKEA and TCL have combined all the controls into a single remote control.

The furniture comes in three designs and will be sold first in Sweden, France, Poland, Germany and Italy in June, with a few more markets due to launch in the second half of the year. By the first half of next year, it will be available worldwide, with the cheapest costing about 6,500 Swedish kronor ($955).

To test market appetite for its latest innovation, IKEA had a survey conducted by pollster YouGov. The poll showed that three out of four people want less visible cables in their living rooms and 50 percent wanted to reduce the amount of

electronics lying about.

The study, done in five countries with more than 5,200 respondents between Feb. 29 and March 15 this year, also showed that 60 percent of the people asked have between three to four remote controls at home.

"We've realized that people are watching more TV and are using electronics in their living rooms more and more," IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said. "We came up with this because we found that people want to get rid of the cables and they don't want those mountains of remote controls either."

Martin Rask, a 38-year old from Stockholm, said the all-in-one concept sounded interesting but wondered how it could keep up with new technologies.

"The furniture is a tempting idea -- I'm wrestling with a bundle of cables at home myself at the moment -- but the problem is that so many new things are released all the time," he said. "I've had three different Internet suppliers in the past year for example, and imagine if you had an old VHS player built into your furniture that no one is watching."

Magnusson at IKEA said that although the electronic devices are physically attached to the furniture, there is plenty of room for

customers to put in IKEA-designed add-ons.

IKEA employs more than 130,000 people and has 280 stores in 25 countries. Last year it drew 655 million customers.

Tags: - equipment - - IKEA UPPLEA furniture LED LCD HDTV - - Blu-ray Disc player - - loudspeakers -