IKEA, purveyors of flat-pack, self-assembly furniture – and tasty meatballs – has established for itself a strong reputation for affordable creations that have brought a dose of Scandinavian style to dozens of countries across the globe. Of course, IKEA is also famous for the bizarre and often funny names of its products, such as the ‘Fukta’ spray, ‘Fartfull’ workbench and ‘Jerker’ desk.
The latest addition to its product range, ‘Uppleva’, may be lacking when it comes to amusing nomenclature, but it’s no less interesting for it. The company is entering the consumer technology market, and it’s doing so with a typically IKEA twist. Rather than sell you a TV, DVD player, speakers and the like as multiple units that will sit on top of your IKEA furniture, the company is instead offering a solution that integrates these items directly into the furniture as an all-in-one entertainment centre that minimises cable-clutter and maximises style.
IKEA’s position is that it’s offering a fix for a very real problem. But is it all style, or is there some substance in there too? Let’s start by looking at what’s on offer.
“This is not a TV, and it’s not a piece of furniture either,” we are told. “It’s all-in-one!” A 1080p, LED-backlit smart TV is the centrepiece of course, while the stylish stand features an integrated Blu-Ray/DVD/CD player, along with a 2.1-speaker sound system (along with a wireless subwoofer). The TV is available in various sizes (although we don’t yet know what those sizes are).
What about the peripherals and add-ons that you can’t live without - your cable box, your console, and all the other stuff that makes life worth living? Well, there’s extra storage space in the stand, while the TV itself includes four HDMI ports and a couple of USB inputs. Internet connectivity is offered (it’s “WiFi ready”), while iPod input is also supported – or you can enjoy some music the old-fashioned way through the built-in FM radio.
Other thoughtful touches include a single remote control, a range of colour options and styles, and in typical IKEA fashion, it’s part of a modular furniture system, which means that you can configure it to fit your tastes and requirements.
The cherry on this delicious Swedish cake is the five year guarantee for everything, just in case it all goes horribly wrong. Engadget reports that the new system will be built in co-operation with China's TCL (who have previously built LCD TV modules for the likes of Samsung). Prices will start at 6500 Swedish Krona (SEK), or around $960 USD when the Uppleva system goes on sale in the autumn.
We’ll have to reserve our judgement until we can see this thing in the flesh and get our grubby paws all over that remote control – but at first glance, this seems like a pretty decent entry to the home entertainment market for IKEA.
Be sure to let us know your thoughts below – but for now, check out the product launch video: