Ikea's new TV line: Brilliant or boneheaded?

The Swedish retailer has unveiled an all-in-one television that comes with a Blu-ray player, universal remote and storage options -- basically a TV buyer's dream.

By TheWeek.com Apr 19, 2012 11:57AM

Watch out, Best Buy (BBY) -- Ikea is getting into the home-entertainment business.

The furniture giant, known for its affordable, build-it-yourself merchandise, has unveiled a new line of televisions designed to simplify and streamline consumers' chaotic entertainment systems.

The product, dubbed Uppleva ("Experience"), is an all-in-one solution that includes a high-definition TV set (manufactured by Chinese company TCL), a built-in Blu-ray player, a cordless subwoofer, and a variety of storage options to conceal messy cables and wires. The HDTV supports WiFi connectivity, has ports for HDMI and USB, and comes with a universal remote. Uppleva will arrive in Europe this year, and in the U.S. in 2013. (Watch the charming YouTube demo.)

 

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Considering Ikea's reputation for affordable and innovative furnishing solutions, is home entertainment a logical next step?

Uppleva could be a big deal: This move has "the potential to shake up the industry," says David Carnoy at CNET. Prices will start at $950 for an entry-level unit, with TV sizes ranging from 26 to 46 inches.  "Ikea has long sold affordable and attractively styled stands for TVs and home-theater components," but this endeavor takes things "up a notch." If the price is right -- and affordable prices have always been Ikea's strength -- consumers will come knocking.

Eh, the TV doesn't work very well: "The limited time I've spent with TCL's smart TV software wasn't encouraging," says John Herrman at Buzzfeed. But that's not a knock on Ikea or TCL -- "all TV software is pretty bad compared to what you get from a good set-top box." If consumers want a manageable experience, they'll still want "to hook up an Xbox or an Apple TV or something." Otherwise be prepared for a "horrendous" time.

The Uppleva is the Apple product Apple hasn't thought of: "The dawn of a new television era is here," says Deborah Netburn at the Los Angeles Times. Our "collective television problem" is that we're constantly "juggling too many remote controls, shoving unsightly tangles of electric cords behind bookshelves, and precariously stacking" Blu-ray players and cable boxes. Ikea is doing away with the clutter by doing what it does best: Making things "pretty," "convenient," and "easy." Just like Apple (AAPL) has done with personal gadgets. 
"Did Ikea just beat Apple to the all-in-one television?"

More from The Week:


12Comments
Apr 19, 2012 4:58PM
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I never buy combo units. One part going bad makes the whole thing worthless. Better off buying them separate

Apr 19, 2012 4:45PM
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a company that make shoddy furniture is now making shoddy TVs? Seems logical.
Apr 19, 2012 5:28PM
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I dislike "all in one" appliances more than I dislike cables running to and fro. Once something breaks, then what?
Apr 19, 2012 5:17PM
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 "Ikea has long sold affordable and attractively styled stands for TVs and home-theater components,"

 

$700 for a particle-board TV stand has never been my idea of "affordable" or "attractively styled".

Apr 19, 2012 5:39PM
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I can almost guarantee that the idea of an all-in-one entertainment system is going to appeal to a lot of people. Not everyone is tech savvy when it comes to electronics. It would not surprise me if this attracts a lot of potential buyers.
Apr 19, 2012 6:56PM
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A Blu-Ray player contains mechanical parts. Eventual breakdown is inevitable, and it would cost more to fix than to replace. No problem if it's a separate component, but if it is built in with the TV - what, are you expected to throw out the whole thing?
Apr 19, 2012 6:51PM
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The problem with these all-in-one machines is that inevitably one aspect of it will break and then you have a machine that only partly works. Not Feng Shui.
Apr 19, 2012 6:38PM
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Before you get the TV home you first have to get directions on how to get out  of the friggin store!
Apr 20, 2012 11:24AM
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I bought a 10 battery AAA pack of IKEA batteries.  They were Alkaline but lasted about 5 min.    Yeah if they can't make a simple AAA battery last how do you expect them to make a TV last...

IKEA is high prices on below Walmart / Kmart / Sears quality products. 
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does it get reruns of the farmers daughter with inger stevens?
Apr 19, 2012 5:39PM
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Great! Now when I go to storage auctions people are going to up the bid when they see a cheap tv from ikea. What would dave hester do. YEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
Apr 19, 2012 5:38PM
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Like we need another television line to choose from.. I think the selection of a zillion brands from Walmart specials to Samsung's mega sets pretty much has it covered already!

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