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IKEA Integrates Home Theater into Furniture
The Swedish retailer plans to launch a range of AV-integrated furniture later this year called UPPLEVA, delivering LED smart TVs, sound systems and Blu-ray in cable-tidied all-in-one systems.
The media furniture, created in partnership with Chinese firm TCL, will be priced from around 6,500 Swedish kronor ($955), and be offered in three different designs; initially eight countries will get the kit later this year, before worldwide availability in mid 2013.
The furniture will arrive in IKEA’s traditional flat-pack packaging, which begs a few questions, Who’s going to put this together? Are owners going to have to call Geek Squad to make sure it’s put together properly?
For baby boomers, this concept should be familiar, reminding them of the 50s and 60s, when audio-video equipment was always integrated into furniture - but home theater has evolved.
What happens when you want to upgrade? One of the reasons integrated furniture gave way to component systems is that when you upgraded from 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs (or, more currently, from DVD to Blu-Ray), you could easily swap out one player for a new one. Furniture is supposed to last, but technology keeps changing.
Is this IKEA and TCL’s way of selling the razor and the blade? In other words, when you do upgrade, will you only be able to swap out their systems? Otherwise, if you install a device from a different manufacturer, you immediately eliminate the simplicity of the integrated remote control -- and the cycle of clutter starts all over again.