IKEA Brings Back the Cabinet TV
Our "Mad Men" nostalgia for the aesthetics of the 60s is now reaching out to living-room entertainment systems. The floor-model, cabinet TV is making a comeback at IKEA as the Swedish furniture company brings its unique design and funny names to consumer electronics. Soon you'll find budget home theater gear packed cleverly inside IKEA's living-room furniture – after some assembly of course. Think of it as a Home Theater in a Box (HTiB) system packed inside IKEA living-room pieces. Dubbed Uppleva, the line of gadget-furniture has an LED TV as its centerpiece and includes a wireless 2.1 speaker system, internet connectivity and Blu-ray compatibility but the real value offered by IKEA – no unsightly wires. It’s budget home theater with the ultimate in spousal approval factor.
While we don’t have complete tech specs yet, we're not expecting much from IKEA’s collaboration with Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL. As far as low-end A/V equipment goes, the end-product can’t be any worse than many popular HTiB systems in circulation and some of them aren’t bad for their price range.
IKEA began its foray into consumer electronics with market research, a survey conducted by YouGov that found three out of four people want fewer visible cables in their living-room. Does that mean one in four wanted to see more visible cables in the living room? IKEA's study also revealed that 60-percent of the people asked have three to four remote controls at home. IKEA wouldn’t be the first company to make its mission to rid the living room of cables and combine multiple remote controls into one. But it’s the first in a long time to combine those efforts into a living-room set.
The system itself consists of an LED TV and a main component that serves as processor, disc player, and amplifier etc, cleverly built in various models of furniture. As is the IKEA way, you’ll take home a flat-shipped box and assemble it yourself. The new IKEA A/V systems will sell first in Europe in June with additional markets including North America soon afterward – no firm dates are available yet. The least expensive unit from the Uppleva line will sell for US $955.
Could IKEA’s Uppleva line bring back the cabinet entertainment systems that were so popular in the 60s?
While there is certain to be nothing revolutionary from a technical perspective, most Audioholics aren’t likely to rush to IKEA to be first on their block with an Uppleva unit. But it will be interesting to see if this takes off. Today’s entertainment systems are getting more complex, all-in-one systems have long been the budget way to get yourself into a functional home theater system. Taking that budget HTiB system and building it into furniture could really take off among younger consumers faced with filling their first living-room as they go off to college or a first job. Ben Arnold, an industry analyst with the NPD Group has this to say about the move by IKEA.
"When you talk about consumer electronics, and TVs in particular, it's brand-driven, you can have a slick cabinet, but if the electronics is not a high or premium brand, it may not go very far."
If the idea does catch on, though, it could create some intriguing possibilities, he noted. "Who knows?" he asked. "It could open a whole new avenue for electronics companies and furniture manufacturers for partnering up.”
Then again we are probably more of a select audience than what Ikea even hopes to cater to.