The Ikea TV Is Coming — and We Should All Take It Seriously | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.
Ikea was your go-to retailer when you needed to furnish your dorm room — and many of us certainly have Ikea staples still littering our homes. Ikea media centers and bookshelves have long housed our electronics, but starting this summer, Ikea will become a full-fledged electronics manufacturer competing with Samsung and Sony.
The company’s TV system, Uppleva, was first revealed in mid-April amid a wave of surprise, ridicule and WTF. “An Ikea TV? Who would want that?!” Such were the protests of hardcore gadget enthusiasts. But now new details have emerged, and we know much more about the TV, thanks to a video that was released on Friday. (You can watch it yourself at the bottom of this post.)
The upcoming Uppleva is a Wi-Fi-ready smart TV. It features an LED-backlit display, full 1080p HD resolution, and 400Hz response time, along with standard accoutrements like USB and HDMI ports for connecting peripherals. But it’s not just a TV — it’s the anchor of a full-fledged media center, with a built-in Blu-ray/DVD/CD player, a 2.1 surround sound system, and extra storage spaces for tucking away cables and your extensive Blu-ray collection.
Indeed, one of the touted benefits of Uppleva is the fact that all those wires and cables are completely hidden from view.
“The idea is to sell complete TV solutions, where TV, sound and furniture are combined and integrated in a way that is really unique to the market today,” Uppleva project leader Marcel Godfroy says in Ikea’s latest product video.
The TV will go on sale in select European markets this month for a reported price tag of under $1,000.
“It’s not interesting in a lot of ways, and interesting in a couple of ways,” IHS iSuppli analyst Jordan Selburn said of Ikea’s television. “Where it’s not interesting is from a tech perspective. They’re just taking a third-party TV and bolting it to a piece of furniture. But in another respect, that in itself is interesting: that Ikea feels that TV technology is mature enough that they can do this.”
Indeed. Ikea clearly believe that a TV’s unique selling proposition is no longer rooted in the display itself, something Selburn agrees with. With the exception of super high-end TVs, the differences in image quality among TV sets isn’t that great. At Ikea’s price point, differentiation can be found in distribution, convenience, and appearance. And these are all things that Ikea can capitalize on.
“The fact that there’s no technological breakthrough, but they feel there’s a good opportunity says something about [television] technology,” Selburn said.
Perhaps this is exactly what Apple sees in the television market, and how it could make a big dent in that space. Apple’s rumored television would undoubtedly be hitting the high end of the market, however, where Ikea is targeting the budget end.
But here’s the real question everyone’s dying to know: Will Ikea’s Uppleva TV be “assembly required”?
“It’s Ikea. I can’t imagine that there isn’t a hex wrench involved somewhere,” Selburn said.