Popular Swedish furniture store Ikea have revealed their intentions to start selling TV sets and internet-connected devices as part of their home decoration range, in a bid to enter a new market in their series of over 300 worldwide superstores.
Teaming up with Chinese company TCL Multimedia, they will not be directly responsible for the smart TV sets or sound systems themselves (that duty falling to TCL), but will design the surrounding elements such as table and shelves, and in the common fashion of their store, sell it as flat-pack (electronics already complete).
Another feature being implemented for the TV sets (which are designed in conjunction with the furniture as a means of hiding wires) is in-build ‘players’ such as for CD’s, DVD’s, and Blu-ray discs with one remote to control the entire product.
Company spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said of the developments: ”We’ve realized that people are watching more TV and are using electronics in their living rooms more and more. We came up with this because we found that people want to get rid of the cables and they don’t want those mountains of remote controls either.”
Ikea living room head of department Magnus Bondesson summarised the move, stating: “This is a large step for us. We will have an offer that is unique in the market. We are launching a new concept where in one place you can buy your furniture and your electronics – designed for and matched with each other from the start.”
The set, which is being launched in select Ikea European markets (including its native Sweden, with France, Germany, Italy, and Poland all ear-marked as earliest-release locations) in June and in autumn (launching to all other Ikea stores in ‘spring 2013′), will be known as ‘Uppleva’, the Swedish word for ‘experience’. Current estimates suggest that the item will be sold at launch with prices starting from 6,500 Swedish krona ($960, £600, €735).
It is not the first time that the company have sold electrical equipment alongside their trademark Swedish furniture, but will Ikea’s design of a complete smart-TV and display combo be the DIY model that others now attempt to follow?