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TV and furniture in one – what do you think of Ikea’s ideas?

Ikea is releasing a… smart TV. The Swedish furniture company has stretched its wings from flat-pack bookcases to the world of electronics. The ‘Uppleva’ combines a smart TV with Ikea-style furniture.

Ikea’s all-in-one TV combines a 1080p HD LED flat screen TV, built-in Blu-ray, DVD and CD players, plus a 2.1 sound system with wireless sub woofer.

There’s no release date for the UK yet, but it’s scheduled for a June launch in other parts of Europe.

Patrick Steen’s keen on Ikea’s all-in-one TV

Is there anyone who doesn’t own a piece of Ikea furniture? A cheeky chair or chest of drawers? Swedish design has been having a full on flirt with Britain’s homes over the past few years. In fact, Ikea is apparently the UK’s favourite retailer after capturing our hearts with its flat-packed parts. Now Brits can continue the love affair by adding an Ikea TV to their pad.

I’m up for it. TV manufacturers have become set in their ways. Lounging around and coming up with nothing other than ever skinnier rectangular black tellies – the only real innovation they’ve added to their bow is 3D. Like we’re interested?

What we need is a new player to challenge these struggling manufacturers (Sony’s TV business has been losing money for the past eight years). Enter Ikea. Its answer is a return to the 1950s aesthetic of ‘television set as furniture’, but what’s wrong with that?

The Uppleva (‘experience’ in Swedish) looks functional and stylish, and would immediately become the central hub for your home’s entertainment. All that’s missing is a built-in games console and then I’d be as happy as Larry.

I don’t think I’d be up to building the telly myself, so fingers crossed it doesn’t come flat-packed like the rest of Ikea’s range (just imagine the assembly instructions!). There’s also the obvious question of whether the TV itself is any good, but we’ll leave that up to the Which? test labs.

Ikea’s innovation tackles my biggest bugbear; all of the cable mess that clutter up your chic living room. Now you can just slide your HDMIs into Uppleva’s sleek body.

And how it looks is up to you – like a giant Lego set, the arrangement and colour of all its components are up to you, so you can make it fit your aesthetic, rather than allowing your TV to dominate your home and, ultimately, your life. I’m a believer in Uppleva – are you?

Nikki Whiteman’s not up for the Uppleva

I’ve bought my fair share of furniture and one or two TVs in my time, yet curiously I’ve never once said to myself, ‘wouldn’t it be great if these two things were seamlessly integrated?’

Why? Well, because a TV does something completely different to my furniture. When I’m choosing a telly I care about specs – size, resolution. But when I’m choosing furniture I want something beautiful, that’s built to last and, most importantly, that will fit in my lounge.

By integrating a TV with what looks like a 70s version of a TV cabinet, Ikea is telling me that the only thing that matters is functionality.

Yes, it’s nice to have everything together so there aren’t trailing wires everywhere, but I think having a few wires cluttering things up is a small price to pay for having the freedom to choose my furniture by other criteria than just what colour MDF it’s built from.

Ikea’s also asking me to design my living room based on its furniture specs. If I buy the Uppleva but I also want a bookcase, a side table and extra cabinets, I’ll probably need to stick to Ikea’s own products if I want it to match.

Some might point to Uppleva’s five year guarantee, which is a great thing for a telly. But it’s not that great for a piece of furniture. Call me ‘Little Miss Tightwad’ but I don’t expect to have to replace items of furniture every five years. I buy my cabinets, bookcases and tables to last.

There are some products that I think would do genuinely well together (come to my Dragon’s Den with a hovercraft and skateboard mashup and you’ll have my undivided attention). But combining furniture (beautiful, long-lasting, homely) with a television (practical, functional, short-lived) seems like a complete misunderstanding of what either product is actually for.

What do you think of Ikea's all-in-one TV and furniture solution ('Uppleva')?

I agree with Nikki - it's a terrible idea (62%, 142 Votes)

I agree with Patrick - it's a great idea (38%, 87 Votes)

Total Voters: 229

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Comments
Guest
Phil says:
20 April 2012

A case of back to the future, here is the 1950’s equivalent:-

and it wasn’t a new idea even then.

It failed most probably because either the technology failed before the furniture or vice-versa. I think Nikki has a point, people regard buying furniture and home entertainment as separate activities. Both seem to have become disposable fashion items but by investing in an all in one “solution” (yuch) such as this you’re relying on both becoming out of date at about the same time.

On a personal note I think it looks awful but then I despise Ikea with a vengeance and won’t have it in the house.

Guest

Well Phil, I think I’ll let the video do the talking then:

Guest
Phil says:
20 April 2012

Are Ikea paying you to screen their ad? Should Which? be doing this at all?

Guest

Of course not Phil. This is why we’ve written a for and against Conversation where Which? itself has not given a conclusive opinion. The video is for your information only so you can see what the product’s about and make your own mind up. Not until Which? has taken Uppleva in for full testing will we be able to give a Which? verdict. This is just a bit of fun.

Guest

I reckon that what looks clever now could be very inflexible in future. Not so long ago, most TVs were large boxes with relatively small screens and half-decent speakers. Now TVs are thin, some have enormous screens and you now need to have some form of external audio equipment to get reasonable sound quality.

The Uppleva might be useful for landlords renting furnished flats, where furniture is often not looked after properly, short-lived, and there is no point in spending much money.

Guest

Perfect for landlords, especially with that 5 yr guarantee.
Great for your teenagers bedrooms, although with the computer and catch up TV, they would probably use it just as a monitor.
But for the main TV in the house I doubt it, but Ikea have surprised us before with tat that has become iconic, so they just might do it again.
it might just be worth buying one of the first ones, storing it for the grandchildren, who can than sell it as a highley collectable item.

Guest

I’d be more worried about whether there’s sufficient ventilation and what make the techie bits are. If they only use Which Best buys then fine, but cheap rubbish, then not so. And how many plugs will it take, I for one need to unplug to Sky box several times over the year to reset it, will that be easy without having to switch everything off?

Guest

Even the thought of buying a TV built in to a unit makes me feel nervous. My dad always told me to avoid buying technology that had more than one complicated component to it (eg TVs with built in DVD players) as it simply means there are more parts to go wrong.

That might sound a bit pessimistic but I’m inclined to agree with Dad on this one. Upgrading your TV would be basically impossible and, as Nikki points out, I generally expect my furniture to last me for more than 5 years. I’m definitely not convinced!

Guest
Matt M says:
20 April 2012

I think it’s quite a clean, elegant way to have an entertainment set up. The hardcore entertainment setup junkies would probably not even think of buying this but the regular consumer may find this convenient.
I disagree that this design is totally function over form. I mean it looks like a pretty clean and neat setup. I sometimes hate how a television takes over of the room. This makes it part of the room instead.
Some of Nikki’s points I disagree with. She states that in or