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IKEA to launch furniture with integrated TV and Blu-ray systems

IKEA Uppleva

We're familiar with flat-packed furniture, but how about flat-packed electronics?

IKEA is getting into the home entertainment business, by launching a range of furniture with a built-in smart TV, Blu-ray player and 2.1 sound system including wireless subwoofer.

Called Uppleva (which apparently means 'experience), there will be three different designs, in a range of colours, with screen sizes starting at 24in. Each unit will also have space for set-top boxes, games consoles and the like.

"This is a large step for us. We will have an offer that is unique in the market," IKEA's living room chief Magnus Bondesson told Reuters.

The LED screens are Full HD, have a 400Hz refresh rate, and are equipped with four HDMI inputs, two USB ports and support for DivX HD files, we're told.

The electronics – designed specifically for IKEA – will be made by Chinese manufacturer TCL, which sells TVs and other multimedia electronics under the RCA and Thomson brand names.

Prices for a complete home entertainment set-up will start at around 6500 Swedish crowns ($960), says IKEA, and the systems will be available in five European cities by June, throughout seven European countries this autumn, but not reaching the UK until early 2013.

"We've had very clear signals from our customers that there is a need to be able to buy and integrate home electronics within the furniture in a simple way," says Tolga Oncu, sales chief at IKEA Sweden.

The co-operation with TCL isn't IKEA's first venture outside the furniture sector. For a decade, it has sold appliances in conjunction with Whirlpool.

IKEA's flatpack flatscreens – good thing or bad? Read Andrew Everard's blog

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.