After 7 years, IKEA finally makes great flatscreen TV furniture. Now teach people to hide their boxes.
It seems like my mother-in-law’s opinion – that the main benefit of a flat-screen TV is that it looks good off – is popular with the ladies. It’s interesting though that the brand ecosystem around this very popular category has taken so long to develop (compared to uptake)
After almost 7 years, it’s strange that (from my own personal survey of TV owners in Costa Rica, USA, Canada and UK):
- Most people don’t mount their TV’s on the wall
- Those who do mount on the wall, have done so with professional help (i.e. it’s not easy).
- Those who mount, and do it themselves, leave unseemly wires dangling everywhere
- Most people don’t mount, and keep their very flat TV on a very deep old-school-TV-cabinet – you know the kind intended for old TV’s and regular PVR’s and regular DVD players
- Most people leave their PVR/DVD/Cable boxes on display, to be able to receive a remote control beam
For a normally-early-adopter type like me, all these factors have led to me avoiding these great-when-they’re-off products. If IKEA had launched these wire-hiding easy-mounting cabinets when they could have – 6 years ago rather than this year – I might have bitten.
Brand ecosystems develop very quickly in popular small-consumer-electronics categories like computers, music players and mobile phones. Apple iPod / iPhone / iPod Touch is the best example, with thousands of accessories and applications appearing on the scene to feed on the popularity of the devices.
Maybe the bigness and prominence of the TV’s in a room, combined with the technical uninviting complexity of a wall mount make it very intimidating and most flatscreen TV’s are not stationed or mounted optimally. The easier companies like IKEA make it to finally release the potential of flatscreens the better. Maybe they can work with HD box / PVR box / DVD player / Amplifier companies to make them smaller or work with smaller companies to completely hide them in the cabinets.
Hide them? Yes hide them! To the IKEA brand manager that wants to impress, here is the crowning touch on your better-late-than-never TV furniture. The most magical device for any living room is the IR distribution system. What’s that? It’s something that receives a remote control signal, then re-transmits it to the cable box / HD box / DVD Player which is completely hidden in your furniture. A decent one only costs about $80, but for some reason no big companies have made a big deal about them. IKEA brand manager, team up with the guys at Keene Electronics and you will give millions of people 100% beautiful living rooms. I’ll take 1% for the idea if you do.
Divide and conquer.
Here’s an interesting take on the problem:
Good design has solved a lot of the issues that George mentions. Those who know me will know that I’m biased (being a designer).
Have a look at this product, it goes a long way towards solving the issues associated with wall mounting your TV: weight, unsightly cables, IR receiver and getting it straight (the supplied bracket is a stroke of genius). There’s one on my living room wall and I love it. Just a shame it was so expensive. This seems to have killed the concept as I don’t think it was continued in the following model year.