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IKEA to integrate TVs, music players into furniture line

A LED TV and a sound system is shown integrated in IKEA furniture as part of a mock-up for the Swedish home furniture firm's venture into home electronics.
A LED TV and a sound system is shown integrated in IKEA furniture as part of a mock-up for the Swedish home furniture firm's venture into home electronics.Jessica Gow / AP

Sweden’s furniture manufacturer IKEA is known for its affordable -- and sometimes difficult to assemble -- furniture. Now it  is branching out into consumer electronics.

Don’t worry, though -- you won’t have to assemble a television or a sound system when you get home.

The world's largest furniture maker has joined forces with Chinese consumer electronics firm TCL to launch a line of furniture with integrated connected television and sound systems in five European cities in June, throughout seven European countries this autumn, and in its remaining markets by the summer of 2013.

"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.

"We are launching a new concept where you in one place can buy your furniture and your electronics -- designed for and matched with each other from start," he added.

The furniture aims to solve the challenge of living room clutter of cords and remote controls, Bondesson explained.

IKEA said the packages come in three different designs. They all include a LED TV, a sound system with wireless bass speakers, an internet connection and CD, DVD and Blue-ray players that are integrated into IKEA furniture that hides cables.

Tolga Oncu, sales chief at IKEA Sweden, said prices will start at around 6,500 Swedish crowns ($960) for the simplest combination bench unit, television and sound system.

"We've had very clear signals from customers that there is a need to be able to buy and integrate home electronics with the furniture in a simple way," Oncu said.

"With the way IKEA works, the way we can offer our products at the lowest prices on the market, we are convinced that this will be a really big success."

Oncu declined to comment on costs or sales and profit outlook for the new range of furniture.

The co-operation with TCL isn't IKEA's first venture outside the furniture sector. For a decade it has sold appliances developed in co-operation with Whirpool, and for the last three years it has sold appliances developed in cooperation with Electrolux.