Ikea Tries to Reinvent the Television

A blog about business and economics.
June 3 2012 11:10 PM

Ikea Tries to Reinvent the Television

The television market is in a paradoxical place right now. As technology, television displays have never been better or cheaper. But making televisions has rarely been a worse business. Lots of companies are making good displays but few of them are succeeding at making money. One way of looking at the problem is that TVs have become "good enough" and, as a consequence, utterly commoditized. The manufacturers have been trying to fight against this trend with what amount to gimmicks—3D, clumsy web integration, USB ports—but nobody's come up with anything that's caught customers' imagination.

But Ikea lives in the business of commodities, and they're now getting into the television game by essentially embracing "good enough." The screen, as Ikea sees it, is just an element of a piece of furniture like a handle or a screw or anything else:

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It's an intriguing vision if you ask me. Coming soon to Europe and perhaps someday to an extremely large store near you.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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