Ikea’s New ‘Uppleva’ Home Theatre System Hits Stores This Month

Written by: Kristiina Yang

Are you looking to buy a new television set without the hassle of finding the right furniture to put it on? Well, Ikea might have just the solution for you.

Long beloved by the mass consumer for offering affordable and attractive furniture, Swedish company Ikea will now step into the realm of electronics releasing this month its new Uppleva home theatre system.

The Uppleva consists of a “smart” LED television monitor, blue ray player and speaker system (including one moveable, wireless subwoofer), all integrated into standard, stylish Ikea furniture. Further, the set has a built-in system for organizing and hiding the messy cords from sight and from mind.

Uppleva Arrangements

Ikea's new 'Uppleva' home theatre system can be customized to user preferences.

This system is at once a television set and a piece of furniture, Ikea demonstrating its understanding of user needs and creating a new concept that is poised to challenge competitors in both the electronic and furniture industries. Making this deal even more attractive is its price, starting just under $1000.

Like many of Ikea’s other furniture pieces, the Uppleva will come in an assortment of colors, arrangements and sizes, the buyer able to customize the television set to his or her particular needs. The television will also serve various functions, allowing users to watch movies in Blu-ray or DVD format, connect to the Internet through built-in Wi-Fi and listen to music.

Technology bloggers claim that Uppleva and its anticipated success demonstrate the shifting priorities of consumers today, particularly in the realm of electronics. Christina Bonnington for Wired Magazine Online points out that consumers today are less focused on the quality of TV sets, which was once the products’ major selling point. What sets Uppleva apart is its convenience, appearance and low cost, qualities that Ikea can and will capitalize on.

While Ikea is not pushing any new limits technologically, the company, as always, attempts to cater to user needs, which is anticipated to give the Uppleva system an edge in the market. The set is anticipated to require some home assembly, as is common with many Ikea products.

This month Uppleva will be released first across several European cities, including its flagship city of Stockholm, Paris and Berlin, and will be available in almost all European stores through autumn 2012. Uppleva’s release in countries outside of Europe, including in the United States, should be expected in spring 2013. For more information, be sure to watch Ikea’s lighthearted Uppleva teaser trailer below:

Adventure Time Animated Series to Start New Season Jan. 16

Written By: Catherine Wolinski

Finn and Jake fans, get ready to reenter the Land of Ooo. Adventure Time, the critically acclaimed animated series on Cartoon Network, will begin airing new episodes next week—the young television show embarks on its fourth season on Monday, Jan. 16.

Finn and Jake frrom Adventure Time

Jake the Dog and Finn the Human fist-pump a victory.

What’s not to love about a heroic boy and his magical dog taking on quests throughout a mystical land of monsters and bubblegum?  Some might say there are a few things, but they risk being refuted. Though passed up twice by Nickelodeon in 2008, Adventure Time (originally titled Adventure Time with Finn and Jake) was picked up by Cartoon Network later that year, to begin airing in April 2010. Nearly two years later, the adventurous television series continues to win the hearts of many. The PG series has garnered a cult following that captures children and adults alike, along with commercial success, award nominations, and praise from critics.

“Adventure Time makes me wish I were a kid again, just so I could grow up to be as awesome as the kids who are currently watching Adventure Time will be,” says D.F., a critic from Entertainment Weekly.

This remark holds quite a truth to it—viewers are constantly in awe of the surrealist scenes, electric soundtrack, and bizarre characters, all of which are inhuman and range from gremlin to Berry Princess. Although it is primarily a kids program, chock full of colorful landscapes, lighthearted escapades, and goofy facial expressions, the show as a whole is

Finn kicks the Ice King in a shot of Adventure Time

Finn kicks away evil as he defeats the Ice King.

far from simple or childish. Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward uses a unique style to communicate a sense of magic in a post-apocalyptic world, a setting which tends to include punchy subject matter that far surpasses the cognitive awareness of its target audience. Finn, presumed to be the only human left, employs himself as a hero of the various worlds within the Land of Ooo, fighting evil and boredom as he goes from adventure to adventure with his sidekick Jake. While it is true that Finn and Jake are most often concerned with the safety of various princesses, they are also faced with dark situations, like the lonely Ice King who tries to capture and marry said princesses though he looks to be a much older man.

According to television critic Robert Lloyd, Adventure Time exhibits “a fantastical land peopled with strange, somewhat disturbing characters and has at its center a young male person or person-like thing making his way in that world with the help of unusual, not always reliable, mentors.”

Both disconcerting and delightful, Adventure Time proves that our interaction with the world can be far from ordinary.  For those looking for weeknight television adventures, tune in to Cartoon Network this January.

Google’s New Frontier For Conquer? TV

TV!

Google is taking another tremendous leap toward its apparent aim of becoming the central portal to not only the internet, but all of sedentary life.

Futurists have long predicted the melding of television with the internet, the world’s number one time suck and its No. 2 (which is which varies depending on who you ask). Others have tried it, but so far no one I know has an internet TV, and especially not one that fully combines the two in a way that fulfills the potential as foretold by tech soothsayers. It’s still inevitable.

I lived more than half my life without the internet, and I wouldn’t dream of it now. Today’s kids already get most of their video entertainment from the internet, and television isn’t about get e-victimized like newspapers.

It’s just a matter of who would do it, when and how. Well who else would it be but Google? And when is a better time to start than now? And how else but by making some smart partnerships with the technological experts that could bring it all together?

Google, Logitech, Intel and Sony have come together to make TVs “smart” (think: evolution of cell phones). This wave of the future is set to come out in the fall in U.S. Best Buy stores. The rest of the world will have to wait. No price has been set. There is no timeline for when Google will take over the world.

Samsung Partners with James Cameron in 3D Television Venture

Two People Wearing 3D Glasses

3D Glasses

Samsung, the world’s largest producer of flat screen televisions, is partnering with filmmaker James Cameron to create more 3D video content.  This partnership occurs in response to the increased demand for 3D televisions in the global market.  The relatively recent resurgence of 3D films has prompted Samsung and its competitors including Sony, LG, Toshiba, and Sharp to release 3D television models throughout 2010.  Even without much selection of 3D films and other video content, Samsung expects to fall short of the demand for 3D products this year due to a shortage of a specific technological component necessary to their production.

In March of this year, Cameron helped Samsung launch the first ever 3D HD television in the United States.  The company is depending upon the continued success of films such as James Cameron’s Avatar, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and Blue Sky Studio’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs to boost sales of its new 3D television.  Sales are projected at over 2 million units for 2010.  Samsung’s plans to boost 3D content do not stop at partnering with James Cameron.  The organization has also struck deals with Dreamworks Animation and SM Entertainment (a South Korean entertainment agency) to increase 3D content in the coming years.