Unique Home Theater Furniture
Beyond perching your new TV on a wood-grain or metal/glass tabletop or bolting it to a plate in the wall, you can set up your home theater in a number of novel ways.
If you want to keep the TV out of sight when it’s not being used, you can get furniture that sequesters the display inside a cabinet. Then, you either open a door, or if that’s too much trouble, point a remote to make the TV ascend atop a motorized platform like the Radio City orchestra rising from the pit. Flat-panel TVs are slim and light enough to make such acrobatics practical whenever it’s show time.
But motors aren’t just for entrenching in furniture. They can also be used as part of a mechanical arm connected to a wall-mounted TV or as part of an automated ceiling lift. In the former case, the viewer points the remote to cause an articulated arm to extend from the wall and swivel and pivot toward the audience.
In the case of a ceiling lift, the TV can be commanded to descend much like a front-projection screen. Keep in mind that mechanics aren’t as instantaneous as electronics. Even at the traveling rate of 2-inches per second, the display and sound will come on before the picture is fully in view.
So, there is something to be said for making the TV move under human power. This normally can be accomplished by putting the TV on a stand with wheels. Such traveling A/V carts are a mainstay of educational institutions and corporate training sessions, but they can work in homes too. Just remember to lean in when you push. If, however, you want the TV to stay situated in a particular room, but you’d like the flexibility of reorienting the screen by as much as 360 degrees, then you probably want a turntable-type stand.
Other times you may crave a TV that looms statuesque on a floor-standing pedestal rather than simply squat on a tabletop base. You can even place two displays back-to-back on some pedestals, which may obviate the need for having to turn a display. Think back-to-back displays as a high-tech room divider: one screen pointed at the living room; the other at the kitchen. In commercial applications, such contiguous displays make for hard-to-miss signage.
Also consider the minimalism of crossing a pedestal with a sound bar, supplementing the TV’s own speakers (or lack of speakers if the display is merely a monitor) with a thin crossbar speaker. Soundbars also can be accommodated on hybrid A/V stands with high-back frames for mounting a display. A more subtle approach in a tight space like a kitchen or wet bar is an under-counter TV. Such setups use a smaller screen size and typically embed a DVD player and mounting bracket: Beer mugs and wine glasses wait in the cabinet to be served even as the TV attached beneath hangs around for an audience.
With the same trompe l’oeil of certain floor-standing furniture that makes it seem like the TV is wall-mounted, you can also get cabinets that physically mount to the wall (and leave room below for shoes or a subwoofer.) Think of it as a bookcase for A/V components built into the wall.
Corner-made furniture is another subcategory. These triangular A/V stands are made to sit flush in a corner and they can save space. However, if the TV flanks both walls, you may be tempted to angle the facing sofa so that the corner seats are equidistant from the screen.
Floor-standing lamps that embed speakers are a new type of triple-purpose furnishing: decorative, light-emitting and sound-producing. Stereo speaking, you want to stage them in pairs. Using an included transmitter, the audio signal can be delivered wirelessly, though you’ll still have to plug in the lamps. Such lamps bypass the need to tuck wires under a rug to reach rear speakers.
Finally, if you can’t take your eyes off your flat-panel TV even when it’s off, why not highlight the centerpiece of your home theater by framing it in… a frame?! Decorative frames aren’t just for oil paintings anymore.