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Sony’s Stylish Hidden Home Theater
A sliding panel hides a high definition TV and speakers

By Daniel Canale-Parola

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Not everyone is of the opinion that big television sets make for attractive furniture. Since they first arrived in living rooms, a variety of approaches to hiding TVs have been tried. The only method that seems to have caught on is placing the set behind cabinet doors in large wooden cabinets. Not only does this take up a lot of space, most TV cabinets are about as contemporary and stylish as my dad’s 1976 Pontiac Le Mans. What to do if you prefer a more urban, minimalist look and still want a room that isn’t visually dominated by a big TV?

Sony believes they have an attractive new answer. The TAV-L1, billed as an “integrated home theater system”, hides a 32-inch high definition Sony Bravia LCD television behind a motorized sliding panel. The panel, which slides downward, is not just for looks; it houses a CD/DVD player (which also supports DivX, MP3s, jpgs, SACDs and all the various “+-RW” DVD and CD formats), and 2 50-watt front speakers. Not to be outdone, the stand features twin 100-watt vibration canceling powered subwoofers.

Equipped with Sony’s S-Force® Pro Front Surround Technology, which simulates a surround sound effect without requiring rear speakers, this low-profile unit should crank out a fair share of home theater shake, rattle and roll as well as doubling as a nice stereo system for listening to music.

If you have kids with grimy hands (and what kids don’t have grimy hands?) you’ll also value the protection the sliding panel provides for the Bravia’s screen. The unit has video and audio inputs for your PC if you really want to take the multi-purpose concept to the extreme. The default grill color is black, but for an extra bit of change you will soon be able to choose from one of the colored grills shown above (Sony says they will be available this month). The TAV-L1 can be ordered on the B&H Photo website.

The Vitals:

Television type
16:9 widescreen HD-ready LCD TFT active matrix monitor with DVD/CD player

Diagonal size
32 in

Width / Depth / Height / Weight
44.9 in / 14.2 in / 28.7 in / 99.2 lbs

Video Resolution
1366 x 768

Comb filter
3D digital

Supported Resolutions
480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i

Audio controls
Bass, Treble, Balance

Total output power
200 Watt

Two 50-watt built-in front speakers, one built-in 100 watt subwoofer

Additional features
Room light sensor (RLS) Remote control (Infrared)

HDMI Interface Input: 1 (Rear)
PC Video Input: 1 (Rear) - D-sub 15
PC Audio Input: 1 (Rear)
S-Video Inputs: 3 (1 Side / 2 Rear)
Composite Video Inputs: 3 (1 Side / Rear)
Audio In: 5 (1 Side / 4 Rear)
Audio Out: 2 (Variable/Fixed:1) (OPT:1) (Rear)
Headphone Output: 1 (Side)
RF Connection Input: 1 (Rear)

Disc media type

DVD media format

Additional DVD features
DivX capable, JPEG photo playback

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