One of the reasons why I’ve delayed buying a big-screen TV is trying to figure out how to store it. I’ve yet to find a way to store a big-screen TV that meets my requirements:
- Material and construction. No metal-and-glass here in earthquake country! The furniture should be made of wood. I’d strongly prefer that it not be a particle-board veneer, but that’s because most veneers are cheap. A high-quality real wood veneer, as opposed to a “wood-esque” plastic coating might work. Wall-mount brackets are a strong plus near to the Pacific Subduction Zone, too.
- Color. If we’re talking wood, I like dark colors. A deep red cherry stain is ideal, but that seems impossible unless I build the thing myself and pick out the stain color.
- Doors. It’d be nice to be able to close the doors on the TV and hide it from the world. Even with the existing small (20 inch!) set, it feels like the room is built around it. That feeling is only going to be worse with a large set.
- TV Size. I keep dancing around which TV to get, but I’m leaning towards the Sony SXRD line. I don’t need the ninja-rific space-savings of LCD or plasma, so I’d rather get an RPTV at half the price. In the Sony SXRD lineup, there are variety of TVs available in the 50″ to 60″ range. As much as I’d like to get an XBR-series TV, the only one in the current model lineup is a 70″ TV, set to come out next spring. I’m going to draw the line at a TV that has a diagonal that is almost my size. (I am 74 inches tall.) There’s a minor constraint here, in that the TV shelf needs to support about 80 pounds and have a shelf depth of about 16 inches, but most furniture easily accomodates that.
- Home Theater and Audio/Visual component size. This seems to be the biggest problem I have. Two of my components require a very deep shelf of about twenty inches, and they’re both vital components. One is the Yamaha A/V receiver, and the other is a home theater PC running MythTV. If they were unimportant components, I’d let it go and consider using a small rack of components to the side of the TV. However, the receiver is the hub of the system, and it’s pretty rare to use the TV without pulling the signal from the MythTV machine (whether live TV, time-shifted HDTV recordings, or DVDs). Both of the problematic components need to be accomodated in my storage unit.
- Reasonable ventilation. Stereo components hate heat. Computers hate it even worse. If the MythTV computer is getting stored in an enclosure, it’s going to have to stay ventilated to avoid disk failure. (Thankfully, I can use lm_sensors to monitor temperatures.)
- Cost. Oh, and in addition to being demanding on what I want, I don’t want to pay a lot, either. Preferably, it doesn’t cost more than the TV that it’s holding. Between the changes in TV, and the changes in video technology, I can’t feel comfortable buying a really expensive piece of furniture that will hold today’s technology. Any TV furniture that’s more than a few years old is great for 4:3 aspect ratio TVs, but I find that nearly everything I watch these days is letterboxed to 16:9. I wouldn’t want to bet on technology staying the same, so I’d like to feel comfortable replacing it.