Tips for Buying Furniture, Mounts & Cables
Finding the right accessories to complete your home entertainment system.
November 05, 2008 by EH Staff

Now that you’ve got a snazzy new TV, surround-sound speaker system and all the cool components for your ultimate entertainment space, don’t think the job is complete. You still have to hook everything up, figure out where to put all the pieces, and find a comfortable place to park yourself so you can listen to music or watch TV until your brain is numb.

These home theater necessities aren’t the glamour points in your setup—though many furniture and seating options are very eye-catching. However, they usually need a spot in your budget. Even if you’re simply swapping out a component like a DVD player or A/V receiver for an upgraded model, that can mean new cables to purchase. You may want to wall mount the new flat-panel TV. Or you might choose special furniture to house your large TV, the electronics and even front-channel speakers. Shopping for these items might not be as fun as sitting through TV and speaker demonstrations, but we call them necessities for a reason.

Let’s face it: You don’t live in a college dorm anymore. Your entertainment system deserves a sophisticated and elegant finishing touch that won’t be an eyesore in your living room. Fortunately, manufacturers are obliging and producing cabinetry and seating that will satisfy both “his and hers” entertainment room demands.

Stands and cabinets available today are marrying function, practicality and design. Not everyone can mount a 50- or 60-inch television to the wall, so you’ll need a sturdy piece of furniture to serve as the TV base. Wall units will include cutout spaces for common TV screen sizes, and many furniture makers can custom create models that are tweaked for your specifications or design requests. Cabinetry can blend into just about any room decor, too, with wood-grain finishes available in rosewood, cherry, maple, ash and more.

If you’re looking to store electronics components and disc collections, make sure the cabinetry has ample shelving that can also be flexible. Take measurements of the components—DVD players tend to be slim, but A/V receivers and amplifiers can be beefy—to ensure that you have enough room. Some cabinets not only allow you to hide the black-box components but also let you conceal your front-channel speakers, with cloth that lets the sound flow through uninhibited.

Of course, with all of those electronics concealed you’ll want to do the same for the wires and cables, and some furniture features channels to stealthily manage the connections. Also account for proper ventilation of your gear, as stacks of equipment inside a cabinet can get pretty hot.
Dedicated equipment closets are often used in grander theater constructions and home automation systems. These rooms typically contain one or more racks of electronics components, on wheels for easy access to the connections.

Home theater seating for your entertainment setup will determine how many seats you buy—and the configurations you will look for. Seats often come in a variety of shapes, sizes and layouts. There are single seats, love seats, couches, multiple seat rows and more. Choose whichever will fit your room and your guests most comfortably. Other factors to consider are the number of rows, whether or not there will be aisles and so on.

Some seats come motorized, and some have that feature as an option. When a chair is motorized, that means it can recline without your having to do any work. Manual recliners usually have a lever and often recline to only one standard setting. Motorized seats can help take your theater to the next level of comfort—especially models that include massaging action.

A comfortable seat can make your arms and neck feel like Jell-O—if they are positioned just right. Arm styles include straight or curved or none at all. Some even feature cup holders for those marathon movie nights. Headrests are often adjustable, which means you can bob and weave to the action or fall fast asleep if the action’s not moving fast enough for you.

While all of the extras are nice, there’s nothing more important than the look and feel of your seating. Many companies offer a variety of materials, colors and patterns to perfectly match the theme or scheme of your room. Some seats are even custom made, which means you can create a look of your very own.

Video Display Mounts
Flat-panel TVs are all about sleekness. Though plenty of people simply keep their sets on stands or cabinets, many opt for a clean-looking wall-mount installation (and accompanying cable concealment). Display mounts for walls and ceilings can handle almost any-size flat-panel plasma and LCD TV and are generally sold by size ranges.

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