Enhancements
Buying the Extras - Furniture, Racks, and Cables
There's more to home theater than a big screen and a pile of speakers. The right seating, cables and even mounts can make a world of difference.
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The right theater seating, like these loungers from CinemaTech, can make even a Godfather marathon feel like a walk in the park.
November 19, 2007 by EH Staff

Yeah, yeah … all this “other” stuff was lumped into this section because it’s not that important … until it’s really important. Let’s face it: You need some of this stuff. Without it, you may not have a place to sit, a place to store your equipment or a way to hang your gear from a wall or ceiling. Heck, you won’t even be able to hook it up without the right cables.

All this other stuff is vital to your home electronics systems. In fact, no electronic addition is complete without something from this section, so don’t overlook what follows.

Furniture
One of the most important decisions to make is where to store your electronic equipment—and where to seat yourself—when enjoying a home theater or media room. These purchases will go a long way toward your enjoyment of your home electronics.

Stands and cabinets for home electronics have traditionally consisted of racks for audio equipment or stands or bases for TVs. They offer space for all of your audio/video gear and may provide storage for your CDs, DVDs and videotapes. Designs range from contemporary units in various colors to country-style armoires in many stains. 

Several well-known furniture manufacturers provide quality construction with cabinetry made of real hardwoods such as ash, oak, cherry, maple and others. Features include sliding shelves, pocket doors, drawers for tape and disc storage, power strips and enclosures for speakers.

Some companies also offer modern tempered-glass shelving stands with solid steel tubing sturdy enough to hold a TV up to 60 inches. Depending on style, features, glass and woods, prices for electronics cabinetry can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

If you’re hiding your gear in a nearby closet or flush mounting it in a custom cabinet, your electronics dealer may recommend a metal rack that can slide out for convenient servicing.

No matter what kind of audio/video storage you buy, look for wiring channels for a convenient and concealed way to connect components. Many open stands come with channels to hide wires. Also be sure your components are ventilated, as these sensitive electronics heat up. An inch or two around most components is fine, though some amplifiers and projectors often require exhaust fans.

Home theater seating will allow you to rest your tired load, maybe even put your feet up and enjoy a movie or your favorite show. Many types of seating designed for home theater and media rooms are available, from traditional theaterlike chairs to loungers in leather and fabrics and colors of your choice. Many of the lounger-type seats have motorized controls to allow your head to recline and your feet to be raised. Check the loudness of the motors, because you won’t want them whirring away during the movie whenever someone adjusts a seat. Many companies sell massage loungers as well, but again, check the noise level and vibration. And keep in mind that while a headrest can be great for your head, it’s lousy for your enjoyment of surround sound if speakers are on the sides or in the back of you.

Most important, check the build quality and comfort of the seating. Some chairs have wooden frames; others have metal. Don’t opt for the first chair that you can sink into like a cloud: You’re going to be parked in these chairs for a couple of hours at a time, so seek a firm but comfortable cushion that will treat your backside right over time.

View “Home Theater Seating Options” slideshow.

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