February 07, 2011
| by Arlen Schweiger
Thanks to flat-panel TVs, large televisions that were once boxy, ugly eyesores to interior designers, have now become design-friendly. But that doesn’t mean everyone wants a large flat panel taking up space when it’s not being used. If you’re one of those people who simply don’t want a TV to be seen, there are several solutions, but this is one of the most elegant, and in a way, deceptive.
Mirror TVs not only hide the TV, the perform a function of their own, even when they’re off. They are a literal reflection of homeowners’ aesthetic demands. Most often, they’re installed in master bathrooms and simply disappear when they’re powered off - no concealment cabinetry, lift mechanism or motorized artwork necessary.
Aside from bathrooms, we’ve occasionally seen installations where such TVs are placed behind large mirrors in clients’ wet bars where they can sit and have a beer while watching the game, and when it’s over there’s no sign of a TV to be found. Now that’s wow factor.
But this grand installation of a Seura TV/mirror hybrid in New York might be the first we’ve seen in a living room. It may open designers’ and homeowners’ eyes to the possibilities of unconventional mirror TV applications, especially with such sets averaging more attractive margins than commoditized LCDs.
In this case, Harrison, N.Y.-based Osbee Industries installed a whopping 65-inch (80-by-55-inch) Seura LCD, the manufacturer’s biggest model, above the fireplace to energize a living room that no one wanted to live in all that much because there wasn’t a TV.
The clients hadn’t wanted the aesthetic distraction of a potential focal point like a mega flat-panel TV (no matter how aesthetically pleasing they have become). Ah, but a vanishing mirror TV could solve that problem - and not only did it provide an impetus to bring family members and guests back in there, it also inspired the homeowners to upgrade other systems in their house.
“The idea to use a Seura TV triggered an entire technology redesign,” says Osbee president Dave Raines, who had suggested the Seura solution. It led to new lighting, audio and contemporary furnishings in the room, with Osbee working with the interior designer to deliver a lighting and shade control system that would create the ideal atmosphere for the formal space — and create three satisfied “customers”: client, designer and integrator.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.