We’re no strangers to the multiple TV video walls that have become more popular for theater or media room installations, turning your room basically into a private sports bar.
But that’s not going to fly to well in your main living room, and chances are you’ll be banished to the man cave if you want to watch DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket on more than one TV or projection screen.
At least one furniture/home theater company is addressing a solution that allows for having multiple TVs in an often-used family/living room environment without having it be an eyesore ... and making it convenient for every family member to watch what he or she wants. Diamond Case Designs in Anaheim, Calif., which specializes in custom electronics-related furnishings talked to us recently about its Triple Play cabinet (you can probably guess what the Triple stands for) as well as other cabinet trends for those looking to be smart and stylish about housing their electronics.
The Triple Play ($5,500, not including the TVs) is a made-to-order cabinet that on the outset appears to be a pretty standard piece for housing your big-screen TV on top, electronics inside and potentially a center-channel speaker too. But score a triple if you want to make the unit hide two more TVs on the retractable columns that extend flanking the main set. The columns can also provide media storage, and the TVs can range in size depending on your viewing requirements, seating distance, etc.
In the Triple Play cabinet pictured, the main TV is 64 diagonal inches and the smaller ones are 24 inches, but Diamond Case could design the unit for larger main TVs and larger secondary screens, according to the company’s Steve Hartfelder, and the sides can be customized to store and hide numerous items, even the left and right speakers.
“We like to joke that we co-designed it with a marriage counselor in mind because a lot of guys in our industry love sports. Everybody wants multiple TVs, but you’re not going to get away with them very often in the living room so this serves both purposes – you get extra TVs and when don’t want to see them anymore just push them back to hide them out of sight,” says Hartfelder. The good thing for many of us is that sports don’t typically require volume, so no problem there delegating the side TVs to the game. “That’s what we find more typically happens – buddy of mine, his wife watches the big TV, he watches sports on one of the small ones and the kids play video games on other.”
Another item that’s becoming more popular is outfitting the media cabinet with some color-changing LED strip lighting, whether it’s surrounding the TV for a little more pop or inside a more traditional looking equipment rack cabinet, says Hartfelder. He notes that he and other homeowners Diamond Case has worked with like using the LEDs to complement their favorite sports teams’ colors so they’ll adjust the settings to those colors during a game (like Angels red or Dodgers blue in his neck of the woods).
Having caught up with Hartfelder during T.H.E. Show in Irvine, Calif., he noted particular benefits of Diamond Case’s furniture and equipment storage pieces that can also apply in general to your considerations when choosing electronics furniture, especially if you’re using it for some powerful audio electronics like heat-generating amplifiers or beefy A/V receivers.
“In terms of components for us it’s about functionality and access,” he says. “We’ll do a lot of things with furniture to allow people to get to their equipment more easily. ... the majority of furniture that’s out there (not made with electronics in mind) is imported and you have very little access in terms of space, depth, ventilation and air flow. A lot of things might look pretty on the outside but it’s not appropriate on the inside.”
Some electronics storage-minded considerations:
- Using wheels so you can roll the cabinet out into the room for greater convenience
- Using machine-screw fitted backs that can be easily removed to access equipment wiring and cabling
- Implementing specialized shelving that’s ventilated, to help with air flow
- Incorporating fans into the furniture that are thermostatically controlled, also for that heat dissipation and removal
Other trends Hartfelder notes include the ability to hide all of the electronics, because all people really want to see is the TV (in the case of a display cabinet), and color choices that are favoring medium-to-dark finishes, cherry, mahogany and wenge.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.