Poof! Hiding That Big-Screen TV
This living room retains its traditional charm thanks to a disappearing TV.
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The entertainment unit brings traditional style to the room, with a secret.
August 10, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger

Sometimes you feel like a TV nut, sometimes you don’t—and sometimes you don’t even want to see the thing. The owners of this modern colonial home didn’t want a blank big screen standing in the way of quaint window views when they weren’t watching TV in their formal living room.

“There’s a large bank of windows where they wanted to put the TV, and they wanted to be able to look outside when they were listening to music,” says Paul Diggin, project principal for custom electronics installer Advanced Communication Technologies (ACT) in Hingham, Mass. “They had done a little homework, but didn’t know all the options, so when we told them about a pop-up they thought it would be great.”

The pop-up in this case comes from an Inca custom plasma TV lift that allows the 42-inch set to hide in a cabinet until summoned for viewing. Then it rises mechanically. To make it possible, ACT worked closely with general contractor Mike Handrahan Remodeling and cabinetmaker Roomscapes.

Generally, ACT’s lift installations fall between $2,000 and $3,500, Diggin says, for popular TV sizes of 42 to 50 inches. Though Diggin says they can range from $1,800 to $6,000, depending on the size of the TV and what is done with it. The lift could raise the TV and then tilt, swivel or extend it toward particular seating areas, and it may hold a speaker.

This project went smoothly, Diggin says, as team members spent about 40 hours, from planning stages to wiring and applying the finishing touches. The only hitch was having to go with a 42-inch TV rather than a 50-incher, to meet the dimensions of Roomscapes’ cabinetry.

Associated electronics, including surround-sound processing, distributed audio hub, DVD player and power conditioning, are stored in cabinets on the opposite wall. Audio is routed to five unobtrusive in-ceiling speakers and a subwoofer that’s also stowed inside a cabinet. The result is a clean design in a traditional-looking room whose A/V secrets are waiting to be spilled.

A motorized lift inside furniture is one way to conceal a TV. You can also install a lift beneath the floor or within a ceiling, though such labor-intensive and intricate designs can be more expensive, says Diggin. For traditional wall or above-the-fireplace TV locations, stealthy choices include motorized framed artwork or mirrors that retract to reveal the screen.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.

Installer/Equipment List

SYSTEM AND ROOM DESIGN
Advanced Communications Technologies
Hingham, Mass.
www.actces.com

GENERAL CONTRACTOR
Mike Handrahan Remodeling
Hingham, Mass.

CABINETRY
Roomscapes
Rockland, Mass.

Equipment
Display: Fujitsu
Custom lift: Inca
Speakers: SpeakerCraft
Subwoofer: Sunfire
Electronics: Integra
Multiroom audio: Niles
Remote: Universal Remote Control
Rack: Middle Atlantic
Ventilation: Active Thermal Mangement
Power: IXOS, Panamax


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