Entertainment CenterDo the sleek and slim configurations of today’s flat-screen TVs eliminate the need for entertainment centers? After all, they can just be mounted on the walls, right? Or placed on regular tables sturdy enough to hold them.

Perhaps at first the idea of this “lone wolf” TV that goes it alone may seem attractive and liberating, but further pondering of this question will eventually lead you to revise your opinion. It may look great by itself, but it can not function by itself. Unless you’re using it for an airport, office lobby, or bar, wherein it’s an afterthought rather than the main attraction, the TV has a whole bunch of wires and connectors that plug into other things — cable, movie player, game console, internet, camera… karaoke?

And then there’s all the paraphernalia and accouterments that go with these — remote controls, manuals, discs, and things. A home entertainment system, after all, comprises more than just a TV. So where are all these other things?

It makes no sense to have them all on the other side of the room, much less another room altogether.

And that’s why no matter how thin and sleek the TV gets when it’s in the den or rec room, it can’t go flying solo. It needs a home where it can be with its mates, preferably in specialized furniture with compartments for the different components and storage for accessories. And this shall be your home entertainment center.

Why Buy An Entertainment Center?

Entertainment Centers give you a place to mount and store all of your media equipment to help you and your household stylishly adapt to the mounting collection of TVs, DVDs, Stereos, and gaming systems.

TV sizes change constantly, so even if you have a wall-mounted flat-screen TV, an entertainment center will give you the extra room to place all of the extras that go with your TV.

Features to Look For:

  • Cord Management Systems: Keep unsightly cords out of the way.
  • Easy Hookup Systems: Cut-outs in the back for easy connection to system components.
  • Integrated Surge Protectors: Ensure that your electronics are safe from power surges.
  • Component Housing: Storage designed specifically for Stereos, DVD Players, and TVs.
  • Media Storage: Storage designed for media, holds DVDs, VHS, CDs, etc..
  • Gaming Unit Storage: Specifically designed to store Gaming Systems (PS3, XBOX, Wii, etc..)
  • Interior Lighting: Provide lighting inside the unit, perfect for any art pieces or curio items.
  • Door Options: Mainly solid wood, but many models feature Fabric* or Glass panels**
    *Speaker Grills: Doors fitted with speaker fabric that allows sound to travel through them
    **Glass Panels: Allow the remote to work without having the doors open

Styles to Choose From:

Traditional Entertainment Centers:

Integrates storage for media such as videos and DVDs and shelves for entertainment components such as game systems, VCRs, stereo systems and DVD players with a raised stand for the TV to be placed at a comfortable viewing level.

Stand-alone entertainment centers are very popular because of the huge convenience of storing all of your media and equipment in one integrated piece of furniture.

Entertainment Armoires:

In households where it is important to keep the TV from being a central focus of the room, an armoire entertainment center is an ideal option.

Hiding away the TV when it is not in use can be very useful in homes with young children who are always clamoring for more. It can also be beneficial to professionals who work from home and need strategies to keep themselves from distractions during working hours.

An armoire entertainment center may also be suitable for anyone who prefers the look of wood paneling to the visual impression of the TV when it is not in use.

TV Consoles & Stands:

A scaled-down version of the entertainment center that can be perfect for areas where space or portability are a big concern.

The TV stand raises the TV to a comfortable viewing height and also incorporates shelves or cabinets below for media storage.

Stands may be large enough to provide shelf space next to the TV, or small enough that they take up no more floor space than the TV itself would.

Many models are set on casters or a pivot for easy adjustability, which is useful if the TV is viewed from different angles depending on the time or occasion.

Find the Perfect Size to Fit Your Needs

There are several key points to look for when buying an entertainment center, be sure that your entertainment center is in proportion to your TV.

Make sure to check the weight capacity of entertainment centers before choosing the right one for your TV.

Choose a small entertainment center for a short wall or a larger entertainment center for a long wall, some models can also be used as a corner unit to minimize space.

Additional Size Considerations:

  • Measure Your TV – Even though most centers are adjustable, it’s important to know the dimensions of your television just in case the entertainment center you are looking at is too large or too small for your TV. Double-check the height and width measurements when shopping for an entertainment center for an LCD TV. A 32-inch LCD TV is shorter and wider than a 32-inch CRT (Standard) TV.
  • Measure your Living Room – Or more specifically, measure the area you have designated for your center. You may want a huge, expansive wall unit but may only have room for a modest TV stand.
  • Take Inventory – Figure out what you need to store in your entertainment center. From DVD players to game consoles, you’ll be surprised how many other electronics you have besides your television. You also will want to have your DVDs, game cartridges, music selection, and other accessories within reach.
  • Pick your Storage – Cabinets and shelves, closed or open, lots or little; these are all things you have to think about when deciding how to store your equipment and accessories. Some units have a combination of cabinets and shelves so that you can display attractive knickknacks as well as hide your DVDs and other media. Open cabinets don’t have sides so they will give you a more spacious feel, but they don’t conceal much so you may have to find alternative storage for your less attractive media.

Sets and Styles!

Style and decor are also important to consider when purchasing furniture such as an entertainment center. Most people will do this automatically, through their natural preference for styles that they find attractive.

Those who are concerned with having an integrated decor will want to give special thought to the color scheme and styles of the other furniture and decorations in the room where the entertainment center will be placed so that they can choose a matching unit.

Entertainment centers are available to suit almost any decorating style, from antique wood finishes to modern glass and steel construction and everything in between. Many entertainment centers are now being sold assets, which may include a TV stand, two side units, and an upper shelf.

This provides an extra degree of flexibility for owners who may upgrade to a larger TV later, or who need the ability to change around the configuration of the entertainment center to fit their living space.

For those with space or decor concerns, there are also corner entertainment centers that are designed to fit neatly in any 90-degree corner, and armoire entertainment centers with doors that can be closed over the TV and other components when not in use.

Materials Used

  • Hardwood Solids: Solid wood furniture is considered the best quality furniture on the market, and if you are purchasing furniture that will be in your home for a long time, it is a very smart investment. Even with wear, solid wood gains character and charm and becomes a part of your family. Solid wood furniture is usually crafted with attention to detail that includes dovetailed joints, wood on wood drawer glides, and strong protective finishes.
  • Engineered Wood/MDF: MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard or engineered wood. MDF is made out of multiple wood fibers glued together under heat and pressure, and is generally very affordable and often just as durable as solid wood. Teamed with laminates and wood veneers, furniture made with MDF can imitate the look of real wood while meeting the budget requirements of most families.
  • Laminates: Laminates consist of a layer of wood or other product, such as paper, which is applied over a wood frame and sealed with a protective layer of thermosetting resin. They are used in a wide variety of products (especially office furniture), as they can be extremely durable and stand up to daily use by many people. Unlike real wood, laminates should not fade or have variations from piece to piece. They are also very easy to clean with just a soft cloth.
  • Tempered Glass: Tempered glass is stronger than both untreated and annealed glass. When broken, it shatters into many small fragments as opposed to large shards. Therefore it is traditionally used in place of other glass products in applications requiring increased strength and reduced likelihood of injury in the event of breakage. Also, the glass fragments that result from a break are linear and more likely to remain in the frame.

Find an Entertainment Center that Fits Your Unique Household!

Now that you’ve narrowed down your choices you can start looking at the different types of centers and their styles.

You may love the modern look of an open-shelving TV stand, but realize after you go through the buying guide that you have too much electronic equipment for the unit and need to get a larger wall or corner center.

The gigantic wall unit that you’re longing for might look great in a large living room but will make walking in your master bedroom a challenge. Look around, it should be easy to find an entertainment center in a style to suit your families’ individual home entertainment needs.

TV Lifts

There are many types of stands which support TV’s and the most ingenious of these types of products are TV lifts. When you buy a TV accessory for the practical purpose of supporting your TV you also want something that looks great.

These lifts definitely fall into this category with many sturdy and elegant models available for different types of rooms and TV. As more homeowners look for a combination of stylish yet practical entertainment furniture, these lifts are the perfect solution.

These particular entertainment units act as multi-purpose furniture. You can hide your TV inside these units until you need it. When you decide to watch TV, the unit becomes a TV stand once you use its powered mechanism to make this transformation. When you want to hide your TV again you simply use the powered mechanism again and it reverts back to an elegant piece of furniture.

The various types of TVs currently on the market have led to a requirement for different styles of furniture to cater to these products. TV’s have got bigger, with many accessories required for various forms of entertainment purposes.

Certain furniture suppliers specialize in these types of entertainment accessories. The main suppliers include TVLiftCabinet Inc. and Touchstone who provide a range of these elegant and sturdy units.

Different shapes and sizes

Like most furniture, TV lifts come in all shapes and sizes to suit different sized rooms, different homeowners’ requirements, and their budget. Cabinets and wall-mounted lifts are amongst the most popular styles available and are made from robust materials including wood, chrome, and leather. This kind of furniture is designed to store TV’s but some have additional space for other entertainment systems. Other models even include space for a fireplace which makes them much more than just another piece of entertainment furniture.

If you don’t want your TV to be in full view all of the time these units are perfect for homeowners who want to hide their TV and its accessories when they’re not required. There are many situations where you won’t want your TV to be turned on or it becomes a distraction.

The shelves and compartments in these cabinets act as the perfect places to store your entertainment systems including TVs, DVD players, and related items. Overall it’s a neat and tidy solution for anyone who finds it difficult to keep their living room or bedroom tidy and organized.

Common Brands

Quality brands of lifts include Inca TV lifts, Auton TV lifts, and Nexus TV lifts. They can even be motorized and controlled with a remote! TV lifts furniture adorns the room and is super functional, hosting your flat screen, plasma, LCD, or other television. One of the most popular models is the end of bed (aka foot of bed) model and is widely available for sale both online and in retail stores.

Modern furniture has many uses as a result of changes in the way we relax and entertain ourselves. In some cases space is limited so it’s important to have multipurpose furniture such as TV lifts.

These have helped reduce the amount of furniture required in the modern house or apartment. In the past homeowners would have had to have one piece of furniture to store entertainment-related accessories and a TV stand to support their TV but this has all changed thanks to these units which perform both of these functions.