Being in the home theater and automation industry we are tech geeks at heart and love a huge flat screen with all the bells and whistles to get our Netflix binge fix on. The one thing we don’t like about flat screens however is what to do with them when we aren’t watching them. Sure we love the brilliant colors that TV’s like the Sony Z9D Series televisions produce in rich 4K resolution, but when it’s off it’s just a glaring black rectangle of nothingness. Honestly, it’s quite an eyesore; whether it’s in your dedicated home theater space, your master bedroom, or an outdoor TV on your patio. The good news is that home theater and A/V design has come a long way and there are more options than ever to disguise, hide, or minimize the visibility of your flat screen TV.
Some of the methods are simply accents surrounding the TV to detract from its visibility, while others are complete cover ups or mechanized doors that completely obscure the TV behind something like artwork or a mirror. Whatever your taste or style may be, there is a product to suit it or a company that can create it and make it happen.
We have made many client’s dreams come into fruition when it comes to hiding their flat screens, while many have been simple we’d like to highlight some of the most innovative and unique solutions we have seen. Consider them inspiration for your home theater upgrade and a good starting point to hide those unsightly screens and dangling cables.
With the Super Bowl just a couple of months away many of you reading this will splurge on one of the deals offered on numerous 75-inch, 4K TV’s after Christmas. Yes, every year electronics retailers get one last hurrah of the impulse buying season with the notorious Super Bowl sales. With prices rivaling Black Friday deals, it’s the arguably the best time to buy large screen TV’s. With a 75” screen, televisions such as these instantly become the focal point of any room design, and not in a good way. That can all change however if you get creative with a decorative mirror enclosure. Many ask, “But how can you see the screen with a mirror in front of it?” – You can thank a man by the name of Emil Bloch, who in 1903 invented the two-way mirror.
Enclosing your screen behind a specially designed two-way mirror specifically designed for TV enclosures, gives you the advantage of making your living space seem larger while also making your TV completely undetectable until it is turned on. The picture actually passes right through the mirror and creates a seamless enclosure that looks both elegant and futuristic. Keep in mind though, that traditional two-way mirrors may degrade the picture a bit and not offer the same reflection of a normal mirror when the TV is off – so make sure you buy a two-way mirror specifically made for A/V concealment.
Remember the iconic Michael J. Fox movie, “Back To The Future II?” Released in 1989, the movie depicted what life might be like in 2015. Complete with flying cars, Nike’s with power laces and the ubiquitous hoverboard (and no, those things the kids are buying now are not hoverboards) – it wasn’t too far off when it came to the way life would be in 2015. Look at some of the things they got right such as TV screens everywhere, flying drones, augmented reality glasses, machines you talk to, and of course the resurgence of retro 80’s style. Speaking of TV screens everywhere, one of the more subtle tech features in the film were retractable TV’s and machines that drop down or pop up out of nowhere.
Flat screens light weight and slim design have made that a reality for several years now. You can build retractable drop down mounts that bring your TV down from the ceiling with the push of a button from your Control 4 mobile interface, or have it rise up out of the foot of your bed. These mounting methods are seamless, have a futuristic style and don’t detract from the flow and design of your living space at all.
If you’re home interior is more about artistic touches and fine art this next idea might be the masterpiece you are seeking. Several companies are making automated sliding canvas panels that can be customized with photography or art of your choosing. These panels slide up or sideways at the touch of a button and reveal your TV in a matter of seconds. When the TV is not in use you can’t tell that it is anything other than a normal painting hung strategically on the wall.
Another similar way of achieving this if you don’t mind constantly leaving your TV on is custom designed TV frames. These frames cover the bezel of your screen and look like a frame for a piece of art. Typically made of wood or synthetic wood products, they can be designed to match your interior and you can run apps that deliver rotating high resolution art that encompasses your entire screen. Think of it as a really large digital photo frame. Keep in mind however, that this option may slightly shorten the life of your television, but some people prefer the simplicity of this setup.
Ok, so armoire is actually French for “wardrobe,” but for a smaller TV such as one in a bedroom or children’s room; an armoire is perfect for TV storage. It can double as a makeshift entertainment center due to its size and versatility. If you have children or prefer a smaller TV the bedroom, you can easily store a TV, satellite or cable box, sound bar and dozens of DVD’s and even a game console. Armoires are a timeless classic and come in both classic and modern designs that can suit any style.
Many homes these days are designed with huge outdoor covered patios, outdoor kitchens and outdoor living areas. Entertaining outside also requires some creativity and special equipment such as weather resistant outdoor kitchens and ultra-bright flat screens that can be seen in daylight. TV’s for outdoor use have to be extra durable and water resistant, so naturally they are quite a bit more expensive and quite bulky in some cases. One of the most innovative ways to hide outdoor TV’s is building a wood cabinet with sliding or hinged doors that cover the screen. You can then finish out the cabinet surface with limestone spray that can be shaped into many different faux textures, giving you the look of a stone wall but the mobility of lightweight wood. Another creative method makes use of vinyl plastic that is shaped and textured like natural wood but is extremely weather resistant and gives the feel of a hunting lodge or an outdoor cabin. With the advances in synthetic building materials and textured sprays, your options for creating an outdoor escape are wide open. Of course, using the right sealants and wood, you can go natural and really go luxurious with some sealed cedar or mahogany wood accents. The bottom line, if you can dream it you can build it.
Some people like to actually incorporate their TV into the design of their entertainment center; especially with some of the higher end panels that have designer bezels that beg to be shown off. If this is the option you are leaning towards you have to go bold with your entertainment center. If you just go with your run of the mill, ready -to -assemble entertainment center it’s going to look bad no matter how luxurious the panel is. No, with a setup like this you have to go with either a custom built entertainment center or an artistic manufactured unit; preferably wall hung. Focus on rich dark woods and industrial elements such as combining mahogany planks with black industrial pipe or floating shelves and faux stone columns for the structure. Be sure to include accent art on the shelves and accent lighting that is hidden but gives the unit a subtle glow. Your flat screen will then become an accent itself of a larger artistic composition that can be a style all your own.
If all of these ideas have got your creative juices flowing and you are ready to invest in your home theater setup; Total Home Technologies is your solution for custom setups for all budgets and luxury line home integration. We only work with quality brands such as Control4 integration and the best flat panels in the industry. Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first step to creating your ultimate theater experience.