Solution: It's all about spending time planning the whole room, so form and function come together.
Where to begin?
• Start by choosing a focal point in the room. If it's the TV, place it in the centre of your seating area. If you prefer the fireplace or the view, orient seating to enjoy the focal point, then place the TV on an adjacent wall so it can be viewed comfortably.
• If you own a state-of-the-art plasma flatscreen, LCD set or have a dedicated media room, leave your TV where all can see it.
• A time-honoured solution is to conceal the TV within a freestanding or built-in armoire. Place the TV on a large open unit or built-in bookcase, surround with books, framed photos and decorative objects, and it's less likely to dominate your space.
• With advances in technology, you can recess a TV into the wall behind a two-way mirror (when the TV is on, the image is visible; when it's off, the mirror looks like any other) or hide a wall-mounted set behind a frame or rollaway art.
• If your TV is left visible in a small space, place it in the corner last seen when you enter the room.
• Ensure there's sufficient space for ventilation and cord clearance at the back of an armoire or built-in unit.
• Picture your family using the armoire. Can your kids reach the door pulls? What type of doors do you want: accordion or hideaway (which are more practical if space is limited) or centre-open hinge style?
• This probably won't be your last TV, so if you're building a custom unit or recessing the set into a wall, are you prepared to do it again when you purchase a new model or size?
Distance: From your TV to where you sit should be about twice the height of the screen, advises John Challinor, general manager of advertising and corporate communications for Sony Canada. For example, if you have a 20-inch-high screen (for a 32-inch LCD unit), sit almost 3 1/2 feet back.
Angle: First-generation LCDs had to be viewed head-on, but now, if you have a decent-quality plasma, LCD, CRT or projection model, you'll be able to view the image from any angle, says John.
Height: The bottom of your screen should be at chest level (no higher than your chin) when you're seated, says John.
Speakers: To ensure they won't vibrate, mount speakers securely or place them on an even surface -- no wobbly tables or uneven floors, cautions John. Talk to your audiovisual dealer to learn more about proper speaker placement for the best audio, whether you have stereo sound or a home theatre surround-sound system.