|(ARA) - Americans love to be entertained, so it should come as no surprise that home theaters are one of the biggest home improvement trends of the last few years. With all the sophisticated consumer electronics equipment now available, homeowners need a well-designed space where they can use and enjoy it all.
Most people spend a lot of time picking out the perfect sound system, a cutting-edge plasma TV and all the other accessories needed to create a great home theater. But the furniture is usually an afterthought -- and this can be a mistake.
"How well your technical components work together depends in large part on the kind of furniture you have to support them," says Keith Pribyl of Sanus Systems, a supplier of specially-designed A/V furniture based in St. Paul, Minn. "Traditional furniture is not designed to work with electronic equipment."
The dilemma for style-conscious consumers is that most high-end furniture can't accommodate electronics, and the cheap alternatives can make your living room or den resemble a dorm room. "All those cords look really ugly," says Pribyl. "Most people want the benefits of great A/V equipment, but they want it tucked away out of sight."
Pribyl recommends that homeowners shopping for home theater furniture look for the following:
* Extra deep shelves. Most components are too deep for ordinary shelves; a minimum of 22 inches is usually necessary.
* Units that can accommodate "wire management." Dangling wires are not only unattractive, they can also be dangerous. Your furniture should have an enclosed channel at the back so that wires can be safely arranged and tucked out of site.
* A ventilation system. "All high-end electronic gear gets really hot," says Pribyl, "but most people want it hidden away inside a cabinet." To solve this problem, Sanus' Woodbrook line of furniture includes a convection cooling system that sucks cool air from vents at the bottom and releases hot air out the top. This system, unlike most anything else now on the market, protects the equipment and prevents the cabinet from getting too hot. "It works like a chimney," adds Pribyl.
* Flat screen wall mount. The last few years have seen an explosion in sales of flat screen plasma TVs, but most consumers don't think about the tricky task of mounting the unit on the wall safely. Look for a universal wall mount -- one that will work with any flat screen TV -- that can also be adjusted easily. A Sanus-designed wall mount can accommodate virtually all types of flat screens and the viewing angle can be easily changed with just a touch of the finger. Many of the other wall mounts out there are intended only for a specific brand of television and require tools and often two people for adjustments.
Now that you've got your television on the wall and your sound system arranged, you only need two more things to make your home theater complete: a comfortable chair and a bowl of popcorn.
Designed in a contemporary style, Sanus Systems' line of furniture is available with solid maple, cherry hardwood, or metal. Sanus products are available at Amazon and retailers nationwide. For more information and to locate a dealer in your area, go to sanus.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content