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Choosing the Right TV Stand

You have to consider more than just design when choosing a TV stand for today's models.

Whether you're shopping for a brand new plasma, LCD or DLP or hanging on to your old CRT model, finding the right TV stand can make all the difference in how it looks. But it goes far beyond how the stand or entertainment center will fit in with decor. In today's market, other factors must come into play as well.

First, when purchasing any TV stand, weight and balance are most important. Before making any purchase, be sure the stand can accommodate the weight and size of your TV. If it's a widescreen, the stand will be narrower, but should be equal to or exceed the length of the screen. Because plasmas and LCDs are so narrow, be sure the stand is tip-proof, too. Many manufacturers state on the packaging whether the unit is tip-tested.

Plan ahead. Even if you own a smaller TV now, you can still invest in a larger stand if you plan to upgrade in the near future. This gives you a little extra display space to either side. It's wise, however, to center your TV if possible for better balance and safety.

As with most furnishings, the wide range of stands runs the gamut of style. You'll find many to choose from.

Among these, you'll find wood and metal frames in a full range of colors and finishes. They may be open styled or incorporate glass shelving and doors. Hardwoods and veneer are both popular choices with the latter using engineered wood.

Of course, stands themselves fall into several categories:

-Armoires are excellent for bedroom locations as they can be closed to hide equipment.
-Entertainment centers are excellent as focal points and if you own a greater amount of peripheral equipment. You'll find plenty of space to stash away those DVDs, sound system and gaming console.
-Corner styles let you take advantage of awkward space. The drawback lies in viewing angles as your seating arrangement will need to also angle.
-Hidden consoles are very attractive alternatives with interior mounts that rise by remote control to display a flatscreen TV mounted on the frame.
-Swivel units allow greatest flexibility, but may not be available for all types of TVs.

Other amenities to look for include:
-adjustable shelving
-wire management.

If you have an active family, safety also comes first. Some units include an attachment that can be drilled into the wall and anchors the stand. You may also want to consider a wall mount rather than a stand. Wiring usually requires an electrician, but you'll not be worrying about injuries or damage from a tipping TV. When shopping for a mount, be sure it's specifically designed for the type of TV you own. Many owners consider wall mounts to be less convenient than setting up on a stand. Also, if you're thinking of mounting over a fireplace, be aware that heat can affect the life of plasma TVs. In addition, that level may be too high for comfortable viewing.

If you're shopping for a TV stand, you'll find plenty of local and online retailers from which to make a purchase. It pays to compare prices, especially if shipping is not included. As with many products, find out first about returns in case you're dissatisfied or the unit arrives damaged.



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