AV Furniture: TV Stand Buying Guide

AV furniture is important to those of us who enjoy TV and movies, but want our home theater to look nice and complement our home. One of the key pieces of AV furniture is the TV stand.

If you are looking for AV furniture then you know that there are so many TV stand choices that it’s almost mind boggling. How can you possibly choose the right TV console for your needs?

There are several things to consider when choosing a TV stand.

Location, Location, Location

Rooms can be large or small, rectangular or round, traditional or odd-shaped, and everything in-between. Newer larger flat panel TVs take up a lot of space and need a TV stand or TV mount to match. You may have to get creative to comfortably fit your new larger TV stand in a room of your home.

A corner TV stand can be an excellent solution. It allows you to tuck your TV into the corner freeing up valuable wall space in the rest of the room.

Hanging your TV on the wall using a wall mount can also be a lifesaver in a room where it’s already tight.

Width

When you buy a flat screen TV, you buy it by size, but the size that is specified is the diagonal measurement of the screen. On the other hand, when a TV stand specifies that it can accommodate TVs up to a certain size, there is really no way to tell whether they’re are talking about diagonal size or actual TV width.

A TV’s width will always be less than its diagonal screen measurement. That means that whether they’re referencing the TV width or TV display diagonal length, the TV stand will accommodate either.

That being said, in case there is a mistake in the description of the TV stand you’re considering, it’s good to verify the actual width of the TV stand so you can compare it to the width of your flat panel TV.

Other considerations related to the size of the AV furniture you’re considering include whether there are any physical features of the room that would affect the TV stand, how high do you want the TV to sit, and if there will be enough room to comfortably walk between existing furniture and the new TV stand.

Height

The general theory is that the center of the TV screen should be at the same level as the eyes of the viewers. If you’re going to mount the TV on the wall above the fireplace or on a high TV stand, that may not be practical.

On the other hand, if you use a tilting mount, you will be able to point the TV screen down at the viewers effectively achieving the same thing.

In our home theater, we have positioned the TV higher because we sit in recliners and looking straight at a TV that is at eye-level is awkward and a strain on the neck. If you will be mostly watching TV from a reclined position, keep that in mind when you’re choosing your AV furniture.

Weight

Most TV stands specify a maximum weight in addition to maximum width for the flat panel TV’s they can accommodate. You should be careful about the weight specification though. Some manufacturers specify the total weight including all shelves that a stand can handle and some will specify just the weight of the TV, which means the weight that the top of the TV stand can withstand.

Your Style

AV furniture style is important. When it comes to your home furnishings, it’s all about how it makes you feel. You have your own style and your TV stand should reflect that. TV stands come in wood, metal, glass, and other materials. You can choose a stand that matches the rest of your AV furniture or one that complements it. If you watch a lot of TV, you want to be comfortable with the style so that it reinforces good feelings rather than being a constant reminder of your questionable choice.

Light

Most modern TVs are bright enough to overcome ambient light in a bright room, but shadows can still cause problems depending on the location of your TV. It’s a good idea to pay attention to this while you’re placing the TV stand so that you don’t end up with poor daytime viewing.

Cable Management

Some TV stands have a hole cutout in the back of the stand and they call it cable management. True cable management includes routing clips and other routing techniques to help you hide and manage your wires, cords, and cables. If the looks and organization of your setup is important, be sure to choose a stand with a true cable management design.

Audio

It’s widely accepted that your TV’s integrated audio system will probably be uninspiring. Sound bars and external speakers are the solution and allow you to immerse yourself in high definition audio that can completely change your viewing experience.

With that in mind, you need a place to put speakers or the sound bar and subwoofer. Some TV stands come with accommodations for the speakers and a subwoofer, but most don’t. If you want to put a sound bar in front of your TV or speakers to the side, make sure you have allowed enough room on your new AV furniture for them.

Storage

One of the reasons to buy a TV console is so that you have a place to put other TV accessories besides just the TV. You may have several A/V components including a cable box, DVR, audio amplifier, Blu Ray player, DVD player, and more. You may also have DVDs, games, even VHS tapes, remote controls, additional cables, and other accessories that you want to hide from view.

It’s unlikely that any stand you buy will be perfectly suited to your setup. With that in mind, you should choose a model with adjustable shelves. Adjustable shelves give you the flexibility to customize A/V furniture to your specific setup.

If you have a lot of “stuff”, you will need space for the “stuff.” Choose a TV console with plenty of storage shelves and even specialty media storage if you need it.

Safety

If you have children or pets, flat screen TVs present a unique problem. It used to be that TVs were large and heavy and were not as much of a tipping hazard. These days, flat panel TVs are larger, thinner, and lighter than ever before and can tip very easily.

If your TV will be mounted within reach of your children or pets, you should choose a stand that makes provision for a strap or other anti-tipping device to protect them. Many flat screen TVs now come with anti-tipping protective devices, but a device that’s integrated into the stand can provide additional protection.

Moving Your Stand

A TV console can be so heavy that you might not even think about moving it once you have it placed. Here’s the problem. If you change the configuration of your media components or add new ones, you are going to need to make changes to wires, cables, and cords. If you can’t move the TV stand, you can’t easily access the back of the equipment to make changes.

One way around this is to buy a TV stand on wheels or casters. Some models even have hidden casters that allows you to move the AV furniture without being visible.

Assembly

Most TV stands come ready-to-assemble (RTA). That means that you will have to do some work before you get to watch TV from your new TV stand. Assembling a TV stand can be easy or it can be very difficult depending on the design. Pay attention to reviews that warn of long or difficult assembly. AV furniture that is already assembled is also available, but expect to pay a premium price.

To save money on shipping, manufacturers have found ways to pack an entire 70-inch TV stand into a single box, for example. To say that box will be heavy, is an understatement. You may not be able to get the box inside by yourself if the delivery company leaves the box by your door. If your new TV stand is going upstairs, that presents even more complication.

With that in mind, it’s smart to enlist the help of a family member or friend to move the box and assist with assembly.

If you’re not handy, you can also buy separate assembly packages with your new stand.

Those are our TV stand buying tips. A TV stand or mount is absolutely necessary. With a little planning, you will end up with a beautiful piece of furniture that perfectly complements your home and flat panel TV while also having the utility that you need. We sincerely hope that this article has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the right AV furniture for your needs!