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Where to put your Plasma

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by Gib Dreffel


plasma tv on top of cabinet

One of the big advantages of the sexy new plasma television sets is their ability to be mounted or placed just about anywhere, therefore opening up limitless possibilities for making your decor a smashing success or an unmitigated disaster.

To add to your stress level there are many technical aspects to consider that are indeed quite “technical”. However there are a few simple guidelines that will help you save your sanity (and for God’s sake don’t leave the decisions up to your 15 year old teenager)


Size does matter

Due to the society of greed and avarice in
which we live, people want to buy the absolutely most gigantic TV they can
afford. This is great if you live in a Hefner size Mansion but not so
great in a tiny yurt. Size does matter – but it is the room size that is
important. If you to sit too close to a large screen the pixels will
appear as an attacking force and “Braveheart” will suddenly be a
bit too intense. Sit too far away and your eyes will no longer be able to
resolve all the picture detail, leading to much confusion as to which Bond
this one is. So when you are tackling this question remember the following
handy equation:

  • The nearest TV viewing distance should
    be twice the width of the screen size. (i.e. cuddly loveseat)
  • The furthest distance should be no more
    than five times the width of your screen. (i.e. huge man-eating

It’s also valuable to use greatly
researched personality types in making your decision. Do most of your
family members, friends or freeloaders like to sit in the first few rows,
middle rows or at the back of a movie theatre? Of course once you offer
them free bevvies they won’t care where the TV is.

a yurt

A yurt is a circular tent-like
structure originally used by nomadic Mongols.


a plasma screen over fire place

Above & Beyond

The next great debate is how
high should you place or hang your plasma tv. If you “Hang’em
High” (apologies to Clint) you could risk lawsuits from your friends
because of neck strain injuries caused while watching a 3 hour epic. The
height standard for televisions used to be eye level (while sitting in
your favorite chair) but there now seems to be varying opinions for many

If you want your TV to be the
central focus of the room and you already have your large fireplace as the
central focus….guess what – one option. This brings up the afore
mentioned neck strains. 30 degrees is an acceptable maximum angle for
looking up at the centre of the TV. Having said that don’t run out and buy
a protractor yet.

Many people also treat their
great rooms as Grand Central Station with family constantly coming and
going and the TV constantly on with their favorite anchor telling them of
the latest political debacle. In this case the over fire option makes
perfect sense as these folks will likely be standing. Heed must be given
to temperature however as nothing says home cooking like a melting plasma.
Here’s the drill:

Take a thermometer and stick
it to the wall above the mantel in the place where the plasma TV will
live. Grab the marshmallows, build a fire and let the sucker roar for half
and hour. Now get up, put down your drink, stride confidently over and
check the thermometer. If the temperature is above 90 degrees F (that’s 30
degrees Celsius for those above the 49th parallel) then your TV will
definitely be part of the evening’s menu. One thing to add – this only
applies if the TV is on during the flaming process. If you promise,
without fingers crossed, to never have the TV on during fires then you
obviously don’t live where I do and you’d be fine to hang it there.

Component Cramming

plasma screen over cabinet

Keep in mind that those pesky
components (dvd player, cable box, vcr – just kidding – surround sound
system, etc.) must go somewhere. It’s just not right to have to go into
the kitchen cupboards in order to watch things blow up frame by frame.
Also beware of just using those built-in speakers as your only source for
audio. It’s quite disturbing to sit down to “Walk the Line” and
hear Peewee Herman come out of the speakers. Never fear – the answer lies

So the obvious answer here is
hanging the TV on a wall above (or placing it on top of) a cabinet or
stand in which the components can nestle. Oh I know what you’re thinking –
how boring and mundane and just like the Robertsons across the street. Did
you know both the Robertsons have PHd’s? This option might take up some
space in the room in which we love to impress others, but it does give you
the most options in hiding those beastly boxes.

*** One of those wonderful
options is that now you are not stuck only considering a plasma TV and can
open your mind to the possibility of an LCD TV (they are a bit thicker and
can’t hang on the wall, but sit nice and calmly on any sturdy well-built
cabinet) For more details on LCD’s speak with that nice young man at that
electronic store at the Plaza.

Optional Options

You have an empty corner. You
say “I think it would be really great to cram the TV in that empty
corner over there.” Fine. Go for it. But remember fellow videophile
that you don’t get the benefits of the thin screen (as opposed to flat,
which is simply flat and could still be 3 ft deep) as your angles will
take up almost the same space as the old behemoth you’re replacing. If you
don’t believe me take a moment and get that protractor, or just spend a
bit more time around pool halls. Tis also much more difficult to hang it
in the corner, wouldn’t we agree? I await clever emails to tell me how
wrong I am.

I have witnessed a few other
options. There is a sleek and clever rotating stand that can be raised and
lowered and rotated 360 degrees – just remember you’ll need a chair with
wheels in case it starts to malfunction.

There’s also hydraulics,
meaning the TV appears magically from a cabinet like Chris Angel and
disappears again with the push of a button when you tire of it. If you can
afford either of these options please let me know what you do for a living
as I would like to have your job.

So to review: Base the TV size
on the room size; Base the TV placement on your dearly beloved’s viewing
habits and let’s not lose any more sleep on this one. How will you know
who deserves the Oscars if you don’t start getting through those DVDs?


Gib Dreffel was a guest writer for Greentea
Design which was an online furniture store specializing in oriental

*** The opinions expressed
in this column are solely those of the authors and are not endorsed by
Greentea Design. There is however some useful information if you can
get through the sauciness.






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