Video and Audio Center Blog

Monday, August 11, 2014

There’s Plenty of Room for a TV

Seen those old movies where the television cabinet sat in a corner of the living room and the family gathered around? Today's TVs are many times more sophisticated but you still find them located in the same places as they were back in the day. It's time to realize that there's many more places where a TV can be put. First the reasons and then we'll break them each down:

  1. Flat panel TVs are lightweight and so aren't relegated to only being placed on a TV stand
  2. TVs no longer need dozens of cables attached to them in order to receive a video signal
  3. The added technology, like being "Smart" or having WiFi, no longer drives up the price.
  4. Where to put the TV
A flat panel TV has nowhere the weight of its old tube-based predecessor. This is largely due to the broadcasted television picture now being digital, resulting in electronics and panels being designed for this new breed of TVs that could be lightweight. In fact, even the small speakers found in 32" and smaller HDTVs weigh many times more than the amplification technology that drives their sound. Because the TV chassis can now be thin, being placed on a TV stand is only one option, with wall mounting being another. There might not be a  lot of room in a space to stand a TV — especially a large HDTV 1080p — but there's always a wall.

When the VCR (videocassette recorder) first made its earth-shaking appearance in the early 80's, for many it was the first time that something was being connected to the TV other than an external antenna or a pair of rabbit-ears. Since then, cables for satellite receivers and cable boxes, DVD players and now Blu-ray players have to be connected to the TV in order for the video signal to be received. That's even true of high-end devices that transfer a 4K video signal, for example a 4K Ultra HD Media player from Sony. Of course such a signal finds its home in a 4K Ultra HD TV. But since cables are messy, manufacturers have made devices to wireless transmit the video signal from a video source device to the TV, eliminating unsightly cables lying across the floor or snaking up the wall. And because of these devices becoming available, makers of audio systems are now building in wireless transmission for their surround sound speakers, so the audio receivers don't add to the clutter.

The first flat panel TV was costly — very much so — and that wasn't even an issue about size. 42 inches was the norm and buying one would do a good job at emptying the wallet or purse. That's all over — high-definition HDTVs not only have become affordable, but their size doesn't impact the cost as you would think they would. Nor are features left out: built-in WiFI and "smart TV" functions that provide wireless video streaming or connectivity with a smartphone aren't being "cut out" just to keep the price down. Add to that the number of TVs that manufacturers are making available: it's not just one model but many that are being released.  Who can complain that the new 4K Ultra HD TVs are making serious inroads because they are affordable? And that doesn't go for just the now-expected 55" or 65" 4K Ultra HD TV, but even the much larger sizes, such as 79" and greater.

With all this going on, it's no wonder that people are now coming to the conclusion that three's room in their home or apartment for more than one TV. The living room (or "Great Room") to be sure — that's where a big screen TV can dominate the room, both being impressive to the casual eye as well as allowing large groups to watch with ease. And the bedroom is another place where a big screen TV should be found. But now the kid's room can benefit from a lightweight HDTV, saving the rest of the family from hours of video game noise and distractions. Or move the "shootemups" to the basement. And hours of puttering around in the garage or tool shed can find a HDTV there to provide background "noise". Even just sitting around on the porch can benefit from a HDTV as well, especially now that a USB thumb drive containing video or music can be popped in and played. And a 4K Ultra HD TV doesn't have to be that big to be enjoyed either, thanks to the quality of the resolution and the brilliance of the colors it provides.

TVs come in so many different sizes and types these days that going "window shopping" (in person or through the Internet) can be fun in itself. But the real fun comes from having a TV somewhere unexpected. Bet you can think of a place that hasn't been mentioned.


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