Enclosed TV cabinets are useful to hide your equipment, but they do have their disadvantages too. Let our guide to flat screen TV cabinets explain...
Flat-screen TV cabinets are different from other types of TV furniture as they offer an enclosed unit to hide your AV components from view.
They are one alternative in a range of options that you will come across when you are looking for a way of installing your home cinema equipment.
I have discussed the other options as part of my guide to TV stands for flat screens.
In this part, I look at TV cabinets in more detail.
Introduction to TV Cabinets
A flat-screen TV cabinet is usually the most expensive type of television furniture.
They feature an enclosed design that keeps audio and video equipment away from harmful dust particles – in addition to inquisitive fingers or paws.
Many of the strengths and weaknesses of TV cabinets are also shared with wood TV stands.
TV cabinets are available in both flat-packed and fully assembled forms, and the fully assembled cabinets do tend to be substantially more expensive.
A good example of an enclosed TV cabinet is the Winston Porter Lonaconing pictured above, which offers a stylish place for all your AV equipment.
In this model, the doors open outward to allow access to your equipment and you also have rear access for cable management.
Space and Remote Control
It is critical that the interior dimensions of a TV cabinet are sufficient to incorporate all of your home cinema equipment and any additional future purchases.
Most TV cabinets have height-adjustable shelves to increase storage flexibility, although some cabinets offer very limited shelf depth.
Always check this will be sufficient for larger and deeper audio and video components.
If the TV cabinet features wooden doors or drawers, it will be necessary to open these in order to use IR remote controls – although the purchase of an infrared remote control repeater kit will solve this problem:
In fact, some television cabinets feature clear or darkened glass fronts that keep AV equipment enclosed yet allow both IR and RF remote controls to function.
Remember to check this before you buy.
Ventilation and Surge Protection
As with a wooden television stand, ventilation of equipment is critical.
Some intelligent TV cabinets feature vented bases that draw cool air through the bottom of the cabinet and push the warmer air out of the rear panels.
The isolation of a TV cabinet is also very important.
If the cabinet itself or the interior shelves are not isolated it could potentially cause an annoying rattle when you are using your home cinema equipment.
Some TV cabinets offer a choice of either a glass or speaker cloth insert in the top compartment – or just have an open space for a center channel speaker.
It is of paramount importance to ensure these types of TV cabinets are fully isolated.
The Alani media console pictured above has a mixture of closed storage compartments and a large central open area with shelves.
This is where you could put a center speaker or Blu-ray player, for example.
Of course, there are many other designs, shapes and sizes available if this one isn’t to your taste – or the right fit for your room or equipment.
Some higher-quality TV cabinets are supplied with surge-protected power strips, and these will protect your sensitive AV components from power spikes which can easily ruin electrical equipment.
If a power strip is included with the cabinet, this usually means that there will be a location on the TV cabinet where the power strip can be attached.
For TV cabinets where a surge-protected power strip is not included, it can always be bought separately and placed behind or inside the TV cabinet.
Pros and Cons of TV Cabinets
- The enclosed design protects AV equipment
- TV cabinets make home cinema systems look neater
- Wide choice of sizes and finishes
- Some TV cabinets are supplied fully assembled
- More expensive than alternatives
- Flat-packed TV cabinets can be time-consuming to assemble
- Cabinets lacking ventilation may lead to overheating AV components
- Cable management can be difficult unless the model is designed to help with this
If you want to hide your AV equipment in your room from open view, then a flat-screen TV cabinet might be the right solution for you.
TV cabinets are often a more expensive option but are also the best way to conceal your hardware in your living space.
Not everybody wants to have all their AV devices on display for all to see.
However, with this type of solution, you must be aware of ventilation issues and make sure the room inside is sufficient for your hardware.
Check out my other guides to TV stands if you are still unsure of your choice.
About The Author
Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has been a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment. You can find out more here.