Cabinet width woes and questions? (Hard limit on width)

Discussion in 'Displays' started by MikeHerbst, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. MikeHerbst

    MikeHerbst Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 15, 2001
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    OK, I started writing this as a continued rant in THIS THREAD about the new Samsung HLP RP's.

    However, rather than just clutter that thread with whining, I thought instead I'd appeal to the masses for ideas on how to solve my display issue.

    As I mentioned in the above thread, I've got a built-in "Media Niche" in my cookie cutter home (I hate Pardee Homes, BTW). It places a hard-limit on the width of a monitor cabinet I can fit, unless I start knocking out studs in a load bearing wall and re-laying drywall.

    The niche is a double-whammy pain in the ass for two reasons, one is that its sort of narrow, just over 40-1/4". The second is that the height of this opening for the TV is rather high, like 4' or 4-1/2' off the ground (haven't measured lately...)

    I started my little HT setup a few years back, but pussed out and got a 32" Panny 4:3 Direct-View, "knowing" that it only "needed" to last until I was ready to go HD...

    Well, fast forward a few years and now I'm space limited by my friggen niche. I can't get a 36" TV that will fit now, due to changes in the "fashion" of cabinet design, (i.e. speakers on the sides of the cabinet). At the time I bought my direct-view, the same Panny in a 36" model would only have been a couple of hundred more, and would have fit just fine...ugh.

    Now I'm caught in the gap between Direct View and RP screen sizes. The few direct-view 4:3 HD monitors suffer the above cabinet issues. A direct-view 34" 16:9 screen would possibly fit (depending on the cabinet), but will net me a 30% smaller screen for my (still heavy) 4:3 viewing.
    Most of the RP technologies have the huge "Pedestal bases" which would put the screen unreasonably high on the wall (again due to the niche). The exception is DLP, which I'm lusting for, except that even the smallest DLP I can find is the Samsung 43" with a 40-1/2" wide cabinet, just over the width of the niche.

    I've had thoughts that I might just be able to fit this Samsung by letting the extreme front of the cabinet hang out onto the mantle that extends from the niche, but this has a low WAF and it would still be a seriously tight fit in the best case, and that's assuming that Samsung even makes the HLP (Tantus) screens in that width anyways...

    For my situation, the ideal "Fantasy Monitor" would be some fictional 48" 4:3 HD-capable DLP-RP that would maximize the width of my walled-in niche for 16:9 viewing and give me a massive 4:3 screen for that mode...

    Given all of that, is there anything I'm overlooking? Is there a model, or a technology, I should look at to maximize the screen I can get into this space?

    FWIW, I've briefly considered installing a drop-down screen and projector that covers the Media Niche and adjacent wall, but I'd only really use that for Movies, and would leave me with the same space requirements for any HD Television viewing I wanted to do...

    Help me HT Forum, you're my only hope...
  2. don burns

    don burns Auditioning

    Sep 16, 2002
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    My partner and I just went through this process - headache from Hades if you ask me.

    We currently have a 34" Panny 16x9 HD set (CT-34WX50). Direct view, heavy as all get out, but gorgeous picture. Also, you get used to watching regular TV in the 16x9 format, so it doesn't bother us anymore. The TV had to fit in our entertainment center, which only has a 34" wide opening. This was the biggest set we could get, and it only fit after we removed the sliding doors and mounted them with standard hinges on the outside of the entertainment center. "Hyacinth" (see Keeping Up Appearances) couldn't stand seeing the set, it could not be exposed, and there was not enough room in the budget to buy a new entertainment center.

    That was two years ago. Fast forward to today.

    After months of haranguing Hyacinth with the dazzling new DLP sets that have come out, I finally convinced her to upgrade (both TV and entertainment center). I decided this was going to be the last time I buy a TV for a long time, so we settled on the 56" Sammy DLP set (gen. II). Thus charged, we set out to find an entertainment center that:

    1. Was tall enough to look good in a house with 12' ceilings;

    2. Was made out of a nice cherry or dark wood finish, not cheap oak or something pedestrian;

    3. Was no more than 8 feet wide;

    4. Had an opening at least 50 inches wide;

    5. Was the right style;

    6. A bridge unit would not work (Hyacinth can't stand them);

    7. Had to have a back and doors on the front.

    As you can imagine, after schlepping all over town and doing a lot of research, we came to the conclusion there really is no such entertainment center. Finally, after starting to lose hope, we stumbled across a unit at Design Source that fit the bill perfectly, except it has no doors (Hyacinth finally relented in ONE area). However, the TV will look built in as the base is adjustable and we can snug it in nicely. Good looking entertainment center, too.

    So, why did I tell you all of this? You may have to get creative and think outside the box. Consider the following:

    Have you considered retrofitting your "media niche" with lights and glass shelves, buying an entertainment center and locating the set of your choice in said ent. center elsewhere in the room? That would be a classic end-run around the problem, assuming you don't have a "Hyacinth" that will get in the way of your plans, and assuming you have the room.

    You may want to consider getting some nice grease and try to sledgehammer that 43" Sammy DLP into that slot. Actually, I doubt very much those are "load-bearing walls" in your media center (if your house is modern) and you may be able to get someone to rebuild one of the walls further in.

    You might want to remove the inside sheetrock (that will net you about 5/16 of an inch on both sides) of the niche and replace it with thin metal facing or veneer. Slide the 43" Sammy DLP in there, then get a trim piece to go over the front of the sides to create a built in look. This may be the cheapest solution of all.

    Good luck. [​IMG]

  3. MikeHerbst

    MikeHerbst Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 15, 2001
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    Outside the box thinking is good.

    Unfortunately our sweet little home has the emphasis on little, instead of sweet. As the room is sized/shaped, I don't even have a place to fit a full-size couch. We actually have a matched pair of loveseats we got from a furniture clearance as its the only way to put seating for 4 into the room. (Yes, its a small place)

    So a seperate EC, or even a TV on a stand outside of the niche is a definite non-starter, unless we want to eliminate seating and possibly the dining room table...

    The wall itself is definitely load bearing, as its an outside wall, but you're probably right that the framing around the niche is studded off of a large header someplace, especially since the niche is flanked by a large sliding glass door on one side and the fireplace/chimney on the other.

    I do like the idea of trying to open the niche up enough to fit the width, especially since we're looking at having some other finish carpentry done and we could have the TV framed in somehow.

    Any ideas on how to attractively fill the space in the niche above the TV? Its too high to make a good shelving system, and the center channel speaker sits in the narrow equipment niche just below the TV cutout (puts it as close to ear-level and the screen as I can get it). Maybe just cabinet doors or just bring the drywall down to the TV to complete the look? Hmmm....

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