A huge portion of our entertainment comes to us through a television, and it's good to keep in mind that for optimal viewing, the stand the TV is positioned on can be as important as the set itself. TV stands come in many sizes, shapes, and even several official names - you might hear them described as an entertainment unit or a console as well. That doesn't make it easy to pick an ideal TV stand, so as always, I'm going to share some questions you can ask yourself to help narrow it down.
- How large should my TV stand be based on the size of my TV itself?
- Do I have a flat screen TV or a CRT model?
- What is my ideal viewing height?
- What peripherals do I have and do they require open or enclosed storage?
The first step is to get, or at least order, the TV you want. Buying a TV stand without knowing the measurements of your TV is like buying a mattress without knowing the size of bed frame you're getting - it's asking for trouble.
Once you pick your TV you need to get the measurements of the set. You may be unaware, as I was until I got into this business, that the measurement all TV's are advertised with is NOT the width of the TV set but the distance diagonally across the screen (and it doesn't take into account the frame of the TV set, just the screen itself).
If you don't actually have your set yet you can often get its measurements from the website of the manufacturer. If it's a typical widescreen TV (16:9 is the official term) then you can work out the measurements of the screen yourself by multiplying the diagonal measurement by 0.87 to get the screen width, and by 0.49 to get the screen height. With most TV's today, the total width is just a few inches more than the screen width.
Now you know how big your TV is, so how big should the stand be? Obviously it has to be at least as wide as the TV's base, but it's a very good idea to get a stand that is at least as wide as the entire TV. This will give the TV better balance and minimize the chance of its getting knocked over.
If the stand is a little bigger than the TV, you will also find that you can reach the wiring more easily, which can be important if you have a lot of peripherals. I myself have several HDMI devices and only one HDMI port on my TV set, so inaccessible wiring would be the kiss of death for me.
The height of the stand is also quite important because you want to get the best viewing angle. When you're sitting down to watch, you want the middle of the screen to be right around your eye level. So pull up your favourite chair, take a seat, and measure your eye level. Now take that screen height measurement you got earlier and subtract half of that (because we want to check the middle of the screen). Now subtract the height of the TV's base. The measurement you have left is how high you want the stand to be.
Flat screen TV's are of course extremely popular these days, but many people, myself included, do still have a traditional CRT model in their home - if you're unfamiliar with the term CRT, it stands for 'cathode ray tube' and it refers to the large, boxy models that you traditionally think of when someone says the words 'old TV.' If you have a CRT model, you'll need a larger and wider stand to support it - in this case the stand should definitely be the entire width of the TV set if not wider, and you'll want to make sure you have enough room to accommodate the depth of the set.
Very rarely does a TV stand hold only the TV itself - you need to consider what peripherals you use, how much space these will take up and how visible you want them to be. Also keep in mind that some peripherals need to be in line of sight - a Wii U sensor bar will not operate properly tucked into a drawer, for example.
TV stand storage tends to come in three types:
- Open storage. A TV stand with open compartments keeps everything visible and accessible, and can make wiring easier to reach. The big downside here is that it also makes wiring easier to see, which can result in a messy look if you have many peripherals.
- Storage with doors. This type of storage allows you to 'hide' the peripherals somewhat and keep the face of the unit looking clean - often these doors are glass allowing signals to pass through where they need to.
- Storage with drawers. This type of storage is difficult to use for peripherals, but it works very well if you have a lot of media and accessories you want to keep close to the TV. A video gamer like myself, for example, will often prefer to keep their games and controllers close to the TV the systems are hooked up to.
Whichever type of storage you want, keep an eye out for TV stands that have holes in the back cut out for wires to come through. These are quite commonplace now because they are extremely useful in keeping the front of the unit looking clean.
These tips will help you figure out which TV stand is right for you!