We got a new TV over the weekend, to replace the one that stopped working after last week's ice storm (and subsequent power surges/flickers). My husband and I went back and forth for a couple of days about what to buy and how much to spend before we came up with a pretty good solution that (mostly) worked out.
The old TV was 32" (regular 4x3 aspect ratio...it's like 8-9 years old) and sat in a nice 3-piece entertainment center--the type with a center armoire and bookcases on either side. We bought the entertainment center unfinished and did all of the staining ourselves (mostly my husband). A couple of years ago, my husband took the bottom of the center armoire and built in drawers for DVD's and pull-out shelves for all of the media components. It looks nice, really wasn't that cheap (in time or money), and we had no budget to replace it. The problem is that it was designed for the traditional sized TV's and would fit a max of a 36" tv.
We have talked about upgrading to a larger flat-panel HDTV for 2 or 3 years now, but figured with baby #2 on the way, that we would be waiting another year or two before taking that plunge. We had kicked around moving the entertainment center to either our finished basement (and thereby replacing the 30-year old RCA tv we inherited from my husband's grandmother), or up to our bedroom, probably turning the center armoire into non-tv storage (we have no TV in our bedroom and don't feel like we need one). But then we would have to buy a new furniture piece to house the media components for a new TV--we've even kicked around having a vent-free or direct-vent fireplace installed on that wall and mounting a TV above it, with some sort of side unit to hold receiver, DVD player, etc. Grandiose plans are easy to dream up when the budget and timetable are far in the future.
So, as of last Thursday, our options were 1) Go whole-hog and replace the TV and entertainment center all at once (for a sum total of a couple thousand $) 2) replace just the TV with a flat panel that would fit in the cabinet (probably 32" or smaller), for somewhere in the $700-$1000 range or 3) Replace just the TV with another 32-36" traditional TV (for $3-500). We took door #2, and measured our cabinet.
Our plans went slightly awry when we were faced with the enormous space of a warehouse store and comparing 32" flat panels. They just looked so small. We did find one 37" flat panel that seemed like it would just fit in our cabinet and our budget, so we crossed our fingers and strapped it into the trunk of the car. We got it home, and my husband moved the old tv aside, only to find out that the new TV is about .5" too wide for the armoire. Oops. It is a really nice size, though--traditional TV broadcasts are about the size we're used to, and we can zoom widescreen movies to fill the TV for a nice big picture. Plus, this one doesn't show the glare of the room's lights, which is a big improvement over the old, shiny screen.
We have the TV currently sitting at an angle inside the cabinet, and are looking for a pull-out-and-swivel tray to mount it to (like all the hotels have)--that way, we'll be able to pull the TV out of the cabinet and set it flush against the outside so that everyone in the room can see the TV without anything blocking their view, and will still be able to put it all away and shut the doors.
A win-win situation all around. Well, mostly. If anyone has a good source for the TV tray/arm contraption that I'm talking about, let us know!