When The Wall Won't Do

When flat-screen televisions were going for $10,000 apiece, owners proudly displayed them on their walls. Now that they're more common, people once again want their TVs to blend into their home furnishings. In place of the familiar old armoires, you'll find platforms, consoles, and cabinets--what the industry calls "cases"--that gracefully integrate with their surroundings yet still accommodate the large TV screens along with all the extra boxes for DVDs, cable, and the like.

The best of these cases are gorgeous pieces of furniture that may cost three times the price of the TV. Some models conceal the screen when it's not in use. Called pop-ups, they contain a mechanical lift that rises from within the cabinet at the push of a button and brings the TV to the right height for viewing. With Martinsville (Va.)-based Hooker Furniture's $3,500 cherry Preston Ridge Collection console, even when the flat screen is in the down position, there is still space enough inside the cabinet to hold components. The piece can accommodate a 50-inch TV without speakers or a 44-inch model with.

The $12,500 Cambridge Hideaway Media Center from Century Furniture of Hickory, N.C., would be a great prop in a murder mystery. When the TV is in view, it looks like a traditional wooden cabinet. But push on the TV shelf and--presto! change-o!--it swivels around like a lazy Susan to reveal a bookcase on the other side. A tiny infrared eye mounted on the front lets you hide home theater components behind wood doors and still use your remote control.

For TV buyers who want to show off their new toy, the Mediacentre from Mobelform of Dania Beach, Fla., has two glass shelves mounted on an eight-foot-high cherry panel that seem to levitate underneath the flat screen. The unit retails for just under $8,500. If you prefer something smaller and sleeker, Mobelform's $5,890 Periscope features a glass monolith on which you suspend up to a 46-inch TV. A remote control lets you move the TV up, down, or around the base.

By Andrew Park

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