Archive for 6th October 2012

Television in the Living Room

It’s been a bit over nine years since I fixed up the living room in my condo, and since then (and with Danielle now living here) the room’s needs have changed a bit. I’ve had a nice tube HDTV in the basement and it’s been well used for movie watching and playing games, but up until now there hasn’t been a TV in the living room. Danielle really has been wanting one there, but being oddly shaped I’ve been hesitant and somewhat resistant to trying. After last night’s fiddling with the HTPC and thinking a bunch about how much Danielle would probably use it, I decided to give it a serious look.

By pulling one of the love seats away from the wall and flipping it around I was able to create a nice space for a TV while still leaving the doorwall accessible. The recliner was moved to the basement, the coffee table moved into service as a TV stand, and the end tables kept doing their thing. This setup doesn’t clutter the room so walking through is still easy, and it doesn’t feel like one is sitting awkwardly in the middle of an open space.

This experimentation and talking it over with Danielle resulted in our purchase of a Sharp LC-52LE640 LED-lit flat panel LCD TV. Sears had them on sale for a quite reasonable price with a bonus $100 in-store gift card for a total of $953.99 after tax. This seems to be one of the nicer non-3D models available in this price range, and being in stock locally was a nice treat as it allows an easier return option if necessary.

Beyond the TV there was only a need to purchase one spool of speaker wire to get everything set up. Everything else came from either spares in the basement or things moved from the previous setup. I do need to pick up two replacement front channel speakers on eBay, but the model that I have is both good quality, relatively cheap, and fairly available so this likely won’t be a problem.

The end setup has the television with all devices connected to it via HDMI, except for the Wii which uses component + analog audio. The TV then re-ouputs the audio via TOSLINK to an AMB γ1 DAC that I built a few years ago which is the input for a NAD 705 stereo receiver that feeds a pair of Energy Take speakers and a Yamaha YST-SW160 subwoofer. I hooked the speakers up to the B channel of the amp, leaving the original Gekko GK-1824 flat speakers which I use for room-filling audio while working in the kitchen on the A channel. An original Airport Express also remains connected on one of the other inputs for times when I want to play synchronized audio throughout the house.

Here is a head-on view of the whole setup. I may do a better job of bundling the wires, perhaps replacing some of them with black versions, and I might stuff all of the visible bits inside of split tubing to make it nicer looking. It’s not bad as it is, though, especially for not having a large mass of wired network gear, power supplies, and all hookup cables bundled under the bottom of the table.

Thus far it seems to be working out well, and Danielle seems quite happy with it. I’m really glad.