Now that we know which two teams will face off in Super Bowl LVI, the race is on in many households … for a new giant screen on which to watch the Big Game.
According to the tech media source CNET, the Super Bowl signals the last call for deals on 2021 TVs. (By spring, all eyes will be on newly released models introduced at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in January.) While fans with the space and the budget for a colossal new TV will find ample inventory and satisfactory mark-downs over the next two weeks, selecting the furniture to accompany that purchase may be a longer game.
“Most Americans upgrade their electronics more frequently than their furniture. However, if you’re substantially increasing your TV screen size, it’s probably time for a furniture refresh as well,” advises Patricia Bowling, vice president of communications for the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA).
When shopping for new furniture, style typically tops the priority list. In the case of a new TV console or cabinet, however, Bowling advises shoppers to focus on size, storage and safety first.
Wall-mounted large screen TVs look best with a comparably-sized console or cabinet beneath them. From long, thin tables to stylish cabinets, there are options in every style and price point, Bowling says. Aim for a piece several inches wider than your screen. Also, keep in mind that TVs 70 inches and larger not only need wider furniture, but also lower furniture in order to keep the screen at an optimal viewing height.
Next, consider whether you need storage, display, or both. Until recent years, manufacturers of entertainment furniture had to design pieces that could accommodate multiple components, from cable boxes to DVD players and speakers. But today’s smart TVs often stand alone, allowing for a greater array of both open and enclosed storage space in the cabinetry beneath them.
“Now might be the perfect time to increase the storage capacity in your primary living space if clutter is an issue for you. Choose a cabinet with drawers or doors, rather than open shelves,” Bowling suggests.
“If you’re not wall-mounting your new TV, safety should be your number one concern,” she adds. “All TVs, regardless of size, should only be placed on stable furniture that is designed specifically to hold electronics. Always check the weight of your electronics and the weight the furniture is designed to hold.”
Never allow the edges of the TV screen to extend beyond the edge of the furniture holding it. “That’s a tip-over accident waiting to happen,” she insists.
In households with small children, the TV should be anchored to the wall or to the back of the furniture, no exceptions, Bowling emphasizes.
From 2000 to 2019, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an average of 16 children were killed each year in TV tip-over accidents. Every hour, someone ends up in the emergency room because of a TV tip-over, and most of the time, it’s a child.
“AHFA’s research shows that when families bring home a new, larger screen television, they often move the old one to a child’s room, a playroom, a second bedroom or a home office, frequently placing it on furniture never intended for electronics,” Bowling points out.
“Regardless of their size, TVs should never be placed on top of a dresser or a chest of drawers in a child’s room or a room to which a young child has access. Keep TVs on low, stable furniture without drawers or shelves that toddlers might be tempted to climb. Place the TV as far back as possible, and always, always anchor,” says Bowling.
TV anchors are inexpensive nylon straps that secure the television to the wall or to the back of the furniture. Furniture anchors can be plastic brackets, nylon straps or even steel cables that secure the furniture to the wall. Both TV and furniture anchors can be found for $5 to $10 at stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowes, as well as from a host of online sources.
Once you’ve settled on size and storage needs and have addressed all safety concerns, it’s time to find a style that suits your home’s décor.
“Supply chain issues and increased shipping costs have impacted every industry in the United States, and home furnishings are no exception. Expect longer-than-usual lead times on furnishings that must be special ordered,” Bowling cautions. “But many stores and online retailers have a wide range of products ready to ship today. Regardless of your size, storage and style preferences, you will find plenty of products in your price point.”
More TV safety information is available at www.anchorit.gov and at www.tvsafety.org.