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I just picked this up at a store today for a really cheap price:
Amazon.com: Sonax NY-9424 New York 42-Inch Metal and Glass TV Stand: Kitchen & Dining
I currently have a makeshift (cutoff top of an old dresser painted black) riser that is only 34 " wide and can barely fit my Oppo and Jolida JD9 on the left and my Cronus Magnum on the right. In fact, I have the amp pulled about 3/4 of the way out and sitting on a sturdy level stand so it can breathe. My 60" Plasma sits on top and the bottom of the screen is about eye level from my chair.
This new rack is 8" wider and is open on all 3 sides so I can eliminate the extra stand and move the amp back flush with the other components. The current riser sits on a 24" high built in cabinet as will the new rack.
I wanted to ask a few questions and get some advice.
First, the stand says it fits TV's up to 52" and 150 lbs. My 60" plasma weighs 83 lbs and is currently on a narrower stand so I assume the size of the TV really doesn't matter as long as it's stable?
Secondly, I have the option of fully assembling the new stand with 2 shelves or partially assembling it with 1 shelf.
The first option would raise the height of the bottom of the TV about 10 inches above eye level. It would also allow me to spread out the components and have the tube amp by itself on the bottom shelf.
The second option with 1 shelf would keep the TV at it's current height. I would still have the Oppo/Jolida stacked on the left and the amp on the right but there would be 8" between them (instead of 0") and plenty of ventilation.
Any opinions on whether raising the height of the plasma 10" would cause the picture to look worse or would it just be a matter of looking up more? I know the only way to tell for sure is to try it both ways but since I have a hernia right now I'd rather not assemble it, put the TV on it, then move the TV again, put the second shelf on and lift the TV again, then possibly go back to the first version. I know off axis viewing on a plasma is not an issue like it is with LCD's. I could also put something under the rear of the rear of the attached stand of the TV to slightly angle it down.
It boils down to TV at the same height with more room on one shelf for equipment or 10" higher with tons of room for the components.
It really comes down to personal preference of how high you want to view your picture and how you want to arrange your equipment. As you said, the increased angle of view will not make a difference in the picture for a plasma TV. I have mine (60" TV) mounted with the center about eye level. I do not like having to view looking up, I find it uncomfortable. Sometimes it leads to headaches from the neck getting tired. Some people are not bothered at all looking up to watch TV.
As far as length of the stand, if it is stable the additional length on each side will not make a difference.
I think I'm going to try it with one shelf to start. This will keep the viewing angle about the same and I should have plenty of room for my audio gear on the bottom.
So many people in the US will mount their flat screen TVs above the fireplace mantel, which places it way higher than eye level. Maybe it's nice for decor, but it can't be good for necks...
Our plasma seems to be OK off axis, so I don't think that's an issue. As for personal preference, I like what I've always considered the ideal height; eye height is around 1/3 from the bottom of the screen. The higher it gets the worse it is IMO. Mostly from an enjoyment aspect...
If your built in shelf is 24" from the floor I'd have no extra stand and figure out another method for the equipment, but I also don't have a picture of your room, so it's tough to visualize and offer advise.
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