Helpful Hints for buying an Entertainment Center

About measuring: Before ordering your furniture it is critical that you check all the dimensions to make sure the piece will work for you. This includes making sure the outside dimensions (as measured tip-to-tip including crown moldings and top cap overhangs) are appropriate for your space.

In the case of large wall units you will want to make sure that the piece not only fits into the room, but that it can get to the room as well. Will the delivery staff be able to get that large base cabinet navigated through the doorway and around the 2 hallway turns, or will they have to use the entrance off the deck?

Additionally, you want to make sure that all interior dimensions will work for your components. Many components have very thick knobs on the front or may have jacks and cords on the back that are not very flexible and therefore add to the required depth of the unit. Most of our entertainment centers come with the option of changing the dimensions such as depth. You can also request to have a cut-away back to allow a deep component to hang out the back of a cabinet. While this may not work for all applications it can be fine where you have a few inches of dead space due to the base molding of the room and the carpet tack strip and the back of the unit is not visible from the side anyways.

Checking all these sizing issues will help you to avoid frustration on delivery day. So remember: Measure twice, Pay Once!

About ventilation: Many components, particularly receivers, can generate a significant amount of heat. Excessive heat build-up can be damaging to hardwood furniture as well as your component. Be sure that there are adequate ventilation holes or channels placed where you need them. Additionally, some door panels may be available with speaker cloth fabric which can serve the dual purpose of allowing more air draw. Finally, if you feel that there is still too much heat build-up you may want to consider installing a muffin fan that will draw the heat out of the cabinet.

About scale, size, layout and placement: Remember to consider the characteristics of your room when picking out your new entertainment center. If you have high soaring ceilings then chances are that our Soho TV stand is going to look a little lost at 25" high. Instead you're probably going to want a tall unit that can fill the space visually and take your eye up to appreciate the whole room. By contrast, a smaller den that only has 8' ceilings may not be the best place to put our Wayside Entertainment Center with its 93" of height!

Also remember to consider all the things that need to be stored in the cabinet. If you need to house an LCD television, 6 components and 200 DVD's and CD's you are going to need a unit that has several door and shelf areas as well as drawers for media storage.

Does your surround sound system come with specific recommendations about where to place speakers? Typically a center channel speaker needs to be placed fairly close to the TV screen  either above or below it to achieve the best sound and you'll need to make sure there is an opening of the correct size.

Will the wall you are using allow easy access to any cable, computer or phone jacks you may need? Are there adequate electrical outlets?

Think about glare from windows relative to the placement of your TV. Might that wall you are thinking about moving your entertainment center to allow for a wicked glare from the setting sun that you previously haven't had to deal with? Will you be able to solve the problem with a window treatment or do you need to consider a different wall and therefore a different unit?

Finally you need to check the placement of any floor vents for HVAC that may be in you room. Placing an entertainment center directly over a HVAC supply vent is bad in two ways: the constant stream of warm air can dry out the wood in your entertainment center, causing it to crack (in this case the damage would not be covered by our warranty) and secondly, if you block off a vent you are likely to feel a significant difference in the temperature of your room. Possible solutions are to use a different wall, install a deflector shield that will redirect the air flow away from the unit (this may require the unit to have an open base profile rather than enclosed base molding) or if the level underneath (i.e. basement) is unfinished you could possibly relocate HVAC vents.

About remote controls: We frequently get questions about what types of cabinet door materials a remote control will work through.

The answer depends on what type of remote you have. Most remotes use "infra-red" (IR) technology and require a "line-of-sight" to the receiving eye. IR remotes will work through most glass and speaker fabric but will not work through wood. Less common are "radio-frequency" (RF) remotes. These do not require "line-of-sight" and will work through glass and speaker fabric as well as wood. Most of our entertainment centers are flexible when it comes to the door panel materials; just ask if you would like something different than what is shown.

If you absolutely want the components out of sight behind wood doors and you have an IR remote another option can be to install a remote sensing eye, otherwise known as an IR extender. This device is widely available (i.e. and easily installed. It is basically one sensing eye that you place on your cabinet or TV and this in turn sends the signal to your components behind the doors.

About TV installations: You might ask "What do you mean TV Installation? Aren't I just going to take the TV out of the box and put it on my cabinet?". That may very well be the case, but consider that a number of our larger Entertainment Centers that feature hutch tops have an option for ¾" thick plywood backs rather than the standard ¼" thick plywood backs and this allows you to directly mount your TV onto the back of the hutch rather than having to use a stand. This can create a very elegant and custom fit look. The TV can usually be mounted by several different methods:

  1. Many Plasma & LCD TV's have threaded holes machined into the backs of the case and provide a drilling template that will allow you to drill the holes in the ply back of the hutch top in the right place to match the spacing of the holes on the TV.
  2. You can use a bracket that mounts to the ply back of the hutch top and then your TV mounts onto the bracket. These brackets can be stationary or they can have swivel arms. When using swivel arm brackets please pay special attention that the center of gravity of the entire entertainment center remains stable (i.e. the unit cannot tip forward due to the extended weight of the TV).

About special options: Consider if you have a need for any special options. These might include:

  • A swivel: While not as commonly used as they once were this option is still available and comes in a fixed or pull-out version.
  • Power strip: Due to a specific placement you may need to ask us to install a power strip inside your entertainment center rather than running all the power cords outside the unit individually.
  • Pull-out shelving: This can allow easier access when you have a component that top-loads, like a turntable.

We hope these tips will prove helpful in selecting an Entertainment Center from Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings. If you have questions on anything we haven't addressed here please feel free to contact us.