In modern times, TVs are sleek and commonly wall-mounted, so it's only natural that the things we connect to our TVs be mounted on A/V Component Shelving. Televisions in the 21st century are nothing like their older, bulkier, need-to-be-occasionally-kicked cousins.
Invariably, televisions are focusing more on style and quality of experience than durability and function. A/V shelving has become a necessary part of any home theater, to keep our households sleek, tidy, and stylish. Let's get started!
What's the difference between TV Wall Mount and A/V Component Shelving?
The current market for A/V shelving has about as many options as there are stylistic preferences in the world. In order for us to make the best choice in A/V shelving, let's take a quick look into the common types of wall mounts available.
Fixed, Tilting, and Articulated TV Wall Mounts
TV wall mounts are designed to save space in your living room or theater, by lifting the TV above the rest of your furniture. On the cheaper end, wall mounts feature limited mobility and options for adjusting your TV positions or none. These styles of wall mounts are typically referred to as fixed or tilting TV wall mounts.
On the higher end of the scale, are swinging arm or Articulating mounts. As their name implies, these mounts allow for a phenomenal amount of mobility, being able to move side to side and away from and toward the wall. In some cases, swinging arm mounts can allow for rotation on your TV as well as some upward and downward movement.
Where does A/V Component Shelving Come in?
The unfortunate issue with most of these mounts - fixed or moving - is that they often fail to accommodate for more than the TV. DVD players, Cable boxes, Audio receivers and Line conditioners etc. all get left behind on your old coffee table.
A/V component shelving solves this problem, by providing a surface for your components that attaches to your wall mount. Typically, component shelving is made of detachable or unit components that allow you to customize shelving to your needs. Some shelving can be installed directly into your wall, whereas most options rely on the weight-bearing capacity of your TV wall mount.
So now, instead of an awkward combination of floating and standing components, all your components can be neatly arranged!
What should I consider when choosing an A/V component shelving?
There are several factors to consider that could make shelving more or less suited to you. This section will take a quick look at the most important ones, so you can make the choice that best suits you.
- Weight-bearing Capability - Heavy Components can Complicate Things
Your A/V components are probably pretty expensive, and if you've had them for a while, then they likely have some sentimental value as well. That being said, you'll need to find out the weight of the components you intend on placing on your shelving, as well as the weight-bearing capacity of your wall mount.
If you have a complex theater set up that includes multiple receivers, a center channel speaker, and a blu-ray player, you'll have to consider carefully what type of shelving you choose. In this case, choosing component shelving that relies on your wall mount to bear weight, might not be the best idea.
Note that this is especially true if your mount is a swinging arm or articulated mount. The number of extra joints required to create mobility end up sacrificing weight-bearing capacity. Most swinging arm mounts are rated to carry around 90 lbs, while fixed or tilting mounts can carry up to 170 lbs. Of course, certain mounts can carry far more load, but you should check with your manufacturer to get an exact figure.
Helpful Tip: Never load a wall mount to capacity!
You might think that you're being clever by staying 1-2 lbs under your weight-bearing capacity, however, it is best to leave up to 10 lbs of capacity available. This can help you avoid unfortunate falls or breaking caused by someone briefly resting a phone or full glass on a shelf. You'd be surprised how much difference a little bit of extra weight can make if your shelving is under strain.
- Mounting Capability and ease of installation
Once you know how much weight you're looking to shelve, you can start getting into more detail on what specific unit you'll be purchasing. We've briefly touched on the fact that many A/V shelving units, rely on your TV wall mount for support, but haven't gone into detail on how that works.
In most cases, shelving components are designed to be compatible with the VESA mounting holes in your wall mount. VESA simply refers to a standard applied to most wall mounts around the world, that ensures compatibility between mount and TV. A/V component shelving that relies on your wall mount for support, will most likely interact with these VESA holes in some way, to be supported.
Outside of VESA compatibility, independently supported wall mounts are installed directly into your wall. These units typically come with an installation kit that will give you guidance around how to select the appropriate space for installation. Usually, this will include instructions on how to make secure installations into drywall. If you have plaster walls or masonry, you may require additional equipment and assistance that are not covered in this guide.
What style of the A/V component shelving should I choose?
A/V Component shelving can have a number of options when it comes to styles. Many of the cheaper models will have a metallic black finish that is designed to be compatible with most environments. Cheaper models can also come in a polished black plastic that does a decent job at blending into most decors.
TVs, receivers, and speakers are usually black in color and metallic. Occasionally, these items will come with a wooden finish or wooden panels, which may be black or more naturally colored wood.
Metallic A/V shelving is generally compatible with these components, however, shelving is usually available in a variety of finishes, so choosing a wooden finish on your shelving to match your components is a good idea.
If you're searching for a modern look, you can consider brushed steel shelving or a wooden finish with glass shelves. Both options fit with a modern or minimalist décor unless you have a white color theme, in which case brushed steel might suit your room better.
The best way to know how your styles match will always be seeing it firsthand, so try to be creative. Use your phone or a printout to visualize how your shelves will contrast or compliment your space.
What Features Should Your Shelving Have?
Since we're done considering weight, mounting and style, here are a few features you should look out for when purchasing A/V shelving.
If your shelving came with an installation kit and you're well under your weight-bearing capacity, having extra shelving can be incredibly useful to allow for the expansion of your A/V experience. Being able to easily set up additional speakers, replace receivers or make small add-ons like Blu-ray players can save a lot of effort.
When making a purchase, find out if your order comes with additional shelving that is easy to remove or add to your arrangement. Of course, always be diligent about weight requirements when adding things to your set up.
Some shelving units are adjustable in height, which is fantastic since things don't always line up properly on the first try. Adjustable height also allows for more flexibility in storage. If you've always used your shelving for the remote and a cell phone charger, now you have the option to shelve a speaker, since you can adjust the height for more clearance.
You'd probably be surprised how many shelving units come with an attachable drawer. While not the most common feature in A/V Component shelving, drawers have been growing in popularity as nifty spots to keep the variety of remotes you'll have in your home theater. Having a spot to keep your remotes can save you the trouble of digging them out of the couch.