Where are you going to put everything? If you have been following the advice within these pages, you have been weighing the quality of various electronic gadgets, trying to maximise your dollar while meeting your home theatre needs.

But once you have all your new equipment home, it will need its own home. That?s where furniture comes in.

We won?t presume to give advice on aesthetics here. Just know that there are a wide range of styles from which you can choose and which will perfectly suit your home. But there are three qualities you should assess before purchasing new furniture for your equipment: access, ventilation and strength.

Access

Your remote control needs to be able manipulate your equipment?s controls. That means that if your equipment furniture has a door, it should be glass so that the infrared rays from your remote can get through.

Make sure, as well, that the furniture rack for your home theatre receiver is wide enough. Almost all home theatre receivers, DVD players and recorders, and HD DVD and Blu-ray players measure around 435 mm wide. So do some high definition digital TV receivers, although most are narrower.

So make sure the cabinet positions for placing these items are at least 450 mm wide, and that the door doesn?t get in the way of the controls.

Don?t forget storage for all your discs as well.

Ventilation

Consumer electronic equipment generates heat. That is especially the case for HDTV set-top boxes and home theatre receivers. If you box these items in so that they can?t get any fresh air, then they will fail. Electronic components do not like excessive heat.

So make sure that the back of your furniture is open, and that if it has a door, this doesn?t completely seal the front.

Each item of equipment should have its own shelf. You should not stack items of equipment on top of others. If you must, keep it to CD players and DVD players, which tend not to generate too much heat.

But never put anything on either a set-top box, especially a PVR, nor on a home theatre receiver. These require at least 100 mm of clear space above them to allow the heat to clear.

Strength

Avoid flimsy furniture. A typical home theatre receiver may weigh between nine and 20 kilograms. If this is near the top of your cabinet, then it will be applying horizontal stresses which could gradually loosen screws and joins. If there is any movement at all in the furniture, then your DVD player will be more likely to skip during playback, since vibrations through the floor, even from footsteps, will be amplified by the time they reach the top of the cabinet.

But most important of all is ensuring that your TV stand is robust. Even an 80 cm LCD TV usually weighs around 25 kilograms, and by the time you get up to a 127 cm plasma TV, you?re looking at 50 kilograms. That is much, much lighter than an equivalently-sized glass tube TV would be, if there were such a thing, but it is still enough to cause a lot of damage. And the stands for these TVs are not very deep, so combining a wobbly piece of furniture with the inherent instability of these panel TVs makes for real danger, especially for the younger members of your family.

So take plenty of time in choosing your furniture, and don?t be afraid to shake and wobble ? even thump a little ? the display cabinets to ensure they will keep your equipment, and your family, safe.

Purchase checklist

  • Plenty of shelves for all your equipment?
  • Storage for your DVDs, Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs?
  • Good ventilation?
  • Remote control works through the doors (if any)?
  • Is the cabinet very stable?