Rising to the Occasion
Like something out of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” the new 36” flat-panel HDTV with 1080p resolution silently rises from its hiding place from within a beautiful antique oak cabinet and swivels to the perfect viewing angle. In another home, an oil painting slowly eases aside, exposing the 42” HDTV built into the wall behind it. All of this, with the mere touch of a remote control. New technology? Absolutely not. This is a case of revitalized technology.
The development of technology does not always doom an existing industry to obsolescense. In the case of the 50-year-old TV “lift” industry, the evolution of flat panel, high-definition television sets has ignited a resurgence in demand to “hide away” the television. Let’s face it: 30-, 40-, and 50-inch wide screens are large, unsightly black rectangles when not in use that can disturb a room’s well-appointed decor.
“The television lift is one of the most exciting products today. If you’re designing a house upfront and can build the television and lift into the wall, then a piece of art on the wall can move up and down—and it can even be a Van Gogh,” says Michael Laugesen, president and owner of Icon Group, a designer of control and theater systems for homes and businesses.
The (Re)Evolution of Lifts
The lift industry’s good fortune can be tied directly to the design elements that make flat-panel technology so appealing to the consumer. For many decades, lifts had to be built to accomodate 200+ pound, deep-box television sets. Today, with a typical 42” flat panel weighing approximately 80 pounds, the lifting is quite a bit easier. The flat-panel profile, now down to four-to-five inches, means that building the television into walls, embedding the item into a piece of antique furniture, heirloom trunks and even ceilings is also more easily accomplished.