Bought my first house earlier this year and the rear living room where we would like to spend time watching movies and playing games isn't the best layout for screen and speaker placement, due to windows and doors. The TV is in the corner at an angle (which I hate) and because of this I haven't even bothered hooking up more than my front speakers and those are just sitting on the TV stand at the moment without any real placement. My only real option in this room is to place the TV above the fireplace, which is another tactic that I can't stand because it's too high. However, in order to have the room be as theater like as possible with straight on viewing angles and correct front, rear and side speaker placement it's the only way to go. Also, I have a 14-month old and moving the equipment up out of her way is going to be beneficial too.
It's a good sized room (23.5' x 19.5') and the fireplace is pretty wide so I think my 50" TV will be way too small especially up that high, so I'm considering one of the Sharp 80" ones. I figure at that size the height won't matter as much
and it will fill the wall up. The wall I'm using is an exterior wall over the gas fireplace and I'm sure there's a vapor barrier and I can't go into that wall for any wiring, so I'm planning on building a shallow box on the wall, attached to the existing framing. This will allow me to run the wires from the equipment to the TV and also give me a little more insulation between the exterior wall and the heat that rises up out of the exhaust for the gas fireplace. I'm also going to place all my components on the mantle below the screen (AVR, PS3, DVR, APC power conditioner).
This is where I need help coming up with ideas for the mantle.
The mantle top is stone and is 7'-10" wide by 17" deep. There is a standard dual power receptacle in the top of it near the wall so electrical is already taken care of. The width is plenty for all my stuff and then some, but the depth is a bit shallow. My AVR is 16 5/8" deep. I figure I need about another 1 1/2" to account for speaker and HDMI plugs and wire bends out of the back which puts me at about 18" of depth needed.
My only real idea so far is to have a nice piece of wood joined together, stained to match the room and laid on top to cover the entire mantle except, make it 18" deep to allow my AVR the clearance to sit up there. I'm thinking a nice flat piece of hardwood about 1/2" to 3/4" thick attached to the top of the mantle would do the trick without adding too much (I want to remain clean and streamlined). I thought about framing in a hanging shelf along with the box on the wall that the TV will hang from but it seem's that will be a lot bulkier because my AVR weighs a ton and it would have to be strong enough to hold it and everything else as it extends from the wall. I also want to keep the TV as low as possible so figuring out a way for the components to sit right on the mantle is what I desire most, and the TV will then be mounted just above them.
Thanks for the input and ideas.
This is the room facing East with a to scale rectangle added to show the 80" TV placement. I don't know why the forum software rotated it and I don't know how to get it right side up.