Thank you. That is an obvious and immediate suggestion I get, and I hate to sound dismissive of all good recommendations trying to help. But mounting the TV above the fireplace would result in a literal "pain in the neck" due to it being too high from eye-level at the seating positions. I've tried mounting the TV on the mantle (at about the same height, but in the corner of the room), and it was literally like watching a planetarium presentation, and resulted in headaches and neck pains from the amount of viewing I do each day in front of the TV.
Hey raaj, how about making a complete twist and moving the TV and electronics + speakers to the opposite wall (to where your couch is now), while moving couch to about 2/3 from TV leaving 1/3 space from back of couch to the fireplace. Just thinking out loud, although many of your problems would be solved (even if new problems are coming up).
But then he'd have his back to the fireplace when he wasn't watching TV! (Or even when he was).
Raaj - do you use the fireplace?