Entertainment Center #1: Entertainment Center Design

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Blog entry by RobH posted 01-18-2011 12:53 AM 7947 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Entertainment Center series no next part

Ok, I have started back to work on the entertainment center. I had posted a couple of blog posts on this project before I took a woodworking break. Since it had been so long, and since the design had changed a little, I deleted that blog series and I have started another one. First, here is a picture of the entertainment center from the front:

A plywood carcase forms the overall structure of the piece. The frame and panel sides are put on the plywood. The top will be cherry. There are three compartments along the front of the unit. The center compartment is intended to hold the A/V equipment. Above the center compartment is a place for the center channel speaker. Here is a picture of the unit with the doors removed:

The left-most compartment is intended for other A/V equipment and in the future a home theater PC or something similar. Initially there will be a component or two in there, but for the most part it will be empty. The three holes along the front and the fans in the back of the compartment are for air transfer that will keep the electronics inside cool. Each of the fans will move on the order of 80 cubic feet per minute of air. Next is a view from the front with some more parts removed so you can better see the center compartment:

This view shows the center compartment so you can better see the center channel speaker shelf. Once again, there are fans in the back and this time a large louvered vent for bringing air in to cool the A/V equipment. The vent is positioned under the center of my amplifier so as to bring air up through the amplifier and component. There will be a shelf over the amplifier for other components This shelf will have a hole in the center, once again to allow air flow.

The right-most compartment will contain three drawers like the one shown in the pictures for holding DVDs and video games. Each of these drawers will be on fill extension slides.

Now, a view of the back side of the unit.

There are three panels covering the back each one with two louvered sections. In the first two compartments, these louvered sections are where the fans in the compartments exhaust the air that is being pulled into the compartment. Behind the panels is a 4” deep space for running cables and keeping all of the mess hidden. Here is a picture with the back opened up:

The compartment with no fans here is intended to house power strips and an Ethernet switch that will be used by other components in the system. I included a louvered panel over this section so that heat generated by the various power supply bricks, etc. can be vented to the outside. Right now there are no holes taking wires to the outside. There will be a couple somewhere, I am just not sure where yet. These holes will probably not be drilled until I am putting components in the cabinet. There are also no hole in the top for cables to pass up to the television. This will be included in the final product once I determine where I want to put that hole.

The overall dimensions will be 75-1/2” long, 29” deep, and 31-1/4” tall. My current plans are to finish it with natural oil and polyurethane. Just in case you are wondering, the whole project is being designed using Sketchup. Yes, it is big. I designed it to hold at least a 48” wide screen TV (plus little). I hope you enjoy watching the progress on the build of this project. I am hoping it will be done soon.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

4 comments so far

View hvjackson's profile


1 post in 3166 days

#1 posted 01-20-2011 08:03 AM

Looks like an interesting project. I’m in the process of designing an entertainment center myself, so I’ve been thinking about it recently.

I have a couple comments on the design—food for thought:

- You list the height as 31.25”, which is definitely taller than I would want my TV, especially a big one. My current TV stand is 19” tall, and I’m actually thinking of lowering it about an inch when I build a custom one. And I’ve only got a 32” TV—for a bigger TV, I might go even lower to keep the center of the screen at a comfortable height (I don’t like craning my neck up to look at the TV). This is definitely personal preference though, and also might depend on how far away the sofa is, and how high off the ground it is.

- Putting a speaker in a small box can have undesirable effects on the sound quality. If you just use the TV to watch nightly news maybe it’s not a big deal, but if you have a high-end stereo and like to listen to music or watch a lot of movies, you want to be careful about speaker placement. Different styles of speaker design will be better or worse in this situation: if the speaker is sealed (sometimes called “acoustic suspension”), it probably won’t make too much difference, but if it’s ported (sometimes called “bass reflex”), you could get weird echos or reverberations, especially if the port is at the back of the speaker. I’m not an expert—look into it if it matters to you.

- You’ve spent a lot of effort making the back of the center look good by hiding the cables and creating a ventilation system. Is the stand going to be visible from behind? I’m just going to leave the back of mine open I think (with a few supports for rigidity). If it’s just going to be against the wall, I wonder if you’re creating unnecessary work for yourself by sealing the cabinet and then installing fans and air vents.

Despite my subjective observations, this looks like a well thought out project. Good luck building it!

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4532 days

#2 posted 01-20-2011 02:00 PM

Thanks for the thoughts. The other night I got to thinking about the height, and I know I thought through this at some point or another. The only way I can remember coming up with the height was basing it on what I needed for my equipment to all be in the center compartment. At that point in time I was unwilling to use either side compartment for equipment. Maybe now that I realize one compartment is going to have to be used, I should rethink the height thing.

As for the speaker, I had not thought that through at all. I will have to look into is also. I think it will be ok since it is just a center channel speaker, but I will do a little more research.

As for the back, the problem I have with my entertainment center right now is that is is open in the back and there is a BIG mess of cables back there. You can see right behind it when you walk in the front door of the house. That really bothers me. The obvious answer is to put something beside it to shield it, but the wife like a clean look on that wall. End of story. I am a neat freak when it comes to cables and I cannot stand looking at any more than I just have to. This really helps out.

Thanks for the input. I have some research to do this weekend now.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4155 days

#3 posted 03-19-2011 03:29 AM

Great design.

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3309 days

#4 posted 03-19-2011 03:31 AM

cant wait for the next part.


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