How To: Make your own dual purpose TV-Mirror

(Welcome again to Ann, one of the "techettes" vying for a blogging position at the upcoming AT:Home Tech. Comment away.)

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I love the moment on the decorating makeover shows when they bring out the 40” LCD display and show how much more style-friendly it is than that clunky 50” box-television that had been looming over everything. It gets even better when the display is cleverly hidden beneath a framed old master on hinges.

Seura has developed a system that combines an LCD television with a specially crafted mirror. When the screen is on, the television image shows through the mirror, enabling you to brush your teeth and do your prep to The View, while still seeing your reflection in the non-TV area of the glass. It’s an elegant and clever solution which makes the television less obtrusive than ever before. The Enhanced and Premier Series each sport Oak, Maple or Cherry frames ranging in size from 20”x30” to 45”x36” while the Premier takes advantage of HDTV and up tp 60” liguid crystal displays.

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The Union Sqare Hotel now uses Seura TV mirrors and they’re starting to get a lot of attention. Unfortunately, at the $3,000 to $15, 000 price my own apartment won’t be getting any Seura love in the near future. To make my own Sony Trinitron recede behind a wall of reflective glass would surely take some serious dough, no? No! I've been doing some research amd anyone can have a DIY version of the TV-Mirror solution for under $200.

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How it works: The Seura uses the principle of the two-way mirror. A two-way or see-through mirror is just a mirror with little gaps in the shiny metallic coating. You can see through this type of mirror in either direction, but when looking at the front where the shiny coating is, the reflected light is mich brighter than what comes through the back. As a result, you don’t notice what is on the other side of the mirror. Anyone familiar with crime dramas will recall that the suspect is being questioned in a brightly lit room and the police looking in from behind the mirrror are in a dark room, so that the suspect can't see the light coming in from the back of the mirror. In the case of the TV mirror, the light from the TV immediately behind the perforated mirror shines right through.

My plans for the TV-Mirror require:

1) 1/8” Mirror-Grade Acrylic coated with a 2-way Mirror Finish - available from Reflection Products, Inc. A 24” x 36” piece will cost $72.00

2) A sturdy wood picture frame with brackets and additional mounting hardware and wire.

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You can knock out bits of wall to recess your TV, but if you rent like I do, then you’ll want your TV in an armoire, shelf unit, etc. with the frame and acrylic fastened to the front.

The first step is to attach the reflective acrylic to the back of a large, antique-style picture frame with brackets.

Next, secure the frame as flatly as possible to the front of the storage area. In my case, this will be the shelving unit where my Sony lives. Make sure that the back of the mirror is close to being flush with the front of the TV. It works best if the TV is parallel and not at an odd angle to the acrylic.

The remote will still work through the two-way mirror.

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I have an oval mirror that I love- It would be great to find a frame similar to this one. Still looking for the right frame if anyone has suggestions.

Happy TV-Hiding,

Voila!

- Ann

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