Do you know what a TV mirror is? How about a mirror TV? Well you know it’s to do with a TV so in the situation where you want a large new TV but you don’t want the room overpowered by a large screen, then you should opt for a mirror TV. I had never heard the expression although it does make sense – it just means that a special mirror is mounted in front of the TV to hide the fact it is a TV. In other words a hidden TV! The mirrors are very special and made to allow the light from the television to pass through when the TV is operating and to act as a mirror when the TV is off. Mirror TV’s can be mounted anywhere in the home including the bathroom (although a special waterproof version is preferred for that). Mirror TVs are also used for home automation systems although they usually have computers behind the mirror rather than a TV.
Once you start thinking about the idea of hiding your TV away in plain view it becomes very attractive. You can choose the TV mirror frame or enclosure to suit the interior décor of your room and know that when the TV is off it will not be in any way intrusive. The options for TV mirrors are growing whilst the price is coming down. You can choose to have a TV mirror mounted as a mirror on the wall for the living room, or fitted into a kitchen cabinet or splash back, or fitted over the bathroom vanity. You can choose from off the shelf designs or a custom made one for your project. I have seen rooms where the TV looks like a piece of art or a mirrored door, imagination and a few practical considerations are all that stand in the way of your new masterpiece!
How do they work?
This is not your standard glass or mirror (which is glass with a reflective surface applied to the rear). The technical term is dielectric glass. Mirror glass is specially engineered material with the correct properties to control the way the light flows through the glass and is reflected on it. The special material is applied in layers on a glass base until the correct polarization(tuning) is attained. If you are interested in mirror TVs then obtain a sample (available from some manufacturers) and test it out yourself. The sample will look just like a normal piece of glass, especially if you hold it up to the light. With your TV on hold the glass in front of the TV and you should be able to see the TV picture clearly through the glass. With the TV off you should get a reflection of what is in the room. Most of these kinds of mirrors do not work well close up, stand away from the mirror to assess how well it works. The amount of light in a room can also affect how well the mirrors work. For good reflection you need lots of bright light, but for the TV picture to show well, you need low levels of room lighting. If you can adjust the lighting when you watch TV you will get a better effect. With your sample play around with the position you hope to have the TV in and the room lighting to ensure that you will get the best result from your TV mirror.
What kind of hidden TV can you have?
Obviously the kind we are talking about the is the mirror, but the TV can be made to look like a ordinary mirror or one with beveling around the edge( which makes it look more like a mirror) or be fitted with lights, or as part of a cabinet. The arrangement of how to hide your TV is personal, the mirror effect just makes it so much easier. You may choose to have a mirror with a mantle or shelf or an illuminated bathroom vanity mirror TV the places and arrangements are almost limitless.
Tips On Choosing A TV And The Mirror
If you are considering a hidden TV then it is always a good idea to try to physically visit a showroom and see the effect and quality of the mirrors they have. Looking on line can give you a good idea of what is available, but you need to check it out in person to be sure of what you are getting. Having said that, here a few point to bear in mind when thinking about mirror TVs
- A LCD TV is preferred to a plasma, as the plasma needs the air to be circulating around the screen to help cool it and prevent the risk of fire.
- Thinner is better. The thinner the TV the better the picture or mirror effect will work. Many manufacturers design for popular models and so it may be possible to see the TV you are interested in on display.
- A black TV will work better than a silver or light colored one. This is primarily because black behind the mirror will help the reflection when the TV is off, whereas silver may show through. It is possible to cover the TV frame with black material if any of it shows through.
- Check the position of the speakers on the TV you wish to hide. Ensure the speakers are not flush with the TV. Speakers that face to the rear or the back are better than front facing ones which will be covered. If possible choose a TV with external speakers, preferably wireless, that avoids the cable mess! Speaker covers may be different colors to the main TV and covering them with thin black material can help to conceal them behind the mirror.
- Check the position of the TV buttons – you will need to access them at some point. The sensor will be covered by glass and possibly black backing, but it should still operate although its range may be decreased – it is worth checking this out during final installation as it is possible to get repeaters installed.
- Where is the remote sensor mounted – it needs to be close to the screen and not covered by any backing for the remote to work.
- Try to get the mirror the same size as the TV screen- then the TV frame is hidden by the mirror frame. If the mirror is bigger than the TV then using thin black material can conceal it. But do not attach anything directly to the glass mirror. The mirror should be as close to the TV screen as possible without touching it. The further away the glass from the screen the more likely you are to see the TV through the glass. Mirror glass comes in two thicknesses generally 4mm and 6mm. The 4mm if preferred for picture quality but the 6mm is stronger. It depends upon your application as to which one is best.
- Any mounting supports need to be strong enough to support the weight of the TV, the glass and the frame. Mounting options include hung on the wall, recessed into the wall or placed in a cabinet. The easiest option is to attach the TV to a frame that is the size of the TV with the mirror over the TV screen and hold the TV in place using double sided tape or L hooks. The bigger the gap between the wall and the TV the better the temperature of the TV, but this has to be weighed up with the effect you are trying to achieve. You may prefer to get a professional to install your mirror TV safely.
- Once your Mirror TV is installed you will need to keep an eye on the temperature of the TV to make sure it doesn’t overheat according to manufacturers specifications. If the temperature gets to high then very small cooling fans can be mounted behind the TV to move the air and help keep the temperature down.
- Bathroom TVs are a special application. The glass used is different to the one used for other mirror TVs and is very fragile. The mirror is usually the bathroom vanity and is often much bigger than the TV mounted with it. The TV is usually mounted into a recess in the wall and has to be weatherproof. The back of the mirror will have a black backing placed close to the glass everywhere where the TV is not. It is always worth getting the advice of a professional before installing a bathroom mirror TV.
At the end of the day
We would all like to have TVs in our space, but having them looking like other pieces of furniture can helps us keep our sense of style and allow us to design our interiors without working hard at trying to hide the TV. I would definitely chosse a TV in a mirror. Would I like one in the bathroom? I think I would prefer to keep that space quiet and private!