Here are 5 options for concealing that plasma display. The best option for you depends on the room, décor, cabinetry, size of plasma display, budget, and a host of other factors.

What to do with that Plasma Display?

Jonathan Graham | Media Decor, LLC

What to do with that Plasma Display?
Jonathan Graham, Media Decor, LLC.

Here are 5 options for concealing that plasma display. The best option for you depends on the room, décor, cabinetry, size of plasma display, budget, and a host of other factors.

Owners of large flat screen displays fall into 2 categories:

  1. "I paid $xxxxx for that screen and I like it the way it is"
  2. "I don't care what we paid for it, I don't want to see it when it is turned off"

If are a type 'A', this article is not for you. If you are a type 'B', there are many options available, so read on

Before we get into the options, let's consider single largest subjective factor in why concealing the display is desirable: serenity. 

It is far more than a visual or mechanical change when the TV is concealed; it changes the atmosphere of the room.

*      When the display is turned on, all attention is consciously or unconsciously directed towards the graphics on the display.  

*      Once the display is turned off, there is silence, but unconsciously people's attention is drawn towards the black vacant screen. 

*      Once the display is hidden or concealed, the silent visual magnetism of the plasma disappears and there is a serene sense of relief. This is not imaginary, it is real; and it has a dramatic effect on the atmosphere of the room.

 Of course,  if we are talking about a separate home theater, none of the above necessarily applies, but that is another subject.

The Options:

Here are 5 options for concealing that plasma display. The best option for you depends on the room, décor, cabinetry, size of plasma display, budget, and a host of other factors.

  • Pop-Up Lift
  • Drop Down Lift
  • Folding Ceiling Lift
  • Motorized Art Frame
  • Media-Mirror
  • 2 Way Mirror



Pop-Up lift


Drop down lift

Folding ceiling lift




Motorized Art Frame



Conventional 2 way mirror

(Photo courtesy of Auton™ Lifts)

  1. The pop-up lift is the oldest solution. It was originally used for larger CRT TV's. The mechanism is usually mounted in a cabinet. When the TV is turned on, it rises up to the top of the cabinet and conceals whatever is behind it.

Photo courtesy of Auton™ Lifts)

The carpentry required to install it properly must be very good. When the unit is retracted in the down position, the false top must be absolutely flush to the surrounding top. This requires very accurate stops on the mechanism and a good woodworker. General costs are about $4-6k, depending on the cabinetry.

This system works well if the concealing cabinet is planned well in advance, and storage space is not at a premium below the unit. It is not well suited to Mantles or free wall surfaces.

2.      The drop-down or pop down lift is essentially the opposite of the pop-up. The mechanism is concealed either in the ceiling or a cabinet soffit.  When the TV is turned on, the mechanism lowers down from the cabinet work or ceiling above and conceals whatever is behind the TV.


(photo courtesy of Auton™ Lifts)


With this system, more extensive carpentry and planning are required. Plasma displays are far heavier than you think. Hence the structural requirements are rigid, Once the unit is lowered, the ceiling or cabinet void above it must be carefully planned so it doesn't look like a hole in the ceiling. Of course a soffit will cover this up. Costs are higher  for the drop-down system because of the carpentry and planning.

This system works well only if it is planned well in advance with an architect and designer.  It can be used above mantles or most anywhere there is adequate room above it (at least 2-4', depending on the mechanism and plasma display size).

  1. The folding ceiling lift requires minimal depth in the ceiling (about 6-8" for a 42" Plasma). The TV literally folds down from the ceiling when being used. Some units will also tilt or swivel for optimum viewing once lowered. The 'gee whiz' factor is high, but so are the costs and planning.

    In my opinion, it is better suited to custom motor homes and large yachts, where space is at a premium.

(Photos courtesy of Auton™ Lifts)

If a relatively small (20" or less) LCD TV or display is used, the smaller fold down mechanism comes into its own in residential use. For example, in the ceiling near the foot of a bed. Needless to say, it is ideal for crew and guest cabins on yachts and for custom motor homes.

  1. The Motorized Art Frame is a 'stationary' solution to concealing the plasma display. When the TV is off, all that is seen is a framed piece of art. When the TV is on, the canvas retracts into the top of the frame and reveals the plasma TV with a wooden frame around it.

Artwork in Down Position

 This type of concealment requires no special cabinetwork if the TV is surface mounted. It is generally mounted to the wall around the wall mounted plasma display.  The plus to this type of unit is the wide variety of artwork, frames, and the ability to use your own artwork or photograph to fit the décor of the room when the TV is turned off. 

It is suitable for either surface or wall mounting or flush mounting.  Recess or flush mounting does require cabinetwork, but it well worth the effort.   For more information on this product, click here.


Artwork being retracted

5, 6.  The Media-Mirror™ is a new product developed and patented by Media Décor, LLC.  in simple terms, it is a mirror when the TV is turned off and a TV when the TV is turned on. Unlike typical 2 way mirrors,  it is what is known as "Beam-Splitter". Instead of a half-silvered coating, it has a high efficiency dielectric coating designed to transmit the TV picture at maximum brightness and reflect like a mirror when the TV is off. Its transmission is about 5 times that of conventional 2 way mirrors. The reflection is approximately the same.  The difference is dramatic (see below) and the cost is significantly higher. 

The benefits of the Media-Mirror™  or a conventional 2 way mirror are relative ease of installation and the fact that when the TV is off, the Mirror will blend in with most any room décor. The difference in performance is significant.

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