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What Size TV Will Fit in My Entertainment Center?

One of the most often asked questions when shopping for entertainment centers is whether a certain size flat screen television will fit in the TV cavity. Despite the seemingly complicated nature of this question, it’s also one of the easiest entertainment center related questions to answer.

Remember: A 42" Television is Not 42 Inches Wide

The important thing to remember here is that the number on the television marketing and packaging doesn’t indicate the actual width or height of the TV. This number is a diagonal measurement across the screen from corner to corner, and by itself is not helpful in knowing what size entertainment center is needed.

Not All Flat Screens Are Created Equal

Not only is a 60" TV not going to measure 60 inches in width, but different 60 inch televisions will actually have different measurements.

Several considerations can affect the size of the television (and therefore the size of the TV stand, console or entertainment center needed) including the size of the bezel (frame around the screen), location of the controls and the possibility of attached speakers.

For this reason, there is no formula that will reliably figure out the actual width and height needed for a certain television to fit in a certain entertainment center or other piece of TV furniture.

Simple Solution: Measure the Television

The most reliable way to ensure you buy TV furniture with plenty of space for your television is to measure it the old fashioned way.

If this is impossible (perhaps your television hasn’t arrived yet, or is being stored someplace that is inaccessible), most flat screen manufacturers have the specifications for each television model available online. If you have to search online, be careful to use the actual TV dimensions, rather than the shipping or packaging dimensions that are also listed by some retailers.

Once you have the actual width and height, it's a good idea to allow for about 2 inches of extra space in each direction. In addition to accommodating small measurement discrepancies, this space between the television and the furniture TV cavity allows proper ventilation and makes it easier to install the television and cables.