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Plummeting flat screen prices offer opportunity

About 10 years ago, I built a media unit for some clients. It was a tansu-style piece with a lot of open shelf area. We were trying to minimize the massive appearance typical of furniture designed to house TV sets. With CRT and rear projection sets being the only available choices and with those sets requiring 24 to 30” depths, we often ended up with some pretty big units. These people had a 27” TV which was small by the current standard but still needing a pretty deep cabinet. By using a lot of open area we were able to dramatically reduce visual mass of this piece. The only enclosed area was for the TV itself and another fairly small area for a couple of drawers.

Flash forward to today. My customers were at a local Costco store where they saw a Toshiba 42" wide screen 1080p HD LVD TV for under $800. The temptation was too great and home they went with a TV that only needed a 6” deep cabinet but which was obviously not going to fit in the opening in the tansu-style piece of furniture sitting in their family room! They really liked that piece and did not want to part with it but there was no where else for the TV to live. So the next move was a call to me to see if there was any way to modify the piece to accommodate their new baby.

I looked at that thing for at least an hour, trying to visualize how it could be done. When I thought I had it figured out, I told them that I could do it but that I was going to need quite a bit of latitude on the price and that while I thought I might be able to do if for "X", I wanted them to be prepared for it to cost twice that much. They agreed and off the piece went to the shop. Five days later, wishing I had prepared them for the possibility if it costing triple my estimate instead of double, I had the piece done and ready to serve as home to their new wide screen. I had not done any of the things I had thought would work when I looked at it in their house. It took double the material I had figured on because much of the existing piece could not be saved. And it took a lot more work. So I was really glad to have that "contingency" built in. But in the end, I did OK on the project and they saved quite a bit over what it would have cost to build a new unit.

Several days after that, we got another call from someone wanting their entertainment center modified to accept the wide screen they just bought. This could turn out to be a trend.


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