Since their unveiling at the 1939 World’s Fair, TVs have gone from technological marvels to virtual necessities for most Americans. In many homes, the TV is the central gathering place for meals, entertainment, and leisure time in general. As enriching as television can be, it’s no secret that TVs in the home can have a deleterious effect by encouraging some of our worst habits. Hiding your TV with a mirror television—a TV that is simply a mirror when not in use—can help mitigate the negative impacts of having TVs in your home.

Why Hide Your TV?

Why Hide TV

People love television—perhaps a bit too much. According to the American Time Use Survey by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American watches nearly three hours of TV a day. That’s nearly three hours every day that are not spent doing other productive things like spending quality time with loved ones, exercising, completing home improvement projects—literally everything else. The ever-present nature of TV programming and the central placement of TVs in homes make it a default activity. Plus, watching TV is an easy alternative to other activities that are less pleasant; TVs are enablers. The negative effects of having a TV in your bedroom are well documented, but even when appropriately placed, they can still exert a negative influence. As a society, it’s safe to say our relationships with our TVs may be a little on the unhealthy side.

OK, But Why TV Mirrors?

One of the ideas behind TV mirrors is to allow people to reclaim their living spaces and turn TV rooms back into family rooms. With the TV as a less-central element, an opportunity exists to emphasize other uses for the space. Not to oversimplify, but the idea is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

Mirror televisions are the realization of what was formerly only a science fiction fantasy, allowing you to incorporate TVs into unconventional parts of the home. For example, you might watch the weather forecast in your bathroom mirror while brushing your teeth or showering, or perhaps you could watch the local news on the countertop of your kitchen island while preparing dinner. By bringing TVs into those spaces, it allows people to be more productive, making TV viewing a secondary activity rather than having a centrally positioned TV that almost begs for you to sit down in front of it.

In terms of interior design, TVs have traditionally been more of an obstacle than an asset—a large black screen can be difficult to incorporate into an interesting and appealing design. This is less true today since TVs have undergone a dramatic shift in form factor since the turn of the millennium. Long gone are the days of heavy console TVs with massive footprints. TVs continue to get thinner by the day, making them less obtrusive and easier to incorporate into your living space. Mirror TVs take this evolution to the next level—completely disguising the presence of your TV. Rather than disrupt the design of a room, a TV can now seamlessly blend into it, allowing you to give your home a more elegant design.

Whether you buy or build one yourself, a mirror TV is a way to use technology to reclaim your living space by changing the way you interact with both it and the people with whom you share it.

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Sources: Apartment Therapy; Instructables.