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Gadget Freak Case #279: Stack Your TVs With a Homemade Entertainment Center

Whether you're a designer, gamer, or just like to have a busy desktop, two monitors (or TVs) is always better than one. Gadget Freak shows you how to build an entertainment center that can hold two 70-inch TVs.

I have done CAD work on dual monitors for decades. I want my eyes to do some far focus, it's helpful to delay worsening nearsightedness. I also found myself watching TV while using the computer. To solve these problems, I built a plywood entertainment center that holds two 70-inch TVs as a dual-monitor setup for my Lenovo laptop.

I designed the entertainment center in TurboCAD 15. Now I can watch TV on the top 4K set, while using the bottom screen as a monitor. I can also watch two TV shows, or use both TVs as a dual-head external monitor setup. I tossed a bed down in front so I can watch and/or work while resting recumbent. Under the laptop shelf is an IQAir HealthPro HEPA filter to keep my allergies at bay. On the right shelf is the audio receiver and a cheap stereo that drives the sub-woofers. Topping those off is an Alpha 5 clock I built from a kit.

I use a wireless keyboard and mouse to operate the laptop, and I run a long USB cable from the laptop to either my flatbed scanner or the SATA 3 dock that holds a 1TB backup SSD. An Oregon Scientific temperature monitor tells me how hot it is outside, in the garage, and in the attic, as well as at the desk.

My Lenovo laptop has VGA and HDMI outputs. So I picked the Sharp 1080 LC-70SQ15U with a VGA input for the bottom TV. Sharp is about the only TV manufacturer that publishes detailed drawings showing the exact dimensions and the location of the VESA mounting holes on the back of its TVs. I wanted a trusted seller, so I found it at B&H Photo for $1,595.00.

I recommend the TV review site, it's designed by engineers for engineers and will help show how well the TV will work as a monitor. The top TV can be a second monitor, but also a broadcast TV and the display for DVDs and BluRays from the laptop. I also watch YouTube videos on the top TV. The top TV is also a Sharp, the 4K LC-70UH30U. I found that one on Amazon for $2,229.99. I waited until the day after Super Bowl and the price went up $300. Who knew?

While I thought I would have problems with the remotes interacting, the 4K set also has a Bluetooth remote that does not affect the bottom TV. You can see a piece of duct tape over the IR sensor on the top TV. I put eight 1-inch steel ball casters on the bottom. This unit glides effortlessly across the floor when I need to move it.

I used a 3.5-inch section of PVC pipe to run the wires in the back. There are a few short ones dangling, but I have not received the longer cables yet. I used Home Depot red oak ¾ plywood. My receiver is a Denon AVR-1609. The main speakers were given to me by a girlfriend that bought a Bose system. I got a pair of Beverage subwoofers at the eFlea, the Silicon Valley electronic flea market. I drive them with a cheap Sony stereo fed off the Denon subwoofer out. I also got some Advent speakers at the eFlea to use as rear speakers. I operate the laptop via a wireless compact Verbatim keyboard, and a Logitech gamer mouse.

Download the TurboCAD drawings and DWG and DXF files here.


Component reference Component/Material Cost Source
Top TV Sharp LC-70UH30U 4K $2,229.99 Amazon/Beach Camera
Bottom TV Sharp LC-70SQ15U 1080 $1,595.00 B&H Photo
Laptop Lenovo IdeaPad Y580, 15.6" 1920x1080,
Blu-ray, i7 3610QM 2.30 GHz,
8 GB, 1 TB, GeForce GTX 660M,
Windows 7 Pro
$1099.99 (8/5/2012) Newegg
Receiver Denon AVR-1609 $229.99
Bass amp Sony STR-DE197 $120.00 eBay
Main Speakers Technics Gift
Subwoofers Beverage $150 (used) Silicon Valley eFlea
Rear Speakers Advent $50 (used) Silicon Valley eFlea
TV mounts Atlantic 63607069 Tilting TV Mount $69.72 Amazon
Plywood ¾”x4'x8' Red Oak Plywood (3 sheets) $149.94 Home Depot
Casters ISB Iguchi US-25 1" Flying Saucer Type Ball Transfer (qty 8) $47.44 Amazon/FYH
Wood screws #6 2-inch, J-Gold, KL81071 1 lb $7.49 Ace Hardware
Bolts & nuts 5/16 x 2” qty 16, plus flatwashers, lockwashers
Ace Hardware
Finish Real Milk Paint Co, Pure Tung Oil - 32 oz $18.00 Amazon/Green Design Center®
Antenna Channel Master CM-4221HD
$55.99 Amazon/a1-Components
Keyboard Verbatim Mini Wireless Slim Keyboard, Black 97472 $37.97 Amazon
Mouse Logitech M-RCR147 MX1100 wireless mouse $30-$169 eBay
VGA cable Tripp Lite 6' $13.13 Allied Stock #: 70227896
HDMI cable Speco Technologies 6' Male-to-Male $4.30 Allied Stock #: 70619954
Optical cable 1 9' Toslink, Tripp Lite $7.54 Allied Stock#:70589771
Optical cable 2 12' Toslink, L-com Connectivity $14.58 Allied Stock #: E4804492
Audio cable Stereo mini jack to dual RCA Optional From TV 2 if desired
Antenna cable Tripp Lite 25' F-connectors $7.54 Allied Stock #: 70589774
Speaker cable Carol Brand / General Cable $58.48 Allied Stock #: 70040446
Clock Alpha 5 kit $145.00 Evil Mad Science
Network cable 100 ft CAT6 snagless/molded patch cord, black $29.97 Allied Stock #: 70665397
Plug strip Tripp Lite TLP74RB, 7 out $13.12 Allied Stock #: 70101553

[All images via Paul Rako]

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