Bottom Line: This attractive and well-built TV stand is expensive, but offers an impressive space-saving design in an elegant package.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Many people are drawn to flat panel TVs for their slim design. Unlike the CRT (“tube”) TVs of old, modern LCD and plasma TVs are only a few inches deep. This has made them attractive targets for wall mounting. Unfortunately, wall mounting isn’t always practical. External walls (walls facing the outside world) can generally not be used). Cables may have to be run through the wall, which can be logistically challenging. Many people are apprehensive about any permanent installation in their hall, particularly if they may change the position of the TV in the future.
Traditionally AV stands offer space for components as well as the TV, but fail to offer the sleek look of wall mounting.
That’s where the BDI Vista 9960 comes in. It’s a sleek pedestal stand that has two strong glass shelves for components and a sturdy metal mount for flat panels up to 50 or so inches in size. The first thing you will notice about the Vista 9960 is the weight. Packed in its box, it weight about 125 pounds (that’s without the TV). You have to assemble it yourself, but the instructions are fairly clear.
In addition to its striking looks, BDI clearly put a great deal of effort into ensuring your equipment is kept safe. The stand feels quite durable, and is nearly completely made of metal. The TV mount is firm, though appeared to mount my Panasonic plasma with a slight downward angle (which ended up being acceptable given the mount height was slightly higher than eye level). Mounting bars are attached to your TV via the included bolts, then the whole contraption is lifted onto the stand. If you have a heavy TV, you will need at least 2 people to safely mount the TV, and a third person to guide the process is helpful. Mounting height is adjustable.
In addition to the TV mount itself, the stand has two glass shelves on which to place AV equipment. Though these stands are typically pictured with only a small component on each shelf, the shelves are actually quite robust. BDI reports they can hold about 50 lbs, which is more than most will need (my fairly heavy Sony receiver is half that). An additional shelf can be optionally purchased, and the shelf heights are adjustable. A shelf-less version of the Vista (the 9950) is also sold, though I think the 9960 looks a bit nicer.
What really makes the Vista stand out is how well designed it is. The main body of the stand is mostly hollow, allowing the stand to easily hide cables that run between components. This makes for a cleaner look overall and avoids the rats’ nest of cables that can typically be seen in the back of AV stands.
The Vista 9960 is not cheap. Sites like Crutchfield sell it for $799 in black and $869 in silver. Some searching will get you a slight discount. However, I have yet to see a TV stand that so cleanly takes advantage of the slim form factor of flat panel TVs and maintains a high quality of craftsmanship. Unless you have an abundance of equipment that won’t fit on the Vista’s shelves, don’t pass up this stylish stand.