“Studiotech's U-22T TV stand offers extreme versatility with world-class design and quality”
- Beautiful design and wood finish; simple and easy to install; quality parts
- Accessories can be expensive; fan kit is not heat sensitive
If you are like a lot of people, you probably spend a lot of money on your home theater equipment and then settle for a low budget, “as long as it looks good” TV stand. Well, now there’s good reason to spend that extra cash on a high quality enclosure, and StudioTech proves their point with the U-22T plasma TV stand.
Based in Southern California, StudioTech has been around since 1989 and sells their products through a large number of audio and video stores in addition to their own Web site. We got a chance to review their highly popular Ultra U-22T plasma TV stand, which is available in three different wood veneers and priced from $1,099.
Design and Features
The U-22T is one of StudioTech’s most versatile TV stands and comes available in three different wood veneers: Rosewood, Black Ash and Cherry. For our review we chose the popular Rosewood veneer. The wood veneer encompasses the side panels in addition to the doors and is enhanced with black metal vents in the front and sides of the unit. The metal vents not only provide much needed airflow to the system, but allow you to hide your home theater components inside the U-22T without hindering remote control reception. This combination of wood and metal helps to give the U-22T a very clean and uncluttered look in your home theater room. There are also three back panels which provide ventilation and cable management. All of the internal shelves are height adjustable, and the front doors can be mounted to open from either the left or right side. The stand measures a total of 66.75″ x 24″ (W x D). Each shelf is 20.75″ x 20.5″ (W x D)
StudioTech offers a number of accessories for the U-22T, which includes media storage drawers, a rail mount system, heavy duty casters, a fan system and more. For our review we also received the rail mount system and accessory fans. The rail kit costs $19 for a set of two seven inch rails, and the fan kit costs $99 dollars for a dual fan kit (or $89 dollars for a single fan kit).
All three of the front doors use a European hinge design, which helps to conceal the mechanism when the doors are shut. The back panels click into a pre-cut slot and help to conceal the back of your components and the mess of cables.
1. European styled hinges 2. Door handles 3. Side vents
Our review unit came shipped in three separate packages: one large box which contains the top and bottom base pieces, another that contains the shelves and rear back panels and the last box which contains the side wood veneer and door pieces.
Depending on where you live, StudioTech uses a number of shipping companies to deliver their products to your home. For our unit, StudioTech used Bullet Freight to ship their review unit and we had some problems with them. These problems included failed driver delivery promises and being told they were too busy to make it to our area. We finally received the stand three business days after promised, being told by the driver they would not bring it inside.
StudioTech gives the U-22T a lifetime warranty from defective materials and workmanship when used in normal applications. As long as you deliver it to them, they will cover the parts and labor.
Image Courtesy of StudioTech
Setup and Use
We opened the packaging and laid the parts out onto the floor so we could get to work. We noticed on one of the pieces that there was discoloration that looked like water might have damaged the wood. Thankfully, the wood was not warped or damaged, and the spot was easily removed with cleaner.
As you can imagine, we were a little put off with having to install this ourselves. Most of the time when you get furniture that must be put together; you are challenged with an incomplete manual or missing part. To our surprise however, the U-22T manual turned out to be incredibly easy to read and follow. The English is very well written and descriptive and the illustrations proved to be very detailed. You can download a copy of the manual directly from the company’s Web site if it is missing or lost. Each component is labeled and matches the illustrations, and the screws and hardware came separated into little packets so you know exactly what to use.
The water spot was easily removed and did not damage the wood
Sometimes, even with expensive furniture, you are forced to use predrilled holes that are into the wood pieces in addition to cheap wooden pegs, glue and the like. StudioTech uses none of that in their furniture. Instead, we found actual metal female plugs already predrilled into the wood so that the screws go into the metal hole rather than directly into the wood itself. As you can tell from our pictures, there are actually very few parts that you must use and because everything is predrilled with the locking cams already embedded, you do not have to worry about stripping the screws or ruining the wood.
The shelves use rubber-tipped pins to rest on so you do not need to worry about scratching the wood pieces. The European hinges come in pairs that attach to each door part, and then snap together. Everything lined up perfectly and the doors closed flush. StudioTech puts a strip of soft synthetic nylon Velcro-like material on the top of the door to prevent it from scratching the top base of the unit while closed. Of course, if you are perfect and can put the unit together without any mistakes, then theoretically you can do without the strip. The middle door has a black metal tab that hangs from the top rather than a handle like the two side doors. The tab allows you to open the door while keeping the piece out of view. We recommend that you put a component in there that you do not need to constantly fiddle with, like the media box for your television or storage for your DVDs or remote controls.
StudioTech ships the U-22T with two different feet to choose from: metal carpet spikes or vinyl glide feet. You can also buy rolling casters for a little extra money. We chose the vinyl glide feet to use so we could easily move the unit around during the installation process.
We also received the rail system and fan kit to test. The rail system takes the place of a shelf and allows you to mount accessories like the fan kit or media drawers. The fan kit is a good idea and consists of two 120mm large fans. Once the fans are plugged in, they are relatively quiet during normal operation. We would have liked to have seen fans that ran using a heat sensor so that they only come on when needed, rather than running constantly. One option depending on your receiver is to plug the fans directly into your receiver so that they are only running when your system is actually turned on.
We did not install the rail kit completely on our unit because we wanted to use the shelves for our components. So, if you look at our picture, you will see the fan kit on one side of the unit, rather than directly in the middle. You also have the option to mount the fans in the front or the back of the U-22T, depending on your preference.
Studiotech’s U-22T TV stand offers extreme versatility with world-class design and quality. We are very impressed with how much thought the company has put into their products. We found the manual and instructions to be very easy to read and understand. Installation is a breeze and all of the tools you need come included with the product. We like that you can choose a number of options to make the U-22T truly unique to your tastes, such as the choice of wood or accessories like the media storage drawers and exhaust fans.
The only problem we had with the whole experience was the choice of the shipping company Studiotech used to send us the stand. We recommended they reevaluate who they use. In any case, the U-22T is a wonderful product we would not hesitate to recommend.
- Beautiful design and wood finish
- Simple installation
- Quality components
- Manual is easy to read and understand
- Strong warranty
- We received a bad shipping experience
- Fan kit is not heat sensitive (runs at one speed always)
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