Title:
TELEVISION COVERED BY A TAPESTRY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for covering a flat screen television mounted on a wall includes brackets configured to mount to the wall laterally of the television. A reel extends from one side of the television to the other side in front of the television and engages and is supported by the brackets. A tapestry suspends from the reel, and a motor rotates the reel with respect to the brackets. Rotation of the reel in one direction winds the tapestry on the reel to uncover the television, and rotation in the reverse direction unwinds the tapestry to cover the television with the tapestry.



Inventors:
Kane, Andrew (High Point, NC, US)
Application Number:
12/051971
Publication Date:
09/25/2008
Filing Date:
03/20/2008
Assignee:
Tapestries, Ltd.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G5/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RAMSEY, JEREMY C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACCORD MASON PLLC (GREENSBORO, NC, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for covering a flat screen television mounted on a vertical plane comprising brackets configured to mount to the plane laterally of the television; a reel configured to extend from one side of the television to the other side in front of the television and engage and be supported by the brackets as mounted; a tapestry configured to be suspended from the reel; and a motor mounted to rotate the reel with respect to the brackets so that rotation of the reel in one direction winds the tapestry on the reel to uncover the television and rotation in the reverse direction unwinds the tapestry to cover the television with the tapestry.

2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the vertical plane is a wall and the brackets are configured to be surface mounted on the wall and to extend from the wall a sufficient distance to position the reel in front of the television as mounted on the wall.

3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the motor is battery driven.

4. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the motor is driven by household supply electricity.

5. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the motor has a signal receiver to actuate rotation of the motor and further comprising a remote control to wirelessly signal the signal receiver.

6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the reel has a hollow cylindrical end and the motor has a hub that engages inside the hollow cylindrical end.

7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the hollow cylindrical end has a protrusion extending radially inward of the hollow end and the hub positively engages the protrusion.

8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the tapestry has an upper edge and a sleeve extending along the upper edge, and the reel extends through the sleeve.

9. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein the sleeve is adhered to the reel with adhesive.

10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the reel is configured for removable mounting to the brackets.

11. An apparatus for covering a flat screen television mounted on a wall comprising brackets surface mounted on the wall laterally of the television and extending from the wall further than a front face of the television; a reel having a hollow cylindrical end extending between the brackets from one side of the television to the other side in front of the television; a tapestry having an upper edge and a sleeve extending along the upper edge of the tapestry, the reel extending through and engaging the sleeve such that the tapestry is suspended from the reel; a motor having a hub that engages inside the hollow cylindrical end of the reel to rotate the reel with respect to the brackets so that rotation of the reel in one direction winds the tapestry on the reel to uncover the television and rotation in the reverse direction unwinds the tapestry to cover the television with the tapestry; a signal receiver coupled to the motor to actuate rotation of the motor drive; and a remote control to wirelessly signal the signal receiver.

12. A method of installing a flat screen television comprising surface mounting the television on a wall; mounting two brackets to the wall, one bracket being mounted to each side of the television; mounting a motorized reel with an attached tapestry on the brackets to extend from one bracket to the other bracket; and connecting a power supply to the motorized reel.

13. A method as claimed in claim 12 further comprising the step of attaching the tapestry to the reel.

14. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein attaching the tapestry to reel includes passing the reel through a sleeve on the tapestry and adhering the reel to the inside of the sleeve.

15. A method as claimed in claim 12 wherein connecting the power supply includes connecting a household electricity power supply to a motor of the motorized reel.

16. A method as claimed in claim 12 wherein mounting a motorized reel includes mounting a reel having a motor having a remote control.

17. A method of watching television comprising energizing a motor to rotate a reel and wind a deployed tapestry onto the reel and thereby uncover a television screen, and turning on the television to show images on the uncovered screen.

18. A method as claimed in claim 11 wherein energizing includes actuating a remote control to energize the motor.

19. An apparatus for covering a flat screen television mounted on a vertical plane comprising mountings configured to mount to the plane laterally of the television; a reel configured to extend from one side of the television to the other side in front of the television and engage and be supported by the mountings as mounted; a tapestry configured to be suspended from the reel; and a motor mounted to rotate the reel with respect to the mountings so that rotation of the reel in one direction winds the tapestry on the reel to uncover the television and rotation in the reverse direction unwinds the tapestry to cover the television with the tapestry.

20. A method of installing a flat screen television comprising surface mounting the television on a wall; mounting two mountings to the wall, one mounting being mounted to each side of and above the television; mounting a motorized reel with an attached tapestry on the mountings to extend from one mounting to the other mounting; and connecting a power supply to the motorized reel.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional application 60/896,133, filed Mar. 21, 2007. The present invention relates to improvements in decorative installations for use in connection with, in particular, flat panel televisions, although it can be used with other televisions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

New technologies in television manufacture have lead to a new generation of televisions, typically that have screens of fairly extensive breadth, but the television housing has very little depth. As a result, such flat panel screens are often hung on walls of residences or other buildings. While in use, of course, the attention of viewers is drawn to the images on the screen, and thus the screen needs to be visible. However, at other times, a turned-off screen can be an eyesore.

Various attempts have been made to disguise the screens when they are not in use. In fact, a website with the URL ths.gardenweb.com/forms/loads/homeentertain/msg0219112810437.html?25 includes a number of postings between Feb. 25, 2006 and Mar. 7, 2007, in which users comment on various ideas for hiding flat screen televisions. One suggestion is putting a panel or painting in front of the television. Other approaches involve the use of elaborate mechanical devices to hide the screen in furniture or cabinetry, from which the television projects. All of these approaches involve considerable expense and also constrain the actual appearance of the not-in-use television in ways that may not be deemed desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention fulfills one or more of these needs in the art by providing an apparatus for covering a flat screen television mounted on a vertical plane including brackets configured to mount to the plane laterally of the television. A reel is configured to extend from one side of the television to the other side in front of the television and engage and be supported by the brackets as mounted, and a tapestry is configured to be suspended from the reel. A motor is mounted to rotate the reel with respect to the brackets, so that rotation of the reel in one direction winds the tapestry on the reel to uncover the television and rotation in the reverse direction unwinds the tapestry to cover the television with the tapestry. Typically, the vertical plane is a wall and the brackets are configured to be surface mounted on the wall and to extend from the wall a sufficient distance to position the reel in front of the television as mounted on the wall.

The motor may be battery driven or driven by household supply electricity. Preferably, the motor has a wireless signal receiver to actuate rotation of the motor and a remote control is included to wireless signal the signal receiver.

In one embodiment the reel has a hollow cylindrical end, and the motor has a hub that engages inside the hollow cylindrical end. The hollow cylindrical end may have a protrusion extending radially inward of the hollow end that the hub positively engages.

Typically, the tapestry has an upper edge and a sleeve extending along the upper edge, and the reel extends through the sleeve. The sleeve may be adhered to the reel with adhesive. The reel is preferably configured for removable mounting to the brackets.

The invention can also be considered as a method of installing a flat screen television including surface mounting the television on a wall, mounting two brackets to the wall, one bracket being mounted to each side of the television, mounting a motorized reel with an attached tapestry on the brackets to extend from one bracket to the other bracket, and connecting a power supply to the motorized reel.

The method may also include the step of attaching the tapestry to the reel. Attaching the tapestry to reel may include passing the reel through a sleeve on the tapestry and adhering the reel to the inside of the sleeve.

Connecting the power supply may include connecting a household electricity power supply to a motor of the motorized reel. Mounting a motorized reel preferably includes mounting a reel having a motor having a remote control.

The invention can also be considered as a method of watching television including energizing a motor to rotate a reel and wind a deployed tapestry onto the reel and thereby uncover a television screen, and turning on the television to show images on the uncovered screen. Energizing preferably includes actuating a remote control to energize the motor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood by a reading of the Detailed Description of the Examples of the Invention along with a review of the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wall mounted flat screen television covered by a tapestry in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, with part of the tapestry broken away to show the television;

FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of an end of a reel having a tapestry and bracket, according to the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the other end of the reel of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the end shown in FIG. 3, partially disassembled;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a remote control; and

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of the end shown in FIG. 2, assembled and mounted to a wall with a finial attached to the bracket; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of wall mounted flat screen television partially covered by a tapestry in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, with finials attached to brackets on either side of the reel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLES OF THE INVENTION

As used herein, the term “Tapestry” means a piece of fabric that is woven from various colored yarns, portraying a design or scene, and usually hung from a wall as a decorative item. The invention provides tapestries as a desirable decorative item as the cover for a television. Thus, as seen in FIG. 1, a television 8 is mounted on a wall 7. Such a flat panel television 8 is known in the art and can include a mounting bracket (not shown) to the rear of it to assist in affixation to the wall. Typically, wires (not shown) protrude from the rear of the television 8 for connection to electricity, video signals, audio signals and the like, and those can be handled in a conventional fashion as desired, such as passing through the wall or elsewhere.

As seen in FIG. 1, mounted to the wall 7 is a bracket 16. Another bracket 16′ is included at the other end of the tapestry 12, but obscured from view in FIG. 1. Mounted to the two brackets 16 and 16′ is a reel 14. The reel 14 has affixed to it a tapestry 12. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the tapestry 12 is shown partially broken away to make the television 8 visible. In the view of FIG. 1, the tapestry 12 is fully deployed to cover the television and provide the decorative tapestry as the item to be viewed, rather than the turned-off television. When it is desired to watch television, the tapestry 12 can be rolled up on the reel 14 using a motor drive, preferably actuated by remote control. As seen in FIG. 2, the bracket 16 has a releasable engagement to the reel 14 on which the tapestry 12 is mounted.

FIG. 3 shows the other end of the tapestry 12. The tapestry 12 has a sleeve 18 through which reel 14 passes. In a preferred embodiment the reel 14 is made as an aluminum cylindrical tube 20, having adhesive strips 21 along its length. The tube 20 can be inserted into the sleeve 18 and pressed into contact with the adhesive 21 to make a positive engagement between the sleeve and the tube. Other methods of connection between the two can be used, such as pins, staples, or other attachment mechanisms. A suitable aluminum tube 20 may be obtained from Unique Products of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Also visible in FIG. 3 is the motor drive unit 22. In one embodiment, the motor drive 22 is a Somfy Roll Up Wire-Free RTS unit that is available from Somfy Systems, North America Headquarters, 47 Commerce Drive, Cranbury, N.J. 08512. Other motor drive units may be used. The motor drive 22 has power supply cords 26 which can include a connection to a battery source to provide battery power to the motor drive. In the Somfy Roll Up Wire-Free RTS, the power supply is a battery pack providing 12 volts DC power to the motor. To use the Somfy apparatus without the battery supply, a household current can be stepped down with a transformer converted made to a DC current with a rectifier to provide 12 volt DC power. Also seen in FIG. 3 is antenna 24 which picks up signals from a remote control unit (see FIG. 5) to cause actuation of the motor drive unit 22.

FIG. 4 shows the same end of the reel as seen in FIG. 3, with the motor drive unit partially removed. The motor drive unit includes the motor 28 and an affixed hub 30. The hub 30 has longitudinal channels 34. Also visible in FIG. 4 is the hollow inside end of the aluminum tube 20 having internal protrusions 32. The internal protrusions 32 extend into the channels 34 of the hub 30 of the motor drive 28. When the motor drive 28 rotates the hub 30, the frictional engagement of the hub 30 with the inside of the aluminum tube 20 causes rotation of the tube, and this contact is reinforced by the inter-engagement of the protrusions 32 with the channels 34. As the tube or reel 20 rotates in one direction, the attached tapestry winds onto the reel. Rotation in the reverse direction unwinds the tapestry. As seen in FIG. 5, the remote control 40 has an “up” button 42 and a “down” button 44 for transmitting suitable signals to the motor drive unit. The motor drive remote control 40 as seen in FIG. 5 is available as part of the Somfy Roll Up Wire-Free RTF apparatus.

FIG. 6 shows a front perspective view of the reel 14 passed through the sleeve 18 of the tapestry 12 attached to bracket 16 mounted to the wall 7. A finial 38 is attached to the bracket 16 for aesthetic purposes.

FIG. 7 shows a flat screen television 8 mounted on a wall 7 partially covered by a tapestry 12 in accordance with an embodiment of the apparatus 10, with finials 38 attached to brackets 16 on either side of the reel 14.

In some embodiments it may be desirable to include a stiffening rod across the bottom of the tapestry 12 to help maintain its flatness and straightness.

As can be appreciated, to install the apparatus according to the embodiments described above, the flat panel television can be installed on a vertical surface such as a wall. The vertical surface need not be a wall, but could be a recess in the wall to provide a flush mount to the television with respect to the wall. The brackets 16, 16′ are then mounted to the wall to either side of the television. The reel 14 is passed through the sleeve 18 of the tapestry 12 and held in place to provide positive engagement between the reel and the tapestry sleeve. The reel with attached motor drive and tapestry can then be positioned in place in the brackets. Suitable power supply to the motor drive can be engaged.

When the remote control is actuated to turn the reel, the tapestry can be wound or unwound onto the reel, depending on the direction of rotation. As seen in FIG. 1, looking from the left-hand side of the reel shown in FIG. 1, actuation of the motor drive in a counter clockwise direction will reel up the tapestry onto the reel. Actuation in the clockwise direction will then deploy the tapestry in front of the television. To watch television, a user simply turns on the television and raises the tapestry. The tapestry can be lowered when the television viewing is completed and the television is turned off. It is in within the scope of the invention for a single remote control actuation to be used to both turn on the television and lift the tapestry. Also, the audio of the television can be played with the tapestry lowered.

Depending on the depth of the TV, the brackets preferably have a length so the tapestry hangs at least one inch from the front of the TV. On wall mounted TV's, a television wall mount unit attaches to the wall (3″ depth), and the TV (4-4½″ depth) attaches to the television wall mount. In such an installation, the brackets 16, 16′ would be long enough to position the deployed tapestry about 8½ inches from the wall. Other installations will indicate other spacings. The brackets can be made variable, so that the installer can adjust the bracket length to account for the wall mount unit and television depth. Preferably, the motor pulls up on the front side of the reel to raise the tapestry, so the tapestry face will roll on the outside.

Plasma TV's, in particular, make a lot of heat. Since the tapestry will not be up against the front of the TV and the TV's have venting on the bottom or top which is open to the air, special venting is not needed for wall mounts. For recessed mountings, vents should be provided to allow heat to escape.

Certain modifications and improvements will occur to those skilled in the art upon reading the foregoing description. It should be understood that all such modifications and improvements have been omitted for the sake of conciseness and readability, but are properly within the scope of the following claims.