Christmas Is Over, Mount Up!
Samsung No-Gap Wall Mount For 2017 QLED TVs
So, you got that big-screen 4K Ultra HDTV you had your eye on, and it’s huge. It dwarfs that credenza you planned to put it on and now you’re considering other placement options.
You can rush out and buy another piece of furniture, at risk of cluttering the living space, or you could do what you really wanted to do in the first place, and mount it on the wall where it can be neatly presented up and out of the way, with hardly an inch of sacrificed floor ot table top space.
Chances are, you also got one of those cool new ultra-thin sets, like a 4K OLED from LG or Sony, or an advanced LED-LCD TV from Samsung, Hisense or TCL that isn’t too much thicker.
The idea behind some of these designs is to give the set a low profile while mounted to the wall, so the TV and its narrow-bezel (frame) around the screen appear as a picture floating in space. In a few cases, special mounts might be available from the TV manufacturers (in particular, LG, Samsung and Sony) to mount the set tightly against the wall while keeping cables neatly hidden within the mount or television cabinetry.
More on thin-screen TV wall mounting after the jump:
Regardless of whether you have an OLED or an LED-LCD TV that you are trying to wall mount, there are a few considerations and precautions to ponder before you break out the measuring tape, stud-finder and drill set.
First, ask yourself, “do I really have the skill set/desire to do this myself?” The task isn’t exactly rocket science, but it’s no trivial project, either. It may be worth a couple of hundred bucks to have a trained/certified professional from someplace like Amazon Home Services, perform the job for you. A pro will be familiar with all the tools and tricks of the trade (including a thorough knowledge of the local building codes) to do the job properly and quickly.
Confident in your DIY abilities? If you feel handy with tools and light carpentry, it shouldn’t be any problem, but in some applications you’ll be cutting holes in sheetrock to snake power and source cables behind the wall out of sight. Remember that if you plan to run cables — particularly those carrying power to the television — they must be certified by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or similarly qualified organization. Check that out before you make the cable purchase.
For many of today’s larger screen sizes, the job may also require a team of two to three people to lift the screen into position on the mount.
As mentioned above, it’s important to become familiar with the local building codes on file at your city or town hall. Any project — particularly those involving the use of supporting framing studs — might have specific building requirements on bolt and stud dimensions to assure an installation doesn’t elevate the risk of structural damage or fire. This is important, because some insurance policies might void a claim if a fire of damage results from an installation performed out of code. If you live in a small town, or have a particularly good local adminstration, a clerk in the building office might have the time and inclination to give you some guidance on the project when you drop by.
It should go without saying, but if you live in a rental unit or a condominum, you’ll want to clear any installation of this kind through the landlord or building association.
Location, Location, Location
As with earlier flat-panel TVs, placing the set on a wall or structure where heat, humidity and cold temperatures might exist is never a good idea – unless you have a TV specially constructed for all-weather use.
Also, mounting a flat-panel set above a fireplace might be a popular concept, but it is not always the best option if you’re planning to keep the set working for any length of time. First and foremost, heat and electronics don’t mix well. There might be ways to do this safely, but here, especially, you’re best off paying a professional to make sure it’s done properly. Drilling holes incorrectly into masonry can make for a very bad day.
If you are mounting a LCD set, you will want to minimize the angle of view to enjoy the best picture, so that means keeping the set low enough on the wall that it sits close to your line of sight. This will ensure the image remains sharp and colorful. If you happen to have snagged one of the last remaining plasma sets or you have an OLED screen, the viewing-angle isn’t as much of an issue because the screens provide very wide off-axis viewing angles, but it’s still a good idea not to mount the TV so high that you risk getting a stiff neck while viewing.
Get The Right Mount For The Job
Recognizing that thin-panel TVs look amazing mounted on walls, TV manufacturers have developed mounts to help the TV maintain the appearance of a framed picture. In some cases, the mounts also provide panel stability for super thin screens to avoid damage from accidental bending or twisting of the screen.
Finding the right bracket to mount the set can also help to minimize off-angle viewing. So, if you need to place an LCD up above line-of-sight it’s wise to invest in a mount that tilts the screen downward, or better yet, has an articulating arm that allows you to position the screen at virtually any angle. Just keep in mind that for the thinnest mounting profiles, a stationary mount is often the best bet, and in several forth-coming very thin screen displays, the manufacturer will sell, or in some cases even include, the mounting bracket with the TV.
Samsung and Sony have paid particular attention to narrowing the gap between the wall and their thin-panel LED-LCD sets. For some models, Sony offers optional brackets that provide cable management to better conceal wires, and enable thin screens to fit tightly against the wall.
Ditto for Samsung, which in 2017 made great strides in cable management with a new “No Gap” mount for certain QLED 4K LED-LCD TVs. The design enables leveling the TV after hanging it, while at the same time providing an almost flush installation, with practically no gap between the wall and the TV set.
In addition, select Q series Samsung sets use an external One Connect box that accepts all source inputs separated from the display panel. Only a thin translucent optical cord connects the source signals from the One Connect box to the display. The optical cable is very hard to see and can be easily covered over or hidden out of sight. But if desired, the cable is fire rated for in-wall installation.
According to Samsung, curved TVs are no different than a traditional flat-screen TVs for wall mounting. The wall mount solutions that serve a flat-panel TV will also support the installation for wall mounting a curved design TV.
Sony recommends a wall bracket for its X930E and X940E 4K UHD LED-LCD TVs that allows the screen to tilt to the left or right and slightly downward, for the best viewing angle. If tilting is not required the bracket compresses to reduce the gap between the wall and TV to about 1.5 inches. Installation requires just four bolts drilled into wall studs. The TV “sits” on two points on the bracket arm where it is held in place by two additional bolts.
Samsung includes wall-mount adapters with some of its TVs, including those that are 85 inches and above, as well as with its curved design TVs. These adapters are designed and engineered with screen size and weight loads in mind and can be used for supporting any Samsung-branded or third-party wall mounts.
Samsung also offers unique “mini-mounts” designed to minimize the gap between the wall and the back of the TV for ultra-thin TV mounting applications.
To assure most televisions match up with the screw holes on most wall mounts, regardless of brand, virtually all mounts and televisions use VESA-standard brackets.
This is particularly handy for mounting some LG 4K OLED TVs, which use VESA standards. But the TV maker recommends using its own mounts that are specially designed for various models.
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For more details, OLED TV owners can visit the www.lg.com web site for a listing of mounts and compatible OLED models. LG’s OLED mounts are tailored for very thin-wall profiles. In the case of the 2017 W7 OLED TVs, a magnet bracket and thin ribbon cable are used to keep the panel literally flush to the wall.
Sony’s A1E 4K OLED TVs offer very thin panels, but have an integrated stand/mount that contains electronics and cannot be removed. The stand enables mounting the OLED screen to a wall, but has a wider gap (almost 4 inches folded).
Each mount, and in some cases each TV, will have instructions with guidelines for the specific model. But in general a flat-panel TV should be mounted across at least two wall studs, which can be located using any number of electronic or magnetic stud finders. It’s always best to avoid Molly bolts, toggle blots and wall anchors especially for larger screen sizes. As we mentioned earlier, Samsung also supplies a few mini-mount options to help when the studs don’t align with placement plans.
Once the studs have been located, measure the height where the TV is to be positioned, locate the corresponding holes in the mount for one stud, then use the bracket and a level to find the right spot to drill holes in the second stud (the typical distance between studs is 16 inches on center).
You’ll also want to figure out what you want to do about wires and out-boarded components like cable boxes, A/V receivers and so forth. Typically if a lot of gear is required, it’s best to set up an A/V cabinet or table directly below the television panel. This will help store and position components, like AV receivers, cable and satellite TV boxes, center channel speakers etc., that can fit inside the furnishing. From there wires can be run up to the set either over or behind the wall, depending on how involved you want to get and how slick you want the installation to look.
Running wires to components in another room is a little trickier, and may require running lines between studs into the ceiling or attic or down into the basement or floorboards.
One solution is to use one of several wireless HDMI distribution systems on the market like the Nyrius Aries Prime digital wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver to connect the TV to an A/V receiver without the need for an HDMI cable. But this will only support up to 1080p Full HD video signals and you’ll still have to figure out a solution for the power cord. Wireless HDMI transmitters don’t always work well when transmitting through walls, so this is a better solution for components in the same room as the TV.
Another option is to run a power cable (along with source connection cables if desired) behind the wall to a special junction receptacle, like the PowerBridge TWO-CK Dual Outlet Recessed In-Wall Cable Management System ($69.95). This provides a box behind the TV for power and source cables and a receptacle on the wall near the floor where a simple three-prong electrical cord can be connected between the junction receptacle and a nearby power outlet. Wah-lah! No need to call the electrician.
An easier option, though less aesthetically pleasing, is wire concealers, like the Kootek 118-inch Cable Management Sleeves ($9.95). These use a piece of white or paintable plastic running down from the TV to cover over the dangling wires. In addition to being easy, they don’t involve cutting any holes in the dry wall, which may be something if you ever plan to sell your house.
If you have a new curved-screen or flat-panel set that didn’t come supplied with its own mounting bracket, you’ll need to get one from a third-party manufacturer there are many styles, options and manufacturers.
Chances are a mount from a third party won’t provide as thin a profile as the mount supplied with an ultra-thin set, but this aftermarket gear will often support a range of features for positioning screen angles after mounting.
If your set didn’t include a mount (and most don’t), you can select from a wide variety of options ranging from fixed-position tilting mounts like the Sanus Premium Series VLT5 ($99.95) to articulating thin-profile mounts like the Sanus Classic MLF13 ($99.95) that lets you pull the screen out for a better look from an adjacent room or low-seating position.
By Greg Tarr
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