What You Should Know About Wall Mounting A TV
One of the biggest draws of flat panel TVs is the ability to mount them on the wall, freeing up floor space, and giving the room that high-tech, high-end, and clutter free aesthetic.
Well, other than the half-dozen remote controls on the sofa.
There are options galore when it comes to flat panel wall mounts, and a number of issues you should keep in mind before and after your purchase.
Click through for all the info.
No doubt you have a spot all picked out to put your shiny new flat panel TV.
And I’m going to stop you right there. The #1 place people want to put a flat panel is above the fireplace. There is literally no worse place in your house to put a television.
Maybe the shower. No, they haveÃ‚Â Waterproof TVs that can do that.
Let me crush your dreams for a moment. First and foremost, mounting a TV above a fireplace is going to require you to look up at the TV anytime you want to watch it. You know how everyone hates sitting in the front row of a movie theater. Think of that, every time you watch television. It is steps 1 through 10 of the 10 step manual of stiff and sore necks. Bad idea.
Mounting the TV above your line of sight also means you’re going to be below the main viewing axis. If you buy a plasma or a tilting wall mount (more on this later), then you’ll be fine. If you buy most LCDs, though, the picture quality is going to suffer. Many LCDs look even worse from slightly above or below than they do off axis from the side. Bad idea.
And then there’s the killer. The TV killer. Heat. If you plan on ever using your fireplace, you will be cooking your TV. Not something that electronics typically like. Oh, and the soot. Not good.
Drilling holes in your chimney doesn’t seem like a good idea either, but there are ways around that.
So if you still want to mount your TV above your fireplace, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Even the lightest flat panels are still heavy enough to justify mounting the TV to one (or more) studs. If you aren’t comfortable finding a wall stud, give up now and pay someone to mount the TV for you. Best Buy’s Geek Squad offers installations even if you purchased the equipmentÃ‚Â from Amazon, Pricegrabber or elsewhere.
Each wall mount is different, so follow the instructions carefully to find and mount to studs. I suppose you could cheat and just tack the TV to the drywall. What’s the worst that could happen? I mean other than it crashing to the floor, ripping out half the wall, denting the linoleum and destroying the TV. Yeah, other than that.
What none of the advertising or marketing literature mentions is that even the best, most expensive, flat panel TVs aren’t truly wireless. No matter what, you’re going to have to supply them with power, and most everyone will want to run their cable/satellite box, Blu-ray, PS3 and so on to the TV.
The best option for this is to run the wires through the wall. Again, this can be Do-It-Yourself if you’re that kind of handy. I have a crippling terror of manual labor, so personally I’d pass the buck. Running the wires through the walls could be as simple as feeding the wires up to the attic (or down to the basement) and then back up again near power and sources.
Other times, you’ll need to go across and through some studs. Local codes dictate the maximum hole size that can be drilled in wall studs. Generally speaking, 2-7/8″ holes in 3′ studs is largely frowned upon.
For the rest of us, another option is wire concealers. Not quite the flawless install, as there’s still this piece of plastic running down from the TV, but they’re a lot better than dangling wires, and a lot cheaper than a through-the-wall install.
Depending on what you want to do, there are different types of wall mounts available. Wall mount price goes up with complexity and size. If you have a small TV and just want to stick it to the wall, it will be cheap. If you have a 65-inch and want it to dance, that’s going to be a bit more.
This is the simplest and cheapest type of mount. It’s just a metal bracket that screws into the wall and your TV. Amazon even sells their own universal model for just $28.
Slightly more expensive are low profile fixed mounts for the ultra-thin flat panels.
The thing about fixed mounts is that once it’s up there, it’s up there (until you take it down, of course). You’re not going to be able to swivel it towards the kitchen or away from window glare. If you need to connect another HDMI cable for an additional source, you’ll need to remove the TV to attach a new connecting cable and the additional manpower to hold the TV while the making the connection and to assist in rehanging the TV on the mount.
If your TV looks like crap when you’re off axis (that’s what you get for buying a cheap LCD), you’re out of luck.
There are some models that will tilt the TV down slightly. If you think you’ll need more motion than that, you’ll need…
There are many options here as well, from the more simple tilting/swiveling variety to the full articulation flavor.
Nearly every TV manufacturer is going to offer a wall mount for their TVs. Generally, these are going to be more expensive than the versions from the likes of Omnimount, Pearless, Sanus and so on. A universal mount may be a little more bulky give the nature of its universal design, but once the TV is on the wall, you’re not going to see the mount anyway.
One notable exception is Samsung’s “hockey pucks” truly a marvel in elegant design, these hockey puck-sized devices mount to the studs, and the TV hangs off of them via wire like a picture frame. Sound scary? This is Samsung’s own design for their ultra-thin TVs, so if they say it’s OK…
When it comes down to it, even given the cost and hassle, mounting a TV to the wall is unquestionably cool and totally worth the effort.
For the whole list, check out this link.
By Geoff Morrison
Have a question for the HD Guru?
Copyright Ã‚Â©2010 HD Guru Inc. All rights reserved. HDGURU is a registered trademark.