It’s no doubt that if you’ve purchased, or are considering purchasing a flat-panel Plasma or LCD TV that you’ve thought about mounting it to the wall. Many people start off with placing their Plasma or LCD TV on a stand with the hopes of wall-mounting it later. Why would you want to wall mount your TV? Well, besides the fact that it looks really cool, it’s a huge space saver and really opens up the space in your room. We’ll tell you what you should consider before making your decision, then how to go about it once you decide.
Some things to consider before you make the decision to wall mount your Plasma or LCD TV are:
1. Where will you mount your TV? 2. Where will you place your equipment such as cable or satellite box, AV Receiver, DVD player, Line Conditioner, etc. 3. How will you route the wires from your TV to your equipment? 4. How will you get power to your TV? 5. What type of wall-mount will you use, and what things do you have to consider when mounting it? 6. Can you, and should you do the job yourself?
We’ll go over these issues one at a time, and at the end of this article, you’ll know everything you need to know to make your decision and proceed with your plan.
1) Where will you mount your TV?
The first step is deciding where you will mount your Plasma or LCD TV. Of course, this will depend on the layout of the room, but you should decide a few things before proceeding. You must consider things like where the critical viewing seats will be, if you’d like to be able to watch the TV from different areas in the room or just a central seating area, what type of light do you have in the room, what’s behind the wall where you’d like to mount it, and where the rest of your equipment will be.
Once you determining your viewing area, you can decide which wall you’d like to place the TV on so that everyone can see the TV comfortably. Ideally, the TV shouldn’t be mounted too high as it will be uncomfortable viewing if you have to tilt your head up to watch the TV. You will have to balance this with your room’s aesthetics, and may be willing to make some sacrifices. In many rooms, having a TV mounted on an empty wall at the perfect level might look funny in the room, so most people will mount the TV higher to make it look better on the wall. An ideal height for your TV would be to have the center of the TV at eye level when seated. It might be a good idea to make a cardboard cutout the same size of your TV so that you can visualize it on the wall. If you decided to mount your Plasma or LCD TV higher than that, you should use a tilt-mount. That’s a mounting bracket that allows you to tilt your TV vertically so that you can more comfortably view your TV.
If your viewing area is very wide, or if you’d like to be able to view the TV from another room then you will use an articulating mount. Besides being able to tilt your TV vertically, you can extend your Plasma or LCD TV away from the wall and turn in left or right up to 90 degrees, depending on your mount. These also come in motorized mounts now, so you can do this with the touch of a button. An example of when this would come in handy if you have your TV mounted in your family room and you want to be able to watch your TV in your dining area. You will be able to rotate your TV so that it’s facing an adjacent room so you will have no problem viewing it. Another great reason to use an articulating mount is that if you’re watching TV in a very bright room, you can adjust your TV at different times of the day so that it minimizes the glare.
You should also find out what’s behind the wall you intend to mount your Plasma or LCD TV to, and make sure there are at least two studs to mount to. If you’re mounting if above your fireplace, I recommend having a contractor or installer inspect the area to make sure it’s safe. Most gas fireplaces will cause no problems, but many brick fireplaces will be very difficult to mount your TV too, and provide nowhere to run cables. If you decide that this is where you’re going to mount your TV, please have someone experienced with this take a look before you begin any work.
2) Where will you place your equipment such as cable or satellite box, AV Receiver, DVD player, Line Conditioner, etc.
It’s important to think about where your Plasma or LCD TV will be in relationship to your equipment such as your cable or satellite box, Audio Video Receiver, DVD Player, etc., because you will need to run cables between your TV and your equipment. This will determine how difficult it will be to run wires, whether it’s in the wall or out of the wall, the type and length of cables used, if you will need to add an infrared repeater or radio frequency repeater system for your remote control, and what type of surge protector you will use.
You really have a lot of options when it comes to where you will put your equipment, but generally the farther away from your TV, the more involved it will be. For example, many HDMI cables have a maximum recommended distance that the cable can carry a 1080p signal. Anything longer than that you’ll need to have boosters or converters. For many people, since the purpose of wall mounting your Plasma or LCD TV is to eliminate cluttery, they will place the equipment in a closet or hidden in a cabinet. This will require creative wiring and will also require that you take measures to enhance your remote control, otherwise you may not be able to change channels or control your system. So for practical purposes, it’s generally easier if your equipment is close to where you will mount your TV.
3) How will you route the wires from your TV to your equipment?
Either way, you’ll have to make some connections from your TV to your equipment. If you decide to run the cables out of the wall, I’d recommend using a molding to conceal your wires. These are hollow plastic mouldings that have double-sided tape on the back so they stick to the wall, and you can run cables inside of them to conceal your wires. They can usually be found at your local hardware store or an electrical store. They are also paintable so they will do a pretty good job of concealing your cables. If you are going to place a stand below your TV or close to your TV, these are a good alternative to running your cables in the wall.
If you will run the cables in-wall, there are many things to consider. First of all, you should check with your county to make sure that all of your work is being done according to your county’s regulations, and whether or not a permit is required. This can be an important factor when you want to sell your house, as well as if there is ever an issue where you will need to make a claim with your insurance. Many installers will do things that can cause problems for you down the road. For example, many installers will run your AC power cord in the wall from your TV to either an outlet or a surge protector. This is unsafe and violates building code, and in the event you had a house fire, this might cause big problems getting your insurance to cover things. Also, you should use UL/CL3 rated cables inside the wall. These are rated to be safely ran inside the wall. Many cables that are not UL/CL3 rated can contribute to a fire, so you should not use those.
Also consider the lengths and quality of wire you will require. In most cases, lengths won’t be an issue if everything is in the same room, but if your lengths start to become very long, you should take the time to find out if there’s a maximum recommended length for your cables, especially when you’re talking about 1080p HDMI.
Also, if you’re connecting your equipment with an HDMI Cable, consider some method of securing your cable. This may be anything from using a wire tie to secure your HDMI Cable to the Mount so that it removes stress from your cable and helps keep it from falling out, to using a Locking HDMI Cable or Universal Locking Adapter which attaches to your HDMI Input and locks your HDMI Cable in place, as well as eliminating stress on your HDMI Input.
4) How will you get power to your TV?
If you’re running all of your cables outside of the wall, in most cases you can run the power cable inside of your molding and plug it into an outlet, or we recommend using a quality surge protector or line conditioner. If you will be running your cables inside the wall, I recommend having an electrician install a surge-protected outlet, such as ones made by Monster Cable and Panamax, behind your TV so you can safely plug your TV into an outlet, and at the same time protect your Plasma or LCD TV from damaging surges and electrical spikes. Click here to see blueechoav.com’s selection of in-wall surge protectors. You should also avoid running your cables alongside high-voltage lines, as they can introduce noise into your sound and picture, taking away from your experience.
5) What type of wall-mount will you use, and what things do you have to consider when mounting it?
There are many very high quality brands of mounts available, and we recommend that you take the time to research to find the right mount for your TV. Most mounts are fairly universal, but we recommend confirming that the mount will work for your TV before you purchase it. Most of the better mount manufacturers like Sanus Systems, Chief Manufacturing, Peerless and OmniMount will have mount finders on their websites, which allow you to find the right mount for your model TV. Quality mounts such as mounts from these companies are manufactured using the best materials and engineering, and they provide you with features such as cable management, one touch adjustments, and they offer very flexible mounting options for off-center mounting, etc.
The most common types of mounts available for your Plasma or LCD TV are flat mount, tilt mount, articulation mount and motorized mount. You can also find ceiling mounts, desktop mounts, even a motorized under-bed mount, but we’ll just talk about the basic four here. Flat-mounts are the lowest profile mounts, typically around 1 inch deep from the wall to the back of your TV. These mounts have no options for adjusting your TV, so once your TV is mounted, it cannot be moved from that position. Tilt mounts are usually 1.5 to 2 inches deep, and allow you to adjust your Plasma or LCD vertically, usually up to 10 degrees, up or down. These are great when your TV is mounted higher or lower than the optimal viewing height.
Articulating mounts and motorized mounts allow you to adjust your TV vertically or horizontally. Mounts are available that allow you to turn your Plasma or LCD TV 90 degrees left or right. These mounts are usually very massively built, as they have to support the weight of your TV while it’s extended away from the wall. They also will have the most space between the wall and the TV, usually 4.5 to 6 inches. This can be eliminated by using an in-wall mounting box available from many manufacturers for their mounts. These in-wall recessed boxes allow your TV to sit flat against the wall when fully collapsed, and still allow you full adjustment of your TV for optimal viewing. These mounts are also great for bright rooms as they allow you to adjust the viewing angle of your TV depending on the time of day and how the light is hitting your TV screen, making for much less glare in bright rooms. The motorized mounts allow you the same adjustments, but from your remote control. Pretty soon you’ll never have to get up from your couch again!
I have a few strong recommendations when purchasing an articulating mount. If your TV is on the high side of the recommended range, go for the next mount up. For example, if you have a 50 inch Plasma TV, and you have the option of an articulating mount with a range of 42 to 50 inches, or the next mount up is recommended for 50 to 60 inches, go with the 50 to 60 inch mount option. I’ve seen far too many cases where someone is on the high range of the mounting option, and over time the mount begins to sag and make very loud squeaking noises when adjusted. Even though it works and will support your TV, you will not be happy if your TV starts to sit on your wall and is crooked, or sags when pulled away from the wall. Also, if you’re not sure you’ll use it, but you think you might want the ability to turn your TV, invest in the articulating mount. If you get a flat or tilt mount, and later decide you want to turn it, you’re stuck without that capability. Last recommendation, make sure you allow enough cabling to extend with the TV. Otherwise, your cables will come unplugged every time you pull your TV away from the wall, or they will limit your range, neither of which is a great option.
6) Can you, and should you do the job yourself?
Mounting a TV to the wall is not a difficult job. Running wires in the wall can be more difficult, and can actually be dangerous if you’re dealing with high voltage cables. We recommend that you have your TV professionally installed, especially if you’re running cables in the wall. I’ve seen many installs go wrong by do it yourselfers, and they end up costing much more to fix or replace equipment than if they would have paid a professional to install it.
With that said, I realize that many people will still tackle this themselves. Mounting the TV is an easy process. Usually the mounts come in two parts, the main mounting plate, which attaches to the wall, and the mounting plates which attach to your Plasma or LCD TV. The Plasma or LCD TV with the brackets attached is then usually hung onto the wall plate, and secured with the provided hardware. All of the major mounts I’ve worked with provide very good instructions, but I’ll give a few things to watch out for.
Make sure that you find the center of the stud when attaching the wall plate, and make sure that you span at least two studs for larger Plasma or LCD TVs. When hanging the TV to the wall plate, make sure that you have two people to lift the TV. Be sure you know what’s behind your wall before you start drilling or cutting into your drywall so you don’t accidentally cut into a high voltage line, or gas or water pipe.
If you’re running cables in the wall, you should have an electrician install an outlet behind your Plasma or LCD TV. You should also plan how you will run your cables, and make sure that your cables are the right cables to run in-wall. This should help you plan where you will mount your Plasma TV or LCD TV, as well as exactly what you need to do the job.