With the advent of flat-panel televisions came an innovation that had really never existed before… the possibility of mounting your television set on the wall. Yes, it was possible with one of the big CRT TV’s to put them on the wall, you would see that at hospitals, diners and bars. But with flat-panels, it is possible to mount any television almost completely flat against the wall. Here are some tips for effectively wall mounting a television.

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KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR WEIGHT

Television wall mounts are designed for a specific size and weight of television. Make sure that when you buy your wall mount, that it is the correct rating for your television. Getting a wall mount that is not correctly rated could result in damage to your wall mount, damage to your wall, or, in extreme cases, your television falling off of the wall and breaking. And if this happens, you are out of pocket to repair the damage or replace the television. Insurance will not cover this damage. If you buy a mount that is correctly rated, and still suffer damage, you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer of the mount, but you may not. One thing to bear in mind when buying a mount is that LED’s tend to be lighter than LCD’s, and LCD’s lighter than plasmas. So if you want a larger TV, you may want to consider getting an LED or LCD instead of a plasma, although they are more expensive.

WATCH YOUR VIEWING ANGLE

One thing that not enough people take into account when mounting a television on the wall is viewing angle. In other words, how do you need to sit when you’re watching the television? Several years ago, I was invited to watch a documentary with some friends who had co-produced it at their home. Their television was, like many are, mounted over the fireplace, which put it about seven feet off of the floor. The downside of this is that we all wound up sitting with our necks craned back in order to see the TV. Several times during the program I had to lean my head down and massage my neck to get rid of cramps. Unless you really don’t watch TV, and only have it there as a decoration, you really want to place it at an angle where you can sit comfortably to watch it. A television mounted seven or eight feet off the floor is really only practical if you are always going to be laying down or reclining when you’re watching. Another downside to mounting your television over a fireplace is that the brightness of the fire can detract from your TV watching experience because you’re basically looking right into the fireplace as you’re watching.

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HEAT AND YOUR TELEVISION

One thing that people don’t take into account when mounting a television is that the “L” in LED or LCD stands for “liquid”. Heat+liquid can equal an undesirable outcome. Even plasmas produce a significant amount of heat, and so can be damaged by additional heat. This is one thing to think about when mounting a television over your fireplace. Unless you have a blower mounted in your fireplace to push the heat outward, your fireplace produces a “heat sink” directly over your mantle, circulating and recirculating the heat in those two to three inches. This means that the bottom liquid crystals or diodes in your television are exposed to constant recirculating of heat, which can cause them to age faster than the rest of your screen. The same goes for mounting your television in front of a heating duct or vent. Another thing to watch out for is to make sure that there is no heat blowing behind your television. This is where the cooling vents are on most modern televisions, and heat blowing behind the TV can inhibit this heat expulsion, causing your television to run hot, which can, again, reduce the life of your television.

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There are still a few more things to consider when mounting that TV to the wall. We’ll look at them tomorrow in part 2 of this article.

~Randal Schaffer