Thinking about a flat screen TV wall mount can really set the heart racing! It is exciting isn't it?
No? Oh, well maybe it's just me then!
Ok, you're right, so it's not the most thrilling thing in the world of audio visual technology. However, getting the right wall mount (also known as a wall bracket) for your TV can be an important part in getting the best out of that flat panel TV you've spent a small fortune on. So why not take a few minutes to think about what is the right thing for your room?
There are a number of different ways that we can place the TV screen in our room, but one of the most common ways is by hanging it on the wall. After all, being able to put the screen on a wall is one of the great things about buying a flat panel TV.
Therefore, in this article we will look at the different ways we can wall mount an LCD, plasma or LED TV, and try to understand what we need to consider when buying flat screen mounts.
If you don't want to hang your TV on the wall, you could check out our guide to flat screen TV stands and cabinets.
It doesn't matter if you've got an LED, plasma or LCD screen, the vast majority of wall mounts will be suitable for any type of flat panel TV.
However, the first thing that you need to decide is the type of wall bracket that will be most suitable for your room. When you start looking around you will find there are a wide variety of mounts that are available for hanging a flat panel TV.
We can break these flat screen TV mounts into four main categories, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. So let us take a look at the different types and understand the difference between them.
This is the most basic type of TV wall mount, and in many situations it can be all that you need.
It is also commonly referred to as a low profile or fixed mount, and we can see an example of the Sanus MLL11-B1 Low Profile TV Wall Mount pictured here.
This style allows the TV to be placed as close to the wall as possible without sticking out too intrusively into the room, and this can make the most of the thin depth of your TV. Just make sure you allow for enough room to install cables behind the TV.
To use this type of wall bracket, you will need a good-sized wall area which allows the TV to be placed in exactly the right aspect and height for your viewing position.
The Sanus wall mount in this example allows some more flexibility for positioning because it slides from right to left - but not all mounts will do this.
For more information on flat wall mounts, go to the flat panel TV wall mount guide.
This is similar to the flat wall bracket except it allows the screen to tilt up or down while attached to the wall.
The tilting angle is usually around 15 degrees each way, but this can vary between models. As you can see from the picture of the VideoSecu MF608B tilt TV wall mount, it is similar to a flat wall mount apart from the ability to tilt the screen up or down while it is in position on the wall.
The ability to adjust the vertical angle of the screen gives an advantage in a number of situations.
For example, if you need to install the screen higher than is ideal (such as over a fireplace), you can angle the screen down directly towards your viewing position.
You can also adjust the viewing angle slightly if you ever need to move your seating position forwards or backwards a little.
Angling the screen up or down can also allow you to reduce glare from windows and lights (more important for plasma screens which can be more reflective).
You can get a more detailed review in our guide to tilting flat panel TV wall mounts.
There are a wide range of flat screen mounts that allow greater flexibility when it comes to changing the position of the screen.
They can range from a simple pivot mount which allows the screen some movement from left to right, to the slightly more flexible tilt and swivel TV mounts which allow the screen to be pulled away from the wall and angled up or down. Many flat screen TV wall mounting brackets will allow some, or a combination, of these movements.
A bracket of this type can also be called a cantilever mount, a swing-arm wall bracket or an articulating wall mount.
You can see an example here of the VideoSecu ML531BE articulating TV wall mount.
These flat screen TV wall mounts are especially useful in some rooms as it allows a screen to be installed in the corner of a room which is a big disadvantage of the flat and tilt models which require a large flat wall.
The important thing to consider is if you will require this extra movement and ability to alter the position of your screen. You will also have the ability to push the screen back to the wall when it is not in use.
Go to our guide to articulating flat screen TV wall mounts for more detailed information.
These TV wall mounts are the most versatile type that you can buy.
Like the Echogear EGLF1-BK full motion articulating TV wall mount pictured here, they will allow you to move the screen to almost any position you could possibly want - and allows easy day-to-day alterations to the position of the screen.
They will stay against the wall like a standard flat wall bracket (although not quite as close due to the folded extension arms), but will also allow the screen to be pulled right out, turned fully left or right, and tilted up or down.
Some models even allow the screen to be turned completely upside down, which is obviously very useful for those occasions when you need to watch TV while doing a handstand!
These models are generally the most expensive, but if you need the extra movement that they allow then a fully articulating mount may be just right for your room.
You can get more detailed information in our guide to fully articulating TV mounting brackets.
Choosing the right type of TV wall mount is only one thing to consider.
Once you've decided which type of flat panel TV wall mount is right for your room, what else do we need to think about when we are looking to buy a mount for a flat screen television?
Each wall bracket that you see listed will be rated for a particular screen size - or more commonly a range of screen sizes.
Therefore, make sure that you buy the right one for your screen size. So for example, a wall mount may be rated for any screen from 22 inches to 40 inches.
Wall mounts are also designed to support a maximum weight.
It may well be that the screen size specification listed above will also take into account the weight of the screen. However, also double-check if there is a maximum weight listed for the wall mount, and then check to see the weight of your TV.
You really don't want to buy a wall mount that cannot support the weight of your TV or you may find yourself being woken up in the middle of the night by a loud crash as your expensive flat screen TV is smashed to pieces when it falls of the wall. Ooops!
It is advisable to keep on the safe side and buy a mount that can easily support the weight of your TV.
If your TV weighs 40 pounds (18 kg), then don't buy a bracket that supports a maximum weight of 40 pounds, go for a little bit extra and get one that supports 50 or 60 pounds just to be safe.
A common rating you will see is the VESA mounting interface standard - also known as the Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI).
This indicates the distance between the holes on the mount - and it is these holes that need to match with the mounting holes on the back of your flat screen TV. If the holes on the TV don't line up with those on the mount, then you won't be able to attach one to the other.
Common sizes are 75 x 75 mm (VESA 75) and 100 x 100 mm (VESA 100) - although there are many more. So, for example, VESA 75 has four holes laid out in a square 75 mm apart.
The manual for your TV will tell you which hole configurations are on the back of the screen. Therefore just make sure you buy a mount which has mounting holes compatible with your screen.
Many wall brackets will support more than one hole configuration.
You can also buy universal wall mounts which are adjustable to fit any hole configuration that isn't a VESA standard. It is more common on larger screen sizes (say over 42 inches) to have non-standard hole configurations.
There are a wide range of manufacturers of flat screen TV mounts - far too many to list here.
You will find everything from cheap un-branded models to expensive deluxe brands in all shapes, sizes and types.
The brand that you go for will mainly come down to how much you are willing to pay for a wall mount and if you think the more well-known brands offer that extra functionality, design and workmanship that are worth paying a bit extra for.
So, while it is not possible to list all the possible makes of mounts you will find around the world, some brands that are known for their good quality products include:
The main things to think about are:
Although not the most exciting thing you will buy for your home theater setup, buying the right flat screen TV wall mount is an important decision.
It may be that you just need to buy the cheapest flat wall bracket that you can find and that will do the job for you. However, you may also need to think if you need extra movement like swivel and tilting to get the best viewing angle in your room.
The last thing to remember, is to make sure you get a wall mount that fits the back of your TV and will hold the weight of it.
Flat screen TV mounts might not be very sexy, but they are very important.