There are some flat screen TV wall mounts which provide much greater flexibility of movement compared to fixed wall brackets - and it is these that we will discuss here.
As part of our look at the best flat screen TV wall mounts, I took an overview of the different types of brackets available for mounting your TV onto a wall - and summarised the differences between them.
However, in this article I will look at articulating mounts and take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this particular variety of bracket.
There are a number of different names given to these wall mounts.
As well as an articulating mount, you may see reference to a tilt and swivel, pivot, full motion or a cantilever TV wall mount.
All these wall brackets are similar in that they allow you to alter the position of your TV screen. The actual type of movement, and the amount, will vary between models. So, you need to be clear as to what you want from your wall mount.
Pull out and retract from the wall? Swing to the sides so you can point the TV at different places in the room? Tilt the TV up or down to avoid reflections or to adjust for a change in your seating position?
You can see an example of an articulating wall mount with the Echogear EGMF1 Articulating TV Wall Mount pictured above. The swing arm will allow you to pull the TV away from the wall, and the bracket that connects to the TV will let you twist the TV left/right and up/down.
The main disadvantage of these mounts, compared to those with more restricted movement, mainly comes down to cost. They will generally be a more expensive option and so you will need to decide how necessary the extra movement is for you.
Also, the smaller articulating wall mounts won't be suitable for the larger TV screens that you can buy these days. A very large TV screen may need a tilting TV wall mount - or a larger fully articulating model.
Remember, the right wall mount for a particular room will vary between different people. What is right for one room may not be suitable for another.
The choice will come down to the location and requirements of your room, rather than being dependant on a particular model or type of TV.
You will see these types of brackets called various names if you spend some time researching this subject.
There isn't a name that is used exclusively for this type of wall mount, however, the different names tend to reflect the type of movement you can get when compared to tilt and flat wall mounts.
The terms swivel and pivot imply that the bracket will allow some side-to-side movement, while tilt suggests that the mount will allow some flexibility up or down.
Like a tilting wall mount, a tilt and swivel mount should allow the TV to be angled up or down. This is can be very useful as it allows your viewing angle to be altered depending on your seating position. Or, if the wall mount has to be installed slightly above or below the ideal height.
However, unlike the tilting mount, it will also allow the TV position to be moved from side to side - like with the VideoSecu ML531BE articulating TV wall mount pictured above. This can be especially useful if you vary the position in the room from which you watch the TV.
For example, you may like to watch the TV while sitting at your table while eating, and then need to change the viewing position when you sit down later to watch a movie.
Some of these brackets will simply pivot from side to side from one fixed joint on the bracket.
Others will have an extending arm which allows you to pull the TV away from the wall for increased viewing flexibility. For this type of wall mount, the TV can also be pushed back against the wall when not in use.
The main takeaway here is that you need to consider which type of movement you want to achieve in your room. Once you know what you want, then it's easier to narrow down which mount does what you need.
For smaller TVs, there are simple articulating wall mounts that will allow for basic movement. However, there is a wide range of articulating mounts to choose from.
The larger fully articulating wall mounts are the top dog in the world of wall brackets.
Full motion articulating brackets are the most expensive type that you can buy, but you will be getting the most versatile type of wall mount that there is.
This type of wall mount will allow the TV to be stored flat against the wall when not in use, but the TV can then be pulled away from the wall and placed in almost any viewing position you could wish for.
You can see an example below with the Echogear EGLF2 Full Motion Articulating TV Wall Mount.
Once away from the wall, it will allow the TV to be turned completely to the left or right, tilted up or down, and in some cases even turned upside down. There will usually be several pivot points to allow multiple viewing positions.
The ability to vary the viewing angle can be extremely helpful in some circumstances - especially if the TV is installed in a large room. In this case, it is more likely that there will be a number of possible viewing positions and therefore it is much better to have a mount which can be turned towards any part of the room.
In smaller rooms, it is much less likely that there will be a need to vary the viewing angle or position very much.
You can find smaller versions for smaller screen sizes, but you can even buy large fully articulating models for big screens of 70-inches and above. These large models are pretty heavy and will often require two or three people to install it.
The larger full motion TV mounting brackets are probably the most the most difficult to install compared to the other types.
You should always think about employing the services of a professional unless you are extremely confident in your DIY abilities.
These brackets can be quite large and heavy, and so must be installed on a suitable wall. You will be fine if you need to attach one to a concrete wall (although you will need the correct drills and fixings). But, for a drywall or plasterboard wall, you must make sure you have suitable wall studs to attach the bracket to.
A wall stud finder can prove very useful in this case.
Another advantage of some articulating mounts is that this movement allows for a TV to be installed in, or near, the corner of a room.
A tilting or fixed wall bracket requires a larger area of flat wall surface for installation. This can restrict the places in a room where you can hang the TV. You can also only have the TV pointing in one direction.
However, with many of these articulating mounts you can store the TV against the wall in the corner of a room, and then pull it out to the correct position when you wish to view it.
NOTE: By the way, another alternative for installing your TV in a corner, is to get a ceiling TV mount. These can allow you to install your TV nearer to the corner of a room. However, you do need to make sure that you have a suitable ceiling joist in the right place. A popular model is the VideoSecu MLCE7-1O2 Ceiling TV Mount.
The installation of cables is much easier with this sort of wall mount due to the ease with which it can be pulled away from the wall. However, this can also create its own problems.
If you are going to be moving the TV in a variety of positions, then you must make sure you have enough cable length to cope with this movement - and it is also more difficult to keep the cabling neat and tidy compared to a flat wall mount.
Some higher-end models are also designed with cable management features, which can make life easier.
Unless installed correctly, you are much more likely to damage cables with this type of mount due to the constant movement which can pull on the connectors and twist the cable.
Therefore, maybe consider securing the cables firmly to the bracket and not allowing the cables to move very much. You'll still need to allow for when you move the screen though.
Articulating flat screen TV wall mounts provide you with the ability to alter the position of your TV.
In many cases, a fixed mount such as a flat or tilting bracket will be fine for most people. However, if you need to change the position of your TV, then you should consider one of these types which will allow some movement of the screen.
Having the ability to move the angle and viewing position of your TV can be really useful. You can avoid reflections and have a better view if you are in a different part of the room.
You just need to decide if you need this movement, and if the extra cost is worth it.
Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has worked as a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment.