Mounting Flat Panel TVs

Anyone wall mount a flat panel TV? I’m considering replacing our functional but oh-so-passe tube TV with a decent LCD or Plasma, largely because we finally got HD service on our digital cable (they threw it in free) and now we have no more component inputs available for the Xbox or any other gear. So I’m thinking, hey, maybe a good time to get a new TV with HDMI (one for the cable, one for the Xbox, one for a Blue-Ray player maybe, as we watch a fair number of movies) and component inputs for older stuff, enough to go around.

Unfortunately, we have a very nice but very limiting piece of AV furniture, nice wood thing with lots of knick knack space but only a very limiting square space for a traditional 4:3 TV that barely holds our 32" Sony XBR tube HD TV, all 150lbs of it. So, getting a new TV isn’t as simple as hitting up the local Superstore or Costco and slapping it in–we have to get an entire new installation, inlcuding furniture to hold all the AV and game crap, in a way that won’t look batchelor pad/dorm room esque.

I’m thinking wall mounting might be nice, accompanied by one of those low-sitting AV cases. Alternatively, maybe one of those combo stands/shelf units with the TV mount that projects up from the furniture. I like wall mounting because of the dogs, who are 1) large (or will be, when the younger one grows up), and 2) klutzes. I’m worried about the cabling, which my wife is already not thrilled with in our current installation, and the cost of having this professionally done (no way in hell I’m mounting the sucker myself). And I have no idea how well a flat panel TV will perform in the room, which has the main seating area about eight feet away, and the where the wall on which the TV will hang is flanked by a large window about ten feet from it on one side and the porch sliding glass door about twelve feet the other way–in other words, right between two potential glare sources. And I haven’t even gotten into how to do the audio–right now our speakers sit on the TV stand mostly, so I’d have to find places for them too.

I also would love to hear people’s impressions of the differences between plasma and LCD TVs for this sort of installation.

Never wall mounted a TV, but I know that plasmas tend to be significantly heavier than their LCD counterparts, so I imagine LCDs would be easier to manage.

Good to know. The wall bracket thingies I’m looking at all claim to be able to hang sheets of lead or uranium or whatnot with no ill effects, but I do wonder about my sheetrock/studs in the wall itself.

That’s correct, as a rule. However, size will be a bigger decider for making your choice (Plasma tends to be cheaper for larger TVs and is just as good as LCD now, IMO). You’ll need to connect to studs, yes. Use your studfinder to figure out the width and placement and such before deciding.

I also recommend getting a professional to do it, if you can afford it. There are lots of obvious horror stories from DIY jobs.

I wall mounted a 50" plasma, and did in-wall cabling. Did it myself, with help from my dad. It really isn’t that hard, although the cost of a screw-up is obviously very high.

I wouldn’t worry too much about weight from a plasma. My 50" is about 90 pounds, which was pretty easy for us to lift into position. Compared to taking my old 34" Philips wide screen CRT off the stand I used to have, it was an absolute breeze.

And by the time you screw the 4 3"-4" lag bolts into some studs, your TV isn’t going anywhere if you’ve got a decent mount. So I wouldn’t worry about the TV technology from a mounting perspective.

In-wall cabling is pretty easy as long as you’re running straight down. If you’re going horizontally across multiple studs it gets trickier. This is especially true if you don’t have access to a sub-floor or basement. It can be done though.

It really does make our room feel much larger, and it looks pretty slick. If you’re worried about increased viewing distance, just use it as an excuse to buy a larger TV. I say go for it.

I had no trouble wall mounting a 52" LCD earlier this year. I bought one of the $40 ones from Monoprice and it works great. Very solid and I know it’s not going anywhere. Since I’m extra paranoid about finding studs, after I located the spots with a studfinder, I used a small drill bit to drill a series of small holes to find the exact edges.

For in-wall cabling: it is against code to run extension cords through your wall, so you either need to install a new power outlet behind your TV, or get something like this. This acts as an in wall extension because you connect the two plates with standard in-wall power wires. You then plug the bottom piece into a real outlet. Works great, and has a spot to run AV cables too.

How did you drop the cabling out of the wall at the base (where your AV equipment plugs in, presumably)? Single HDMI /Cat5e plates using a AV Receiver to switch?

For my setup, I have a receiver that doesn’t have HDMI switching, but does have component (and video upconversion to component) switching. So I had to run 2 HDMI cables (TivoHD, PS3), a VGA cable (Xbox 360), and a set of component cables (receiver) through the wiring channel that is shown in that product I linked above. It’s just a hole in the wall for running cords essentially.

For speakers, I installed a banana-plug outlet behind my center channel and 2 front speakers (all wall mounted). I used this plate as an end point for the in wall speaker wire runs. The center channel was a straight drop (above my TV). The two fronts I dropped to the floor and ran along the space at the base of the drywall (behind the baseboard) and over to the plate. While that plate has spots for the rear channels & sub, I haven’t done this yet as it will be difficult (cable pulling across the ceiling).

The cool part about doing all of this work is that my 3 front speakers & TV all have no wires showing at all. Looks very nice.

I basically did the same thing as Vesper. I used a very similar product for the power, and a plate that is different then the one he used for the tv inputs, but is still just a hole in the wall.

Since I don’t plan on ever redoing it, I put in as many cables as I could fit in my setup (I did have to traverse a couple of studs horizontally, meaning I had to cut a channel in them.) I have as many HDMI and component cables as my TV will take (4 and 2 respectively), one speaker wire for the center channel, and one either composite or S-video (I don’t remember which).

Because of the way my room is setup, I haven’t done in-wall speaker wiring for any of the other speakers. Only one speaker wire is visible. I bought some paintable conduit to hide that, but haven’t gotten around to it (and it’s been a year now. I really need to get on that).

After talking to some folks at the store I’m likely to buy my gear from, I think wall mounting is the way to go. They do reasonably priced installations, and I’ve had very good luck with these folks before for a variety of services so I’m pretty confident they’ll do a better job than I could. Wall brackets run from $100 to $300 or so depending on features; they had one with a motorized remote-controlled tilt feature that was probably overkill but was really neat. I think I need tilt, but probably not swivel. The furniture runs the gamut from under $200 to over $500, as usual.

I have to decide on the size and type of TV, though. I’m thinking 40" is fine for my living room, but the 46" models look really sexy. But the price jump is less sexy. I’m leaning towards the Sony models, probably the XBR line; definitely 120 or 240hz but I’m not sure whether the jump to the latter is worth it. Any ideas would be appreciated.

I’d only add that what I’ve seen and heard from some people is that plasmas don’t really handle light as well as LCDs. It’s not so much about glare (which is impacted by the surface material over the screen) as it is by the degree to which natural light causes the picture to seem dimmer then you’d prefer. I’d at least look into that issue before buying a plasma, though I’ve no doubt someone will come along and say I don’t know what I’m talking about. :-)

The best way to mount an LCD/Plasma TV is to take a long screw and drill carefully through the screen into the wall or bracket behind.

Indeed! I found many posts on this forum about doing just that, and I have a full set of drill bits waiting to go!

An LCD is probably better for a bright, sunshine filled room. Personally I would board up the windows and get a Panasonic Plasma.

My 42" Panasonic plasma is very sexy, and I’m a very happy consumer with it. My room isn’t as bright as yours sounds like it is, though, so I don’t know how that’ll affect it, but it’s a good TV.

Well, as I’ve had to disassemble half my basement to replace the dryer vent tubing (a messy process considering the original contractors cheaped out with white vinal accordion tubing which filled up with lint which then got soaked via humidity and condensation, which in turn trashed some ceiling tiles and soaked a bunc of stuff–oy vey) my TV plans are on hold. Which makes me a sad panda as we have our tax free weekend coming up, damn it.

Never mind, moved to another thread.