February 27, 2007
| by EH Staff
Home theater installers refer to it as the “sweet spot.” It’s the place that offers the best view of the TV (as well as the best-sounding audio), usually a few feet back and directly in front of the screen. The sweet spot is the ideal place to become immersed in a movie, but in most households—where programs are often watched while families are fixing dinner, finishing homework or folding laundry—there’s rarely enough time to actually sit in that one perfect spot for very long. What you need is a way to see the TV from multiple locations.
Do the Twist
By placing your TV on special mounting hardware, you can turn the set so that it faces you at all times. Swivel mounts are especially useful in homes with open floor plans, where one TV might serve several adjoining rooms such as kitchens and great rooms. They can also be helpful in large spaces like master suites, where there may be several comfortable areas from which to kick back and take in a movie. By simply turning the mount with your hand, you can aim the screen toward the kitchen area while you’re having coffee, your favorite chair in the family room or anywhere in between.
Swivel mounts come in a variety of styles to suit any entertainment setup and room design. For example, if your family room or master bedroom TV is tucked inside an armoire or cabinet, it can be placed on a swivel tray that allows you to pull the set out from the cavity and turn it. Some mounts can also elevate the screen to create room for the addition of a VCR or DVD player.
Ideal for an exercise room, garage or bathroom is a swivel that attaches your TV to the wall or ceiling to free up floor space. Many wall and ceiling mounts are designed for industrial and commercial applications, which may look too sterile in your home. Opt for mounts created specifically for home installations. They still may be too contemporary for a Victorian-era room, but with attractive finishes and features like hideaways for cabling, they’ll fit into just about any space. Be sure you know the screen dimensions and weight of your TV before you go out shopping, as mounts vary by the size of the TV they can safely hold.
Last but not least, there are mounts that attach to the underside of cabinets. These are perfect for kitchens, bathrooms and home offices, where counter space is precious. Many of these mounts are designed expressly for flat-screen LCD TVs. The idea is that the TV hangs from the cabinet while you’re watching the set, and when you’re done, it can be flipped up and hidden away.
The claim to fame of large flat-screen plasma and LCD TVs has been the ability to hang them on the wall like a picture. Well, it’s not quite that easy. Flat-screen TVs weigh significantly more than paintings, so a simple nail or screw won’t hold those heavyweights to the wall. Your plasma or LCD set will need the strength of a special wall mount to keep it from crashing to the floor.
There are a couple of mounting options for your flat-screen. For dedicated viewing areas like home theaters, a mount that keeps the screen close to the wall is a good choice. Held nearly flush with the wall, the screen looks great—without taking up any floor or cabinet space.
If the screen will be viewed from many angles, opt for a mount that allows you to pull the TV away from the wall and rotate it from side to side. When you’re finished watching, the set can be pushed back against the wall. This type of mount will reveal the backside of the TV when it’s pulled out, so be sure it is designed to conceal the cabling and mounting hardware so that the setup doesn’t become an eyesore in your kitchen, bathroom or other casual viewing areas.