While small CRT or tube type televisions are often mounted to save space, large flat panel TVs are also being mounted in lieu of placing them on a stand or pedestal. The mounted flat panel TV creates a striking, ultra modern look while creating a theater-like experience in the home. Home theater displays used to require proprietary TV wall mounts, but manufacturers have since agreed upon some basic configurations to allow customers to purchase universal TV wall mounts. This can save the consumer money and the predrilled holes in the rear of the television make installation easy.
In general, typical universal TV wall mounts for flat panel displays have basic parts: a wall plate that attaches to the wall or entertainment center, and rails that attach to the back of the TV. The rails are made to utilize predrilled holes in the rear of the display. The rails normally consist of two perpendicular arms with back-facing devices that connect to the wall plate.
Once the rails and plate are installed, the TV can simply be "hung" on the wall plate. It can be moved left or right across the length of the wall plate for centering purposes. If the TV has to be removed, it can be easily lifted off the TV wall mount.
TV wall mounts are made from steel and constructed to hold specific ranges of weight, usually defined by screen size. A basic flat panel wall mount might be rated for 26-42 inch (66-107 cm) displays with a maximum weight of 100 pounds (45 kilograms), while the next type might be for 42-50 inch (107-127 cm)displays with a maximum weight of 150 pounds (68 kg). TV wall mounts designed to hold larger displays are sometimes called "two-stud" mounts. The wall plates are designed to attach to two studs rather than one. If the TV is being mounted to a concrete wall, cement anchors might be used. Lag bolts and other necessary hardware should come with the mounting kit.
For the cleanest look, standard TV wall mounts are made to keep a flat screen display within one inch (25 mm) of the wall. With this type of mount, the television cannot be tilted. It must be hung at the correct height within the prime viewing range and will be viewed from this stationary position.
For those that wish to change the angle, there are tilt TV wall mounts. A tilt style mount is very similar to stationary models, but it holds the display further from the wall. This allows the bottom of the flat panel to be pushed towards the wall, bringing the top forward. Tilt TV wall mounts will have differing degrees of tilt, depending on the model and manufacturer.
Aside from the degree of tilt, another important factor to consider is the design. Some tilt TV wall mounts work on a ratchet principle whereby the tilt is adjusted by simply moving the display by hand to the desired angle. Other tilt mounts include a tool that is required to change the angle. If you will be changing the angle often, the former model will probably be worth the extra expense for its convenience.
Before purchasing a wall mount, note that not all flat panel TVs have flat backs. Some models have a small protruding modular "box" where the television's interfaces are located. If you have this type of television, you will require a tilt TV wall mount. The standard wall mount will not allow for the box, while the tilt holds the display far enough from the wall to accommodate it. In this case the tilt mount serves as a stationary mount.
Some TV wall mounts allow the display to be swung away from the wall on an arm, tilted up or down, or swiveled left and right. This type of mount is called an articulating wall mount and is used mainly with smaller LCD displays. Small CRT televisions can also use articulating arms that come with a platform to hold the television.
While these are the most popular types of TV wall mounts, there are others. For very large rooms, one might opt for a ceiling mount. The ceiling mount consists of a small base with extended downward arm complete with tilt and pitch features. This allows the flat panel TV to be positioned within a furnished area that does not have walls close by.
There are also TV wall mounts that allow a 90-degree swivel. This might come in handy for watching the TV while lying on your side on the couch. If you have a small display, you might want a "flip down" mount for under the kitchen cupboards, or perhaps for the motor home. Some TV wall mounts have "security features" which allow you to padlock the TV to the wall plate to discourage theft.
TV wall mounts range in price from about US$60 to over US$350, and while options make a difference, often basic styles without added functionality or benefit can range just as widely. Make notes of any special features products have that would justify an increase in price as compared to a similar product by a different manufacturer or vendor. As long as the mount is rated for the correct size flat panel and weight, and the specifications are satisfactory, the product should work nicely regardless of price tag.