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Flat Panel TV Mount Buying Guide

A comprehensive TV mount guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy the right flat panel TV mount buying guide.


Getting Started

If you recently bought a flat panel TV, you have to determine where you are going to put it. Most flat panel (LCD or plasma) TVs come with table stands, but many people want to mount them on the wall. There are many options to consider when choosing a wall mount. We hope that this buyer's guide will give you knowledge to make the right decision. If you need further assistance, feel free to call an Abt sales associate for guidance.

What Mount is Right for My TV?

Most wall mounts are universal and have a specific range of screen sizes that they are recommended to work with. It is very important to choose a mount that is designed to hold your TV's screen size and weight.

We recommend that you purchase a mount that has been UL Rated. Underwriter's Laboratory tests these mounts to hold 4 times the recommended weight load. Purchasing one of these mounts ensures that the mount will hold your TV safely on the wall. All mounts sold at Abt (in-store and online) are UL rated.

Although most mounts are universal, there is no one mount that will hold every TV on the market. It is important to check with the manufacturer of the mount to verify compatibility with your TV. Most manufacturers have a mount finder link on their websites that will allow you quick and easy verification of which mount is right for fitting your TV. The Abt website contains a link to both Sanus and OmniMount's mount finders.

Static or Motion Mounts?

There are different types of wall mounts that offer varying motion options for your TV. Depending on the placement of the TV you may choose to have a flat mount, a tilting mount or an articulation or cantilever mount. Each mount has specific benefits as listed below:
  1. Flat/Fixed
    This type of mount will keep the TV snug against the wall which allows for a clean look from the side of the TV. You will see no wires from the side view and the TV will remain in a fixed position as close to the wall as possible
  2. Flat/Tilt
    This type of mount will keep the TV close to the wall, but allow for up to a 15 degree tilt. This is a great benefit when the TV is to be mounted higher on the wall such as in the case of mounting above a fireplace. The user can tilt the TV down in order to reduce glare or to make the TV easier to see from seating below.
  3. Swing Arms
    This type of mount will hold the TV off the wall in an increased distance from that of the flat or tilt mount. This mount will allow the user to swivel or pan the TV from side to side in order to increase the viewing angle of the TV. This is a beneficial option in a large room that has more than one group of seating that may be utilized in watching the TV
  4. Articulating/Cantilever
    Like the swing arm this type of mount will typically protrude a few inches off the wall. The ability to pull out and pan the TV up to 180 degrees allows the TV to be viewed from 2 different adjoining rooms. Another use for this type of arm would be when installing the TV in an armoire or entertainment cabinet, the user could hide the TV inside when not in use and simply pull it out when it's time to watch TV.

Will the Mount Last?

Different manufacturers make their mounts out of a variety of materials. Steel, aluminum and plastic are all standard building materials utilized by the mount manufacturers. Common sense will tell you that steel will likely hold up the best over time on a larger TV, but you should feel assured that no matter the materials used, if the mount is UL rated for your TV it should be fine.

Do It Yourself Or Have It Installed?

The most important aspect of your flat panel purchase is who will be installing the TV. Most of the wall mounts on the market can be easily installed by 2 relatively handy adults. It is important to read all safety warnings and follow the manufacturer's instructions on which type of screws or bolts to use when installing the TV. It is always a good idea to anchor the TV to studs in the wall, as standard drywall or plaster can weaken over time and cause the TV to fall. If you have any reservations about installing the TV, you should consult a professional installer, like those employed by Abt's Custom Home Theater department. If you'd like to install the TV yourself, check out our handy DIY video for help on How to Wall Mount a TV.

Cables, Wires & What To Do With Them

While installing your TV, you will quickly find a need for wire management on your wall mount. Nothing will ruin the appearance of your install quicker than loose wires hanging down. Some mounts offer channels in the body of the mount where the wires can be run neatly and hidden. While others simply offer clips on the outside of the frame to hold the wires in place. You should check to see if any wire management is included with any mount that you purchase.

The Bottom Line

Once you have determined which mounts will fit the size of your TV you can eliminate all the rest. Then consider the motion option that you think works best for your application and again eliminate the rest. Look at the wire management and ease of install variables to further narrow your choice. Finally, inspect the quality of construction, existence of UL listing and your choice should be complete.

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