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Video: Wall-mounting Your Flat-panel TV — The Basics

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If you're thinking of wall-mounting your plasma or LCD TV, this video is for you. We'll discuss the key things to consider before you get started, and show you the basic steps involved in wall-mounting a flat-panel set.

Amanda: Hi, I'm Amanda, and this is J, Crutchfield's photographer. We're here today because recently we wall mounted his flat panel TV and we recorded the process to show you what's involved. So when you finish watching this video, you'll know what's involved in planning your flat panel installation, as well as actually hanging the TV on the wall and routing wire to your TV. Now, J., how did you decide where you wanted to mount your flat panel TV?

J: Well, this was where the old TV sat and it's across from the sofa and it's against an interior wall, so it was easy to mount. All we had to do was decide where on the wall we wanted to mount it.

Amanda: Right, and I see here that it's right about at seated eye level, which is important for a couple of reasons. First of all to avoid neck strain. If your TV is mounted to high on the wall, you'll end up sort of leaning back and craning your neck to try to look up. Also, most TVs are really viewed best head on for the best picture. Now, another thing to consider is room lighting, ambient lighting. Was that a problem for you at all?

J: No, actually not. The windows on either side on the sofa face north, so we don't get any direct sunlight hitting the screen. So, we've had no problem.

Amanda: Excellent. And also since you have an LCD TV, with an anti-reflective screen, light is less of a problem. In cases where light might be a problem, we just recommend that you just dim your lights at night or draw your shades during the day. And, I guess my last question is, how did you decide which wall mount to use?

J: We have it flat against the wall, but it is a tilting mount, and it just gives you another half-inch for running wire behind a monitor. So, that's why we chose that one.

Amanda: Great.

Flat-panel TV installation

Amanda: Once you've done your basic preparation, a flat panel TV installation breaks down into six steps. One, deciding where you're going to route your wire. Two, attaching the mount to the back of your TV. Three, measuring for your TV. Four, attaching the mount to the wall. Five, routing the wires from your components to your TV. And the last step is actually hanging your TV on the wall.

Now, we're going to go back a couple weeks to the day that I was here with some other Crutchfield people to help J wall mount his flat panel TV. Since a lot of the tasks involved in wall mounting a flat panel TV are best performed with two people, we enlisted the help of DA and Josh. They've both installed hundreds of flat panel TVs, so they were well suited to the task.

Routing your wire

Amanda: You have a couple different options for wiring your flat panel TV once it's on your wall. The easiest is just to run the wires on the outside of the wall, just simply tacking them to the wall to keep them in place or covering them up with wire tracks. The other option is to run the cables inside the wall. Now, if you do this option, running the AV cable inside the wall generally isn't a problem. It's long enough and if you get one that's rated for in wall use, then you're safe. The TV's power cord is different. You might be tempted to run that just right inside the wall with the AV cable, but we strongly suggest that you don't. What you'll want to do instead is hire a licensed electrician to have them install an outlet behind your TV, like J did here. He chose to use the Monster In-Wall Power Center because in addition to providing a safe outlet right behind the TV, it also offers power protection and line conditioning.

Attaching the mount to the wall

Amanda: The TV portion of the mount generally comes in two pieces. Use the same screw holes for both pieces, so that they're lined up evenly. Also, if you have a tilting wall mount, check to make sure you still have full range of motion and that none of the screws are in the way. First, we located the studs behind J's wall. You want to use a high quality stud finder to find the studs in your wall. This one cost a little bit extra, but we think it's worth it, because it actually finds the exact center of the stud, so you know your TV is securely mounted.

Measuring for your TV

Amanda: Next, we needed to figure out where on the wall we should attach the wall portion of the mount. We started by temporarily attaching it to the back of the TV. And using a level to figure out how far it was from the top of the set. Then, we measured the height of the TV. We combined those two measurements to figure out where the wall portion should be mounted, to keep J's TV at seated eye level.

Attaching the mount & running cables

Amanda: Next, it was time to attach J's mount to the wall. We lined it up with our previous marks and checked to make sure it was level. Then, using the included hardware, we drilled the screws directly into the center of the stud. Before we tightened the screws completely, we checked again to make sure it was still level. Using the same high quality stud finder, we checked for power lines, pipes and other obstructions inside the wall. Then, DA and Josh pulled the HDMI cables through the wall. After that, they dressed the holes with wall plates for a neat, clean look.

Hanging the TV on the wall

Amanda: Finally, it was time to hang J's TV on the wall. This is almost always a two person job, so ask a helper to assist you in lifting the TV and lining it up with the mounted bracket. Have them hold it steady, while you secure the TV to the wall. Next, plug in all your AV and power cables. This is where J's tilt bracket came in really handy, because it gave us plenty of room to work. Finally, check that your TV is level one more time and make any final adjustments.

So, as you can see, mounting a flat-panel TV takes time and care. But if you're comfortable with common household tasks like mounting shelving, and with tools like a level, stud finder and a drill, then it might be a good project for you. You can find more detailed information at crutchfield.com/wallmount and more information on in-wall wiring at crutchfield.com/inwallwiring. So, thank you J for letting us film your installation. It looks great.

J: You're welcome.

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