Why Mounting Your TV Above The Fireplace Is Never A Good Idea

When setting up your home theatre, it's tempting to mount the TV above your fireplace. This arrangement seems like a great use of space, but it's actually one of the worst things you can do to for both the TV itself, and for your own viewing experience.

Photo by ewen and donabel

It's Bad For The TV

First and foremost, the heat and soot generated by a fireplace can raise the operating temperature of the set, and reduce its usable life span. If the damage to the internals is noticeable, the manufacturer could even refuse warranty service. This won't really matter if you rarely use the fireplace, but it's a non-starter if you do.

It's A Pain In The Neck

Even if you aren't concerned about damaging the TV, you still might damage your neck by staring at it if it's mounted too high. Geoff Morrison at CNET likens it to sitting in the front row of a movie theatre every time you watch TV, and suggests placing the centre of the screen at eye level from your standard sitting position, or even slightly below. Apartment Therapy offers similar advice, recommending that the top of the screen should only be about 15 degrees above your horizontal plane of vision. By either measure, hanging your screen above a fireplace isn't remotely close to an optimal position. In fact, you'd be better off mounting it inside the fireplace.

It Hurts Your Image Quality

If this weren't enough, most LCD and LED-backlit sets still suffer from poor viewing angles, so looking at them from below can spoil your experience. An exhaustive 2008 DisplayMate study found that every LCD TV they tested suffered from noticeable colour shifts at less than 15 degrees, far less than the angle from your couch to the top of a fireplace-mounted screen. LCD technology has improved somewhat in recent years, but unless you have a plasma screen or an expensive IPS display, you'll never get as vibrant a picture from a mantle-mounted TV as you would from one at eye level.

If you spent good money on a new flat panel, you want to put it in a position to shine. So avoid the fireplace and find another wall to mount it lower, or set it on an entertainment centre. Your TV, neck and eyes will thank you for it.

The Home Theater Mistake We Keep Seeing Over and Over Again [Apartment Therapy]


    I was thinking about doing this -- but over a non-active fireplace. Pretty much only/best wall in the lounge room. HAlp!

      If the mantle is high enough hang it bellow. DVD players and whatever else fit inside the fireplace nicely and you can easily cover the the opening to conceal it all etc (while still allowing access) pretty easily.

      Did that and it work great.

    Might want to change the title of the article to "Why mounting your tv above a full-size working fireplace..." as someone has already done this and it looks pretty damn good as well and addressing the issues raised by your article. http://xbmc.org/natethomas/2011/07/16/feature-friday-xbmc-pres-jonathan-marshall/

      Um, considering the person in your link actually totally removed and covered up the original fireplace, I think your point is moot.

    Yeah what bugs me is the height it would be. Waaaaay to high

    My projector puts a picture on the wall above the cabinet holding all the other AV equipment. The diagonal approaches 3 metres, and my neck feels fine.

    I actually built my electronics into my fireplace, and have a screen on the front of the fireplace to make it look like a fire, and the plasma screen just above the fake fireplace. http://www.thecrazyengineer.com/?q=MyHouse/Projects/Fireplace

    Can't think of any fireplace that would be low enough for this to make sense purely from a sensible mounting height.

    Our TV is above the (out of use) fireplace, but we tend to lie on the couch rather than sit when we watch TV anyway.

    There is a motorized above the fireplace TV mount that automatically brings your TV down to a comfortable viewing position. They say it can even hold enormous TV's. The website is Comfortvu.com

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