If you’re after that clean look you get from hoisting your flat panel up onto a wall, or you’re redecorating and want to know where to start, it all begins with selecting and installing the right wall bracket for your TV.
TVs all pretty much come with stands so you can prop them up on a cabinet, table or anywhere else you’d care to watch, but if you’re after a simple visual style, nothing beats wall-mounting your TV. You might find the wall mount is in the box with your TV, or offered as a sales incentive, in which case you’ve only got to concern yourself with safely mounting it to your wall of choice.
But if your TV didn’t come with a wall mount – and most don’t – then you’ll need to purchase one separately before attempting to hoist your TV up onto a nearby vertical surface.
While some manufacturers do make or endorse specific brands, there’s a general standard – VESA – used by most TVs to define the distance between the mounting bracket holes on the back of your TV.
One quick check here, although it’s pretty unusual: if you can’t locate mounting holes on the back of your TV, then it’s not VESA-compliant and most wall brackets won’t easily work with it. However that’s fairly unusual except for some very cheap brands or smaller TV types. If that describes your TV, or you’re not able to wall mount because you’re renting your property, solutions like these Anti-Tip Furniture Straps may be of use.
How do I find out my VESA size?
VESA is an important standard because while flat panel TVs aren’t as heavy as the old CRT TVs they replaced, they’re still substantial, and there’s definite risk involved in improperly wall mounting a TV – not just to the panel but potentially anyone standing nearby if it happens to fall!
There are a couple of simple ways to determine your VESA sizing. Your TV’s product manual will almost certainly list its VESA compatibility somewhere, and these days you can often just look those specifications up online if you did drop the printed manual down the back of the sofa ages ago. If it’s not clear because you’re not 100 per cent sure of your model or online specifications suggest differing VESA compatibility, then you can always sort it out yourself with a little simple measurement.
Find the mounting holes on the back of your panel, and measure left to right and top to bottom in millimetres. You’ll probably end up with a measurement of 200×200, 400×400 or 600×400 depending on the size of your TV. That’s the VESA sizing you’re looking for, although many third-party VESA mounts will come with multiple hole sizings to suit a variety of TV sizes.
What other features should I look for in a wall mount?
It sounds obvious, but it’s quite important to check that the mount you’re going to use is built to take the weight of the TV you’re placing on it. For most new wall mounts this shouldn’t be a huge issue, but if you do try to put a monster 85″ TV onto a tiny wall mount, it could come crashing down on you in the worst possible way.
Once you’ve sorted out your compatibility for a wall mount, the next step is to decide how you want to mount it. The answer to that question might just be “up against the wall, stupid”, and that’s fine, because it’s quite easy to get simple flat wall mounts. But in many cases that’s not actually going to give you the ideal viewing position, because depending on where your light sources are and where you sit, a straight flat TV might not present its best picture unless it’s at an angle relative to your eyes.
That’s where wall mounts with tilt functionality come into play. The key idea here is that you’ll fix your mount to the wall, then affix your TV and find the best fixed angle for your TV relative to your viewing plans and the layout of your room.
Some mounts may only offer vertical tilt options (like this one on Amazon), while others may talk of “full motion” tilting (like this one on Amazon), which is to say that you can also tilt them horizontally if required.
As you can imagine, you don’t have to stop at fixed-to-the-wall motion either, with some mounts (like this one) providing extension capabilities so you can bring a mounted arm forwards, which can be useful if you watch your TV in a room that the sun passes through during the day, because you can more easily adjust to avoid unwanted screen glare.
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