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Virtually all flat-panel LCD and plasma TVs include a pedestal stand. This works great if you’re placing your TV on a table or cabinet. But one of the things that makes flat-panel TVs so appealing is their shallow depth and reasonably light weight, which allow them to be mounted on a wall. This creates a very clean, space-efficient look, and when the TV isn’t on, it’s barely noticeable.

Most TVs don’t come with their own mounting hardware, so you’ll have to purchase it separately. This article will explain the differences between various types of wall mounts, and recommend the right type for various installations.

Wall-mount types

TV wall-mounts range from basic fixed-mount designs to those with nearly unlimited flexibility for positioning your TV. Think about what you want your bracket to be able to do. Do you want to be able to adjust the TV to get a better view from different seats? Would you like to be able to angle the TV for optimum viewing, yet also have it hug the wall when not in use? There are a variety of options to choose from.

Here are the basic mount types and the applications they’re best suited for.

  • Flat mount. This is the simplest, lowest-cost type of mount. It places the TV closer to the wall than other mount types as little as 1″ away. A flat wall mount has no angle adjustments the TV screen’s position is parallel to the wall. This type of mount is a good choice for plasma TVs, which have the widest horizontal and vertical viewing angles.
  • Tilt mount. By providing vertical angle adjustment, this wall mount type makes it easy to compensate for a TV positioned above the optimum viewing level. The tilt mechanism causes the TV to be spaced a bit further out from the wall typically at least 2-1/2″. Common applications include TVs mounted above a fireplace or high on a bedroom wall. The angle adjustment can also help to counteract screen reflections from windows or room lights an issue for many plasma TVs and some LCDs.
  • Tilt/swivel mount. By adding side-to-side swivel adjustment, this wall mount is a smart solution when a TV needs to be angled to provide the best viewing. It’s also great for rooms with more than one usual viewing spot.
  • Articulating mount. The most sophisticated, versatile type of mount. It provides the greatest tilt/swivel flexibility. The arm folds back so the TV can be close to the wall when not in use. Because this type can move the TV several inches out from the wall, it allows a wider range of side-to-side swivel.

Finding the right wall mount for your TV

If you already have your TV, check the owner’s manual for mounting guidelines. Some TVs require that you use a specific bracket, but most models have standard-spaced mounting holes in back that are compatible with a number of brackets.

When you find a bracket that appears to be a good fit for your TV, be sure to check that your TV falls within the bracket’s recommended range for screen size and weight. It’s very important to choose a bracket that is designed to support your TV’s weight.

Other mounting options

Here are a few more solutions for your TV and audio/video gear.

  • Ceiling mount. These mounts are used more for commercial installations than in homes. They’re a popular choice for restaurants and bars. It’s best for situations where a TV can work well when mounted high, like near the ceiling, or for applications where wall space is limited.
  • TV floor stands. A convenient way to place your TV and components. A smart option if you’d rather avoid the hassle of wall-mounting.
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