Installing a Plasma TV Wall Mount
Plasma TV Installation Guide - Part 2
Wall mounting a plasma TV the professional way!
Wall mounting a plasma TV is relatively easy job thanks to the large number of different flat-panel TV mounts available on the market that seems to provide a wall mounting solution to almost every TV installation job.
But you need to know exactly what you are doing and follow through the correct steps to ensure a safe and proper installation.
Discover how to best install a plasma TV wall mount—or in that case, any flat-panel TV mount—the professional way.
TV Wall Mount
A great way to display a flat-panel HDTV is to mount your television on a wall. This is not only a great space saver and ideal for spaces with small children running around, but it is also an effective way of integrating your LCD or plasma television set with the rest of your room decor.
Thanks to the availability of plasma TV wall mounts, wall mounting a plasma television is a rather straightforward job.
Still, as expressed in the first part of our Plasma TV Installation Guide, the whole process should not be underestimated. It is not as easy as it seems, and the person handling the job should still have at least an average level of do-it-yourself skills.
For example, you need to be confident with operating an electric drill. Equally important, you also need to know how to use properly a spirit level to level off the TV panel. Fixing a plasma TV wall mount perfectly level is critical; it would be hard to fix a poorly done job later, so recheck your measurements. Remember: The only way to get a professional looking job is to work the professional way—with precision. Moreover, if you really want a professional job, you have to think about how to run and hide the AV cables and the power line. Again, this requires a minimum of do-it-yourself skills, but in general, it should be relatively easy if you are dealing with drywall. Again, more info on this is available in the first part of our Plasma TV Wall Mount Installation Guide.
Important: Before drilling a single hole, make it a point to go through the installation instructions that come with your plasma screen and plasma TV wall mount. Remember, you have to plan your work accordingly, so...
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The level of DIY skills normally required to install a plasma TV wall mount may vary somewhat depending on the type of plasma TV mount in question. Normally, the whole process requires that you drill four holes in the wall, attach the back plate of the wall mount to the wall with screws, fix the front mounting bracket with the VESA hole pattern to the back of your flat panel TV and then lower the plasma TV into place. What is in between the wall plate and the front mounting bracket determines whether the wall mount is fixed, tilting, etc.
The standard 'fixed-type' flat wall mount is the easiest to do it yourself. This is the plasma TV wall mount that takes up the least space - it adds no more than two inches to your plasma television set depth, while slim type wall mounts (also referred to as low-profile wall mounts) add no more than one inch, making them ideal for the latest inch-thin plasma and LED TVs. If you have ever hung a bathroom cabinet, you can handle the job.
Cheetah Wall Mount Bracket with Full Motion Swing Out Tilt & Swivel Articulating Arm for LCD, LED, and Plasma TVs
Tilted and articulated arm wall mounts add a bit more depth to the overall mount; the Cheetah wall mount shown here would take just less than 4-inches when closed but then can extends up to 26-inch while carrying a load of 165lbs.
These mounts leave your interconnecting options open in that an articulated wall-mount makes it easier to add more cables to support new gear later without having to remove the plasma display panel from the supporting bracket.
With a fixed-flat type plasma TV wall mount, you have to remove the plasma television set every time you want to plug in a new device.
Once you decide on the type of plasma TV wall mount to use, purchase your mount only from a reputable source and ensure that it fits your plasma TV. In particular, check not only the size of the flat-panel TV it can take, but also that its load bearing capacity matches the weight of your plasma television.
The VESA mounting standard includes the VESA 50, 75, and 100, while larger models may use the VESA 200. The number behind the VESA standard indicates the mounting hole pattern in millimeters. For example, the VESA 100 will have four holes placed at the corners of a 100mm by 100mm square. The exception is the VESA 200, which comes either in VESA 200x100mm, or VESA 200x200mm hole pattern.
As already indicated earlier on in this article, plasma television sets are heavy, and substantially heavier than an equivalent screen size LCD TV. The 2012 TC-P50UT50 50-inch 3D Panasonic plasma TV featured above weight close to 50lbs. It is true that this is significantly lighter than older models but still heavy. This means that not all walls are suitable to take a plasma TV wall mount. If in doubt, either call professional assistance or use a pedestal stand.
In particular, if you are installing your plasma TV wall mount on drywall, be sure to screw your mount into wooden studs, not just into the wallboard, otherwise your display panel will crash to the ground.
Alternatively, if your drywall makes use of metal frames, use the appropriate spring loaded fixtures for the job - ordinary self-taping screws are not safe enough to hold your TV. In either case, always ensure that the fixtures you adopt penetrate the stud.
Once you find the studs, mark their location in pencil on the wall. Measure the vertical distance between the screw holes on the mount. Now it is time to decide on how high to mount your TV. We have covered this issue in the first part of this Plasma TV Installation Guide.
Both 'fixed-type' and the 'swivel articulated-arm' plasma TV wall mounts are normally fixed such as to set the centerline of the plasma display panel at eye-level when seated. On the other hand, the tilted wall mount is usually set at a higher level.
After deciding on the height, mark in pencil where you will place each screw. Double-check that it will be level by using a spirit level; alternatively, measure the distance from the floor up to each screw hole you have marked. It is crucial that you mount it perfectly level; it will be hard to fix a poorly done job later, so recheck your measurements.
Also, use heavy-gauge screws that are capable of taking the full load of the plasma display when screwing your plasma TV wall mount to the supporting wall. The best way to fix thick-gauge screws is to first drill a pilot hole; this is a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the diameter of the screws you are using. Attach the mount with the screws - check before tightening to ensure that it is perfectly level.
Once your mount is in place, hang the plasma television set on the mount. You would generally need someone to help you hold the plasma panel till you hang the unit in place.
Irrespective of the model and brand, the mounting process for a plasma television set is practically always the same. You first screw the back plate of your plasma TV wall mount onto the wall and attach the front plate to your flat-panel TV. Then all you have to do is to lower the plasma TV with the mounted front plate assembly (with the help of an extra pair of hands) in place into the rest of the wall mount. Models vary considerably, so make sure you follow the installation guides that come with both your plasma TV wall mount and your TV set.
Do not forget to connect all cables prior to hanging your plasma TV on the wall bracket if you are using a 'fixed-type' plasma TV wall mount. Once you hang the plasma in place, it is close to impossible to plug in any connecting cables with a fixed wall mount.
Recessed Installation: If you plan to recess your plasma television set to keep the screen flush with the wall, it is important to allow at least three inches of open space above the top of the unit plus the necessary extra space that may be required on either side of the TV, depending on the plasma TV model.
In addition, ensure that the recess is deep enough to allow air to circulate behind the unit to avoid any overheating. Remember that ventilation is especially important with plasma television sets since these tend to get hotter than LCD TVs due to their higher power requirements.
Note that while recessed installations represent an interesting option, keep in mind that once you complete your recess, you are stuck with the size of the recess. In other words, you cannot upgrade to a larger plasma television set later should you desire so.
Finding Studs: In new houses, studs are generally placed 16 inches apart. Therefore, if you find one, you can look for one that far away. In addition, power outlets are usually placed adjacent to a stud, so look for a stud there.
If for some reason, you cannot locate the studs, get an inexpensive $20 stud finder; stud finders are generally available from any hardware store.
For slightly more, you can get an all-in-one metal and wood stud finder and electricity cable locator. A great all-in-one product is the Zircon StudSensor i65. It sells for under $30 at amazon and includes auto depth sensing, auto re-calibration, and even an integrated erasable marker to make it easy to mark the spot for anchoring without removing the tool from the wall. For those who has never used a stud finder, this particular model also comes with DVD how-to guide.
Buried Electricity: One of the biggest concerns and a major problem when installing a plasma TV wall mount is buried electricity wiring in the wall.
Be careful not to drill or screw into any wiring. The best way to work safely is to get an inexpensive electricity cable locator—usually available from most hardware stores. The Zircon i65 referred to above is also capable of finding buried electricity cables.
Slim but heavy: It is true that plasma television sets are slim and no longer the heavy beasts they used to be up to a few years ago. Yet as stated earlier on, even the latest slim plasma TVs are still relatively heavy. If you are not sure of your DIY skills, or in doubt about the load bearing capacity of your wall, call a professional installer.
A Final Recommendation
Installing your plasma TV wall-mount the professional way is the first step to enjoying the show but to get the best out of your flat-panel TV, you still need to do one more thing: Adjust the TV settings for optimum picture performance. The best way to do this is to invest in a good set-up DVD.
Good calibration discs include Disney WoW and Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark. Disney WoW is easy to use and one of the most complete calibration discs for beginners and intermediate users; Spears & Munsil is more for the expect user. More information on these discs is available in our video calibration discs review page.
Information on how to use calibration discs is available in our Guide to Home Theater Set-Up DVDs.
Now that your plasma television set installation is complete, all that remains is to sit back, relax and enjoy the show!
Are you looking for flat-panel TV wall-mounts?
Amazon offers a vast range of plasma TV wall mounts for all applications; you may access the full range of flat-panel TV mounts at amazon.com by following this link: TV Wall Mounts