Hang a Flatscreen
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Illustration: Jason Lee
Illustration: Jason Lee
Remember that commercial where the hip young couple mounts their flat-panel TV on the ceiling? They end up in bed, gazing skyward at a screenful of dazzling fireworks. Call us crazy gravity-phobes, but we recommend sticking it on a wall. Here's how. — Tom McEnaney
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* 1 Step 1: Pick a Spot
* 2 Step 2: Hide the Cables
* 3 Step 2a: Hide the Cables Tip
* 4 Step 3: Hang it Up
Step 1: Pick a Spot
Use a stud-finder to ensure that your perfect, glare-free spot has enough support and no hidden obstacles. A quick rule of thumb is you need one stud for an LCD and two for a plasma, which are generally heavier. However, obviously a 51" TV is going to weigh more than a 32" TV so check your manual.
Step 2: Hide the Cables
With a drywall saw, cut an outlet-sized hole near where the cables will jack into the back of the TV. Make another near the floor, directly below. (You can tidy up the holes with grommets.) Bundle the cables with electrical tape and feed them in through the top hole and out the bottom.
Make sure that the cables you buy are long enough and will reach their destination. For example, a 6' HDMI cable is usually plenty long enough to go from the back of a regular TV to your cable box. However, if your flatpanel is mounted five feet off the ground, and you have an extending, swivel mount, the cables will need to be fed through the piping of the mounting bracket. Additionally, you may have your DVD player positioned below your stereo, your cable box, and your center channel speaker (see photo below). When in doubt, go for the 10' cable. Run extra cables for future gear.
Note that if your wall has fire blocks in it (small horizontal 2x4s that are placed horizontally between vertical studs) this may be difficult.
Step 2a: Hide the Cables Tip
A spool of nylon string, a steel washer, and a magnet taped to a pencil or a coat hanger. Tie the washer to the end of the string then drop it from the top hole and use the magnet if needed to pull it out. The string can also be used to measure your needed cable length. Put a piece of tape at the top marking how much you need, don't cut it, pull it out the bottom till you get the tape mark. You can also leave some string in the cable bundle for future expansion.
Step 3: Hang it Up
Use a level to mount the (VESA-compliant) bracket with anchor bolts. Attach the rails to your flatscreen TV, then have a sure-handed friend support the set while you bolt it to the bracket.