Behind the Scenes: Innovative TV Mounts & Stands

Today’s flat-panel-TV mounts handle larger screen sizes and can allow TVs to hug much closer to the wall than models did 4 years ago. The best news of all is that prices dropped.

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If you’re thrilled that today’s flat-panel TVs are thinner and lighter than previous models were, we have more good news for you: The latest TV mounts have more capabilities than ever before.

The newest mounts can hold larger TVs, and they increasingly allow TVs to cling closer to walls compared with models that were available 4 years ago. The best news is that prices of these mounts dropped by as much as half since 2009.

If you prefer to use a TV stand instead of a wall mount, you should know that manufacturers increasingly added mounts or mounting poles to their stands. This provides more display options.

SIZING UP MOUNTS. Although none of the top-five-selling TV sizes is larger than 55 inches, according to 2012 sales data that market-research company The NPD Group compiled, manufacturers now have TV mounts that are designed to hold supersize TVs. Most manufacturers have at least one model that’s designed to hold a 70-inch TV. We found five manufacturers that have at least one model that can hold a TV that’s at least 100 inches wide.

You don’t surrender viewing flexibility by using a model that holds the largest TVs. For example, some tilting TV mounts, which allow you to change the TV’s viewing angle, hold up to 104-inch TVs. Some articulating TV mounts, which allow you to extend the TV from the wall, hold up to a 103-inch TV.

However, you should expect to shell out extra money for a TV mount that holds the largest TVs. Although the amount that you’ll pay varies by manufacturer, we believe that in most cases you’ll pay an extra 33 percent for a mount that holds the largest TVs. For example, we found a fixed-mount model that holds up to an 80-inch TV for $80, which is $20 more than a similar model that’s made by the same manufacturer that holds up to a 52-inch TV. Premier’s tilting and articulating TV mount, which holds up to a 102-inch TV, costs $1,595—that’s $1,095 more than a similar Premier model that holds up to a 72-inch TV.

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Meanwhile, all sizes of tilting TV mounts and articulating TV mounts allow the TV to be closer to the wall than they did 4 years ago. Manufacturers refer to this as the TV mount’s profile, which is determined by measuring the distance from the wall to the back of your TV. At press time, tilting TV mounts typically have a 1-inch profile, which is 1-3/4 inches closer than what tilting models typically allowed 4 years ago. Articulating TV mounts now typically have a 2-5/8-inch profile, which is 3-7/16 inches closer than what articulating models had 4 years ago. Furthermore, the typical profile for a fixed model has shrunk to three-quarters of an inch from about 2 inches 4 years ago.

The reduction in profile is a direct result of lighter TVs. Consequently, manufacturers can secure a TV to the wall safely by using a TV mount that requires less metal or a TV mount that’s configured to be slimmer than TV mounts  were 4 years ago. The only downside to a TV mount that places a TV so close to the wall is that it becomes more difficult to access TV cables during setup or maintenance because of a lack of space. A few manufacturers incorporate a so-called kickstand in the TV mount, which allows you to pull the TV away from the wall a few inches, so you have better access to cables. If you want to get to the cables and the TV mount doesn’t have a kickstand, you likely will have to remove the TV.

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