Flat screen displays are the hottest category of products in consumer electronics today, and prices are continuing to be extremely competitive for the consumer. You can choose from a variety of sizes and types of screens, such as LCD, plasma, LCD projection, 720p or 1080p, etc.

No matter what type of flat screen you buy, if you’re not going to use a stand or specialized furniture as a base to hold your flat screen, like this Bazio B004M50 TV table,

…then you’ll want to mount it on the wall.

Hiring a professional installer is always a smart idea, but with some careful forethought, using the right tools and mounts, and getting help from friends and family (especially with lifting and holding), you can install your new LCD or plasma screen easily.

First, plan, plan, plan.

Atlantic Technology

Unless you don’t mind seeing cables hanging from beneath the screen going down to a nearby wall socket, it’s very important to use a licensed electrician to prepare the wall space behind the screen for proper outlets and wiring for the display’s current requirements. These are very important considerations since a 60″ flat panel display can use as much electricity as a small refrigerator.

Before you begin, here are some important tips you need to consider:

Buy the right size screen for the room. This is based on how close, or how far, you will be sitting from the display.

Buy the right size mount for the display. Make sure they are UL approved. A lot of the cheaper ones are not. The mounts will be flush, tilt, or articulating, or robotic arm. Use the mounts made for smaller displays (13″ – 23″) and the stronger mounts for the larger displays. (The wrong mount will just add time and headaches to an otherwise simple installation.)

For displays over 23″, try to buy a mount that provides multi-point mounting, (a mount that needs at least 4 lag bolts) and have built-in levels to insure a straight and balanced installations. K2 mounts are great for this. (www.k2mounts.com.)

Have a good idea of the other A/V equipment you are going to be using with your new flat-screen display, for example, flush mounted speakers, Surround Sound, DVD, Cable box, VCR, Cable card, or off air HDTV.

You need to make sure you know where the wires attach to the display unit. If you can cut the holes for the wires to come through the wall just above the mount, then the chances of seeing the cables or having them drape below the display are much less. Know how you want to hook up these other pieces of equipment.

How close to the display is the electrical outlet? Check with your electrician to see if you can add a outlet if none are close enough for the length of the power cord supplied by the manufacturer. (If you add a longer power cord it MUST HAVE the same electrical current carrying specs.) Otherwise, you may have warranty problems.

If you, or the electrician, are going to add an outlet, try installing a “Clock” outlet. They have a single receptacle that is set back about an inch. This will give you more room behind the display unit so you can use the tilt feature of the mount.

Try to keep the display on the same electrical circuit as any equipment you are going to plug into the display unit. This helps prevent ground loop hums and vertical hum bars.

Tools Needed:

* 7/16″ Wrenches
* Phillips Screw Driver
* Adhesive Tape
* Stud Finder
* Hammer
* Drill with 3/16″ bit (Wood Studs)
* 1/2″ Masonry Bit (Concrete Wall)

Know the location you are going to hang the screen. IMPORTANT: For wood stud walls, know where the studs are in relation to the center of the display. Use a stud finder to mark where the studs are located and drill four holes into studs with a 3/16″ drill bit, 2-1/2″ deep.

For concrete walls, drill 4 holes with a 1/2″ masonry bit, 2-1/2″ deep. Install anchors in the holes, flush with the wall, so that the hinged ends face out.

You should mark out the mount on the wall or even hang it before you cut any holes for wires or outlets. (Use pencil because it can be covered by paint; markers and pens can bleed thru the paint.)

Anchor the Mounting Plate to the Wall. Using a 7/16″ wrench, attach the mounting plate to the wall with the supplied lag bolts and washers.

Attach the Mounting Brackets. If the screws that came with your screen hold the bracket securely without twisting or pulling out, use them, otherwise use screws from those provided. Make sure that the hooks are on the top, and that the security screws are facing the side screen edges.

Now hang the screen. Make sure that the display does not exceed the maximum load weight of the bracket (150 lbs.). Tighten the security screws.

Installing a robotic arm mount allows you to remotely adjust the display to favor a particular side of the room or angle. They’re not that difficult to install. You can see a step by step procedure on how to install a remote control robotic arm mount at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiPR8eWW5wI.

Installing a flat screen over a fireplace involves special consideration of what the wall is made of, what’s behind the wall, where the electric wiring will be snaked and if there’s a mantle to deflect the rising heat of the fireplace. It’s best in these cases to make the screen as flush as possible.

Using an experienced installer for hanging your new flat screen display is always a smart idea. However, with the variety of mounts and detailed instructions being provided by the major mount manufacturers, “hanging-it-yourself” is now a relatively easy procedure. The key to mounting success, and great viewing of your screen, as always, is careful planning and preparation.

Al Abrams is a creative marketing and PR consultant to national retailers and manufacturers of consumer electronics products and home entertainment-based services. You can contact him at al@abrams-creative.com; phone: 818-343-6365.

Here are some examples of mounts:

K1-F-S/ Flush Mount Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 13″-23″ Weight: 2 lbs.

K1-TS-S/ Tilt & Swivel Mount Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 13″-23″ Articulating Single Arm / Tilts Up and Down Weight: 3 lbs.

K2-F-S/ Flush Mount – Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 26″-37″ – Weight: 9 lbs

K2-T-S/ Tilt Mount – Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 26″-37″ – Weight: 10 lbs

K2-A1-S Dual Articulating Arm Mount – Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 13″-30″ – Weight: 5 lbs – Articulating Dual Arms / Tilts up and down. – VESA and UL Approved

K2-A3-S & K2-A3-B Articulating Arm – Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 23″-37″ – Weight: 15.4 lbs – Extendable Articulating Arm – Max. Load: 110 lbs. – VESA 75, 100, 200

K3-F-S/ Flush Mount Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 37″-61″ Weight :11 lbs

K3-T-S/ Tilt Mount Fits Most Brands of Flat Panel Displays: 37″-61″ Weight: 14 lbs