The business of researching and buying a new plasma TV or LCD computer monitor calls for a different set of skills and interests compared to the task of setting up the item in the best way once it has been delivered. While old-style tube TVs and monitors were heavy and awkwardly shaped, that factor did tend to make installation easy; one just put them down somewhere. With today’s ultra-thin displays, more care needs to be taken, both for aesthetic reasons and for the sake of enhanced security.
There are essentially two types of mounting to consider, fixed and moving. A fixed mounting can be attached to a wall, in some cases to the ceiling, or to a flat surface, such as a desk or display shelf. Movable mountings, either hinged or cantilevered, are more flexible, allowing the display to be folded away when not in use. They need to be both sturdier in themselves and more securely attached to their host surface. Any buyers interested in plasma and LCD mounts should know about the kinds of surface they might be attached to and the steps appropriate to preparing an installation.
Types of Units
The typical kind of item covered by this guide is a television manufactured in the now-standard 9:16 aspect ratio or else a computer monitor that is essentially the same shape. There are still monitors being made in the older 4:3 aspect ratio, especially at the lower end of the market. Sometimes, they are mounted on office desks with cantilevered brackets in order to maximise space.
Various TV or Monitor Sizes
Televisions that one would want to mount are probably the kind with at least 20-inch screens and more likely are considerably larger. Forty-inch screens are common, and sizes in excess of 60 inches are sought after at the high end. Although competing technologies deliver the picture, whether plasma, LED, or LCD, for the purposes of mounted installation, there is no significant difference between them.
Computer monitors tend not to exceed 27 inches. Users tend to be sat closer to a monitor than a TV, and a larger screen is more than the eye can take in at once. At the point of sale, both televisions and computer monitors are usually supplied with a pedestal mounting that enables the item to be placed on a flat surface. To install these, there is normally a set of instructions with the packaging that explains the necessary steps to setting up and subsequently removing the pedestal. In case of doubt, with a new purchase, consult the manufacturer’s website and request help if necessary. With used items, the same advice should be enough in most cases, but some supplementary web research can be helpful when the manufacturer cannot provide the necessary information.
Types of Mounts
In addition to the standard pedestal, televisions and monitors are usually fitted with bolt recesses on the back, which are ready to accept the bolts needed to attach the item to a mounting. The chances are that a wall mounting needs to be purchased separately. They can be found on eBay by searching for "LCD mount" or "plasma mount".
With an increase in size, there is naturally an increase in weight. The largest plasma TVs are so big that wall mounting is the better option. The weight can be distributed more efficiently because the load is not focused at the point of pivot. In any case, a screen that large can be viewed comfortably from a broad arc, so flexibility is not too high a priority.
Wall and Movable Mounts
Wall mountings are available for smaller TVs too. An individual advertisement specifies the sizes a mounting is designed to accommodate. For lighter screens though, a movable mounting is a popular alternative. Essentially there are two types: simple hinged models that allow tilting and swivelling at a fixed distance from the wall; and cantilevered models that enable a greater degree of flexibility about the viewing position.
As well as wall mountings, movable mountings can be attached to flat surfaces, such as desks. This can be a more attractive option for computer monitors when compared to televisions, especially when working space is at a premium. Desks are not as robust for mounting purposes as walls, so these types of mounting are better suited to lighter items.
Ceiling mounts tend to be less common in domestic settings because they are more difficult to install, but for commercial and public spaces, they can be an ideal solution for a number of reasons. With these mounts the screen size matters less than the weight of the item to be suspended. Check the mount’s rating against the weight of the screen.
Types of Surfaces
Mounting a plasma TV or LCD monitor on a wall or ceiling requires some care and planning. Not all surfaces can support sustained weight, while those that can often need specialised equipment in order to prepare them. Generally speaking, someone who is comfortable installing shelving or hanging pictures should find the task reasonably straightforward.
Testing a Surface for Mounting
It can be difficult to appraise a domestic wall for its suitability to bear weight. Some common sense is called for when thinking about the construction materials used in a particular space. A traditional stone cottage is likely to have stone walls; a modern flat might have cinder block walls, or else walls made in a prefabricated material such as plasterboard. A simple way of making a preliminary evaluation is simply to tap the surface with a knuckle. If it sounds hollow, the chances are that it is too flimsy to support weight.
Such a method is little better than guesswork and should not be relied on. Tools like cable detectors are useful for planning around hazards like domestic wiring. If in doubt, hire a tradesperson.
Ceilings are more difficult to deal with, and that is one of the reasons such installations are rare in domestic scenarios. Nevertheless, there is normally something solid to attach a fixture to. It is easier to deal with such things when there is clear access to the inter-floor space.
Tools and Fixtures
Some useful tools to have available when fitting a plasma TV or LCD screen mount include an electric drill with a masonry drill bit although a sturdy hand drill can get the job done. A spirit level is useful for keeping the mounting square, while a pencil and a tape measure are always handy to have around. For more elaborate installations, which involve passing cables through cavities, some useful pieces of equipment include a simple reel of string for pulling the cables. A drywall saw, despite its name, is more for plasterboard and materials of that type rather than actual stone walls.
Hiring a Carpenter
While it is a good idea to call a tradesperson if in doubt about working with uncertain surfaces, there is another reason for considering using the services of a carpenter. An option that might be particularly attractive for large televisions, especially as part of a home cinema set-up, is to build a feature that includes a wall mounting for the screen, plus accommodation for the various peripheral items such as satellite receivers and DVD collections. A skilled carpenter can make an installation that is not only functional but attractive to look at even when there is nothing on the TV.
How to Find Plasma and LCD Mounts on eBay
Carpenters are perhaps the only thing that eBay cannot help with among the items listed above. In addition to searching for LCD mounts and plasma mounts previously mentioned, you can use the search option on eBay’s home page to enter more specific terms, such as "LCD desk mount" or "LCD ceiling mount". Note that with jargon terms, such as LCD, it does not matter whether you use upper or lower case; the search engine treats them identically.
When it comes to the tools and accoutrements needed to carry out an installation, eBay’s listings have plenty to offer, whether it is simple power drills or something more specific, like a brand name or a cordless drill. You can find cable detectors or, as they are sometimes called, stud detectors; some of these are handy utility devices that can also be used for things like measuring and marking. Drywall saws are also available as well as rawl plugs and draw tape. Be sure to use eBay’s search filters to help narrow the search to complete the installation of your Plasma and LCD mounts.
A new LCD screen or a new plasma TV is an exciting thing to bring home, and yet it can be a daunting prospect to get it mounted to one’s complete satisfaction. There are so many options to choose from, whether it is the question of whether to mount it on the wall, or on a flat surface, or even to hang it from the ceiling and whether it should be fixed and rigid or capable of being moved around.
For people who are comfortable with around the house projects like putting up shelves or fitting blinds, the prospect of installing a TV mounting should be a straightforward project once care has been taken to ensure that the host surface has the required capacity to bear the load. More adventurous types might contemplate embellishments like threading leads through the inter-wall cavity for neat concealment. Whatever option seems the most appropriate, not forgetting the possibility of calling a carpenter or else using the pedestal supplied with the screen, the most important thing is to ensure that the fixing is safe, secure, and durable.