It’s one thing to obsess over the aesthetics of your flat-screen TV — the beveled corners, the screen size, the color temperature. But without thoughtful installation, you can wind up with a beautiful rectangular display surrounded by a rat’s nest of cords, or worse, 40 pounds of glass and electronics that might fall off the wall at any moment.
Todd Anthony Puma, chief executive of The Source Home Theater in New York, sees poorly installed televisions all the time — equipment not mounted on the studs or barely held in place with just a couple of screws or anchors. “What would happen after a period of time is that the TV would slowly but surely come off the wall, and sooner or later, you have a television that’s on your floor and possibly could injure somebody in the home, which is the worst-case scenario,” he said.
Here’s what to consider if you want to mount your TV securely without sacrificing the room to a tangle of cords.
Before you do anything, make a plan
Think about all of the devices you’ll need to connect — not just the boxes, such as gaming consoles or a cable box, but also your audio receiver, speaker or soundbar. Make sure that your shelving unit or cabinet has enough space to hold everything, and that you have enough cables and wire for every device you plan to connect, and that they’re all long enough.
At Wirecutter, we recommend always planning to add one more HDMI cord than you think you’ll need, just in case you add a device later, after everything is set up. It’s easier to install that cord now than to do so once everything is in place. “When you know how many wires you’re going to have, then you’ll know how to hide them,” Mr. Puma said.
For gaming or for a household with a lot of internet use, you may want to consider wiring an Ethernet cable to your TV and console from your modem instead of relying on Wi-Fi. You’ll get the best speed with a direct line for the machines that gobble up the most bandwidth.
Also, consider light, wall support and height when you choose a place for the TV. If you’re mounting it on the wall, make sure you’re mounting it to wall studs or solid masonry, and choose a TV mount rated to hold the weight of your set. Wirecutter recommends the Sanus VMPL50A-B1 Tilting Wall Mount, which can tilt up and down and works for TVs from 32 inches to 70 inches in size. For a TV in a cabinet or nook, choose a full-motion mount so you can pull the TV out for viewing.
Christine Lin, principal for Form & Field, an interior design firm in San Francisco, suggests you avoid placing your TV opposite a window in order to avoid glare. When considering height placement, she said, “I always recommend that the center of the TV should be at eye level when you’re seated. Often TVs are placed too high up on the wall which can cause a lot of neck strain.”