There are several practical benefits to wall-mounting a flatpanel TV, such as freeing up floor or table space, but for many the main benefit is purely aesthetic - because let's face it, a wall-mounted TV looks pretty darn stylish. And the beauty of wall mounting is that anyone with even the most basic DIY knowledge can do it - and we're here to show you how…
Part 1: Buying a bracket
The first step is to find the right bracket for your TV. There's a huge number to choose from, catering for TVs of all shapes, sizes and weights, so make sure you're armed with your set's vital statistics before setting off to the store. And before buying, consider what sort of flexibility you need once the TV is installed, as different types of wall bracket offer different levels of movement.
Fixed brackets hold the TV flush to the wall, and don't allow you to change the horizontal or vertical angle. Their lack of complexity often makes them the most economical option, but it can be awkward to access rear-mounted sockets.
Tilt brackets, meanwhile, allow you to tilt the screen up or down to change the vertical viewing angle, while 'tilt & swivel' brackets let you tip the screen forward and turn it from side to side.
Small screen LCD TVs can also be mounted using brackets with more elaborate mechanisms for extra flexibility, making them perfect for kitchen or bedroom installations. You can buy brackets with an arm that pans from side to side, or ones that tilt, swivel, pan and extend. These allow you to position the screen at any conceivable angle and then tuck it away neatly when you're done.
The next step in the buying process is to find a bracket that matches the screw holes on the back of your TV. The measurements of these differ from set to set, but those helpful folks at the Video Electronic Standards Association (VESA) came up with a set of standard measurements for TVs and brackets, making it easy to match them up.
For small screen TVs, the hole spacing is either 75 x 75mm or 100 x 100mm, and for larger screens you'll find measurements of 100 x 200mm, 200 x 200mm or 400 x 600mm.
Also look out for the 'CE' or 'GS / TUV' badges that demonstrate that the bracket has been through the relevant testing procedures.
Part 2: Installing the bracket
The key to a successful installation is planning. First, figure out the best place for your TV to go, and if you're not sure, try putting up a picture in the space for a couple of days and see if it feels right.
But remember that your screen should be mounted at the appropriate distance from the viewing position and at the correct height. The distance between the TV and seating position should be around 1.5 times the diagonal width of the screen, while the centre of the TV should ideally be at eye level to eliminate viewing angle problems. Avoid putting it too high to watch comfortably from a seated position.
The type of wall may also influence the position of the screen. Mounting into brickwork is straightforward as it can go anywhere on the wall and you only need suitable wall plugs and screws for the job. But mounting into plasterboard is more problematic, as you need to locate the stud wall behind and fix the bracket to it - you can't mount the screen anywhere you like. Using inappropriate fixings and slap-dash measures can lead to serious injury, not to mention serious damage to your precious telly.
Before embarking on the actual installation, remember that screens over 32in can be pretty darn heavy, so it's a good idea to rope in a mate to help. The actual installation process differs from bracket to bracket, but most products provide all the fixings you need in the box with detailed instructions - most brackets are designed with self installation in mind. But if you're in any doubt about the procedure, or if your install is particularly complicated, then it might be worth paying a professional installer - preferably a CEDIA certified one.
The final step is to conceal the cables connecting your AV kit to your TV - after all, there's no point putting your widescreen work of art on the wall only to have unsightly leads dangling down from it.
The most aesthetically satisfying solution is to run the cables in the wall behind the TV, which isn't necessarily complex but could be tricky, as it involves cutting holes in the wall and threading all of the cables through. In-wall cabling also makes it difficult to add new kit to your system, as you'll have to run any extra cables into the wall.
The alternative is to attach the cables to the wall and conceal them inside a molding, which can be painted to match the colour of your wall. This solution lacks the invisibility of an in-wall installation, but it is a lot less hassle.
I've flat mounted my 42" LG LCD to my wall and I'm getting vibration in either the bracket or the rear panel of the TV when low frequency base sounds are played, even a man's deep voice. With rear speakers it doesn't seem correct to flush mount the TV 1" from the wall, but the bracket was sold to me by the guys that sold me the TV. Any recommendations or comments?