Congratulations! You did it. You finally bought the huge flat screen TV, which is really going change the way you binge on Netflix and watch sports… Or at least it will just as soon as you get it mounted on the wall.
Now, if busting open your wall, finding studs, deciding on mount brackets, and adding new electrical outlets sounds like the way you want to spend your Saturday entire month, then by all means, install that beast yourself. However, if you like not spending two weeks doing something that would take a professional two hours, and also sleeping at night knowing that your TV isn’t going to fall off the wall and crash to the floor, then consider hiring a professional to do the job for you.
Vince Strattman, owner of SoCal TV Installs, has installed more TVs than he can count and knows first hand how much time and trouble hiring a professional can save you. And while the installer will do all of the heavy lifting (literally), there are still a few questions you should be prepared to answer so that all parties are prepared come installation day.
What type of mount bracket do you want?
Strattman says the first big decision is what type of mount bracket you want. A tilting mount will hold your TV flat against the wall, but also allow for downward tilting, which is great if you’re going to mount your TV high up on the wall or over a fireplace. An articulating mount means your TV will be on a retractable arm that allows you to pull it away from the wall and swivel it, which is great if your room has a few viewing locations.
What’s going to be connected to the TV?
Next, you’re going to need to figure out what needs to be connected to the television. A cable box? Roku? Blu-ray player? Gaming console? It’s important to give this information to the person doing the installation ahead of time so he knows many video or HDMI cables to bring and can also discuss storage options with you.
Where are the components going to live?
Strattman emphasizes that having a plan for where all of those components are going to live is key. Are they going to live in a console below the television? On floating shelves? Alternatively, Strattman says there are now options to mount devices behind the TV using wireless boxes (and yes, your remote control will still work). The important thing is just to know where it’s all going to live since that directly impacts the installation process. You’ll also want to make sure you have everything that needs to be hooked up in the house on installation day, so that you can get right to watching as soon as the job is finished.
Where do you want your TV on the wall?
Your installer will help you out with this one, but your comfort while watching TV is something you should really take into consideration. Do you like sitting in the front row at the movies? Probably not, which means you’re also not going to want to be staring up at your TV all of the time. (A tilting mount will help with this if somewhere like above the fireplace is your only option.)
What kind of walls do you have?
There’s not much you can do about this, but whether or not you have dry wall, stone, or brick, will impact how and where the TV is hung, especially if you want to conceal the cords which leads us to…
Do you want to conceal all of the wires?
Fire code dictates in most areas that high voltage power cords (a.k.a. the plug for your TV) can’t go behind walls, which, Strattman says, means your installer may need to add an electrical outlet on the wall where you’re mounting the TV if there’s not one already. This will cost extra, so it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind. Low voltage wires like HDMI cables and video cables can all go behind the wall. (You will be responsible for touching up the paint afterward though.)
If you don’t want to deal with opening up walls and adding outlets, there are other ways of concealing wires, Strattman says. Cord management strips, a two to four inch white strip that sticks to the wall and can be painted over, are a great option for renters or people who want to mount their TVs on brick or stone walls.
This sounds like a lot of work. Do I even really need to mount my TV?
Well, the point of hiring a professional (tons of which you can find on Thumbtack) is that with just some basic preparation, it’s actually not much work at all. Plus, mounting your television can really change the way your room looks. Instead of being a feature point at all times, the television only becomes the focus when it’s actually being watched. It also creates additional space in the room. And lastly, it’s much safer for your television, but more importantly, for kids and pets who might accidentally knock over a television that’s just on a stand.
Which leaves us with just one question…
What’s the first show you’ll watch on your new flat screen?
That’s one you can likely handle all on your own. (But you can never go wrong with football. Or “Scandal.”)
Ready to hire someone to help? Here’s how to find a big-screen TV installation service in your area.
Top Photo: Stylish TV installation via TovTov
Bottom Photo: Modern theater via NYAAN