Back in the days of "I Love Lucy," "Leave It to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best," 12-inch TV screens were encased in large wooden cabinets. These consoles usually had doors that closed to hide the TV when you weren’t watching.
In the '60s, portable televisions twice that size came along and were more screen than cabinet. The next big step was when TVs became all screen with only a thin strip around the sides.
Today, the average screen is 50 inches from corner to corner with some as big as 86 inches. More big-screen TVs are mounted on walls than on stands nowadays because it gets them up and out of the way. Don't let this task intimidate you. Ask another person to help you out and follow these steps in order to mount your TV in an optimal spot.
No matter how skilled you are with using hand tools, you need someone to help you, preferably someone with good do-it-yourself credentials. Rather than wait around until you need help lifting, asking your helper to take the important measurements with you means you have a better chance of getting them right.
Today’s big-screen TVs are so thin that they look as if they can’t be very heavy, but some weigh more than 120 pounds. Even an average-sized TV weighs 50 pounds. If you believe it's better to be safe than sorry, make sure the wall mount you buy is rated for a weight greater than the weight of your TV.
TV wall mounts come in many sizes and shapes, all of them at least partly adjustable. Make sure you choose one where your TV falls into the middle of the wall mount’s range and not at its minimum or maximum.
Choose a TV mount that's load-rated greater than the weight of your TV. Decide if you want a flush mount or one that swivels and tilts. The Video Electronics Standards Association has established TV wall mounting standards, so look for a mount that is VESA-rated.
This wall mount for TV fits stud widths ranging from 16 to 24 inches and holds up to 132 pounds. It is VESA-rated, sits 1.5 inches from the wall and tilts as much as 8 inches for glare-free viewing.
This VESA-rated swivel TV mount has a full-motion articulating arm that tilts and pulls out as much as 20 inches from the wall. It fits most 26- to 60-inch TVs that weigh up to 88 pounds and includes a level and a stud finder.
This swivel TV wall mount is made to fit 32- to 65-inch TVs in the corner of a room instead of on a flat wall. It extends and tilts, mounts on only a single stud with the handy drilling template and has cable-concealing covers.
Drywall: Drywall homes have a real advantage when it comes to cable management. Because so many of today’s televisions are hooked up to modems, cable boxes, sound bars and more, they have a lot of unsightly wires. With those hollow spaces between the studs, you can make one hole behind your TV and one near the baseboard. Then you can snake your wires in one hole and out the other.
For a recessed look: Look for products made to be recessed into drywall so those holes you cut have a finished look.
Plaster, brick and stone: These solid walls have no hollow spaces, so you have to run your wires and cables down the outside of the wall. The neatest way to do this is with a cable management system, such as a cord hider you can paint to match your wall. Even simpler solutions are zip ties and Velcro ties.
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.