Technology Showcase: Display Mounts
Jan 1, 2005 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney
Hang and position flat-panel displays for maximum visibility.
“My kingdom for a horse!” cried Shakespeare's Richard III, knowing that the most valuable monarch is worthless without the proper mount. That's also the challenge today's facilities managers and systems integrators face when bringing display devices into the workplace. Once you have made the decision to purchase that glistening new plasma or LCD video display, what do you do for a mount? Whether you decide to hang it from the studio ceiling, affix it to an office wall, or enclose it within a cabinet, the way the device is mounted for viewing is nearly as important a decision as the technology behind the display itself.
FROM CRT TO LCD
In the days when heavy CRT-based video monitors were the only choice, methods of displaying those cumbersome boxes relied more on brute force than aesthetic integration into a viewing environment. Today, however, with the prevalence of lighter LCD and plasma flat-panel displays, many display mount manufacturers have come up with innovative methods of putting these much thinner panels in front of our eyes conveniently without having them dominate the surroundings. In addition to hanging them from truss structures, mounting options include articulated arms with multiple pivots, cantilevered supports (sometimes involving hydraulic lift), and tilt/swivel systems that can angle the display to any part of the room — and even turn their presentation perspectives from portrait to landscape. Most of today's display mounts also provide several methods of channeling cables to keep them out of view, and built-in security devices to keep the display from being stolen.
With the great variety of shapes of the flat-panel display devices available from each manufacturer, providing the correct mount has become a hurdle of baffling complexity. But in 1997 the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) began developing display interface standards to clear the confusion. The first VESA mounting standard was the Flat Panel Monitor Physical Mounting Interface (FPMPMI), published in 1997 and updated in June of 1999. This version defined the 75mm × 75mm and 100mm × 100mm screw-mounting pattern for 12in. to 22.9in. (diagonal) flat displays, and made templates available to match those specifications.
In 2002, VESA published the new Flat Display Mounting Interface Standard (FDMI), which defines mounting interface standards for flat displays with viewing areas ranging from 102mm (4in.) to 2,286mm (90in.) diagonal. FDMI covers the entire range of mounting options, including wall, desktop, mobile, overhead, and specialty mounting (such as kiosks). To support this initiative, in May 2004 VESA introduced its new Flat Display Mounting Interface Compliance Program, encouraging manufacturers of mounting products and of flat displays to test products for conformance with FDMI standards in order to earn the VESA Compliance Logo.
Though the industry's mounting standards may be on solid ground, often the geographical areas in which they are mounted are not. That is especially true for the earthquake-prone West Coast. In 2001 California's Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD) released seismic safety standards, Building Code Section 1632, calling for display mounts to withstand at least an 8.0 quake. Today, an increasing number of display mount manufacturers are compliant with both VESA and OSHPD.
With literally hundreds of mounting options on the market today, here are some of the most innovative recent offerings from the major display mount manufacturers.
THE MOUNT MARKET
Bretford, Inc. was the first to release display mounts that comply with California's OSHPD seismic survival standard. Four of its Gibraltar TV mounts passed an 8.0 magnitude earthquake test, conducted by Equipment Anchorage & Seismic Engineering (EASE) of Arcadia, Calif., making them the first TV mounts to be OSHPD-approved under the new standards, according to the company.
Topping the Gibraltar series, Bretford's Double-Stud Wall Yoke TV mounts will fit most 25in. to 27in. or 32in. to 35in. diagonal monitors (depending on the model) and are UL and C-UL listed for safety. The Double-Stud Wall Yoke TV mounts have a dual upper-clamp system on their yoke arms to prevent the monitor from sliding forward or backward. A new design allows you to mount the TV to the platform while it's on the floor or a table, and then lift the unit into place on pre-mounted arms. An optional VCR bracket (VCR8-BK) is also available for these mounts.
As one of the largest display mount suppliers for the pro AV market, Chief Manufacturing has a full line of large flat-panel display mounting systems that are designed to support most plasma and LCD displays 30in. and above. Chief's 2000 Series mounts incorporate the exclusive Q-Latch Mounting System for easy installation, stable mounting, integrated security, and quick-release capabilities.
Chief's PDS Dual Swing-Out-Arm Wall Mount can be used to recess the display inside cabinets or float it in a corner. The mount facilitates viewing from all possible angles. A sturdy steel construction and UL listing ensure long-lasting support for displays up to 60in. This is the industry's best-selling swing-out arm mount for 40in. and larger displays. The PDS mounts provide pitch adjustment 5 degrees up and down on gravity-centered axis points.
If you are looking for a display mount that is not on anyone else's shelf, Custom Display Solutions, Inc. can come up with an answer. From pedestals to display walls, Custom Display Solutions builds unusual mounts to suit individual needs, which means the company never installs the same support mount twice. For example, within its Projection Mirror Mount (PMM) line, there are hundreds of part numbers that can be implemented for a unique installation. The Titan Cube Support Pedestal (CSP) from Custom Display Solutions comes in various heights and configurations, both linear and curved. For installations with limited space, the CSP may be outfitted with an optional caster and rail kit, allowing the display wall to be temporarily rolled away from a fixed wall in order to allow cube maintenance operations.
The Advance PWM-1624 Universal Plasma Wall Mount from Da-Lite Screen Company is designed with its own rail-mounting system to make installation simple for any plasma with mounting holes 8.125in. to 26in. apart horizontally and up to 15.5in. apart vertically. With the narrow profile of the PWM-1624, there is only 2in. of space between the back of the plasma unit and the wall. The PWM-1624 will hold up to 150lbs. and features 20 degrees of tilt.
Although Display Devices does not make AV furniture, the company makes the PlasmaLift, which can raise any size or brand of plasma display out of a cabinet or credenza, or lower it from the ceiling. The PL1500 uplift allows 31in. of vertical travel, and the PL2000 uplift allows 37.5in. The PL3000 ceiling lift facilitates 40in. of lowering, while the PL3200 enables 72in. of downward travel.
Display Devices also builds a Rotating Motorized Wall Mount (MRWM) for all flat-panel displays up to 50in. It features powered rotation between landscape and portrait orientations. The MRWM's thin design keeps the display close to the wall, with cables passing through the center hub. Their newest version, the Infinite Rotating Motorized Wall Mount (IRMWM) rotates 360 degrees. A popular ceiling-mounted version of the IRMWM can be seen in night clubs holding up to four 50in. plasma screens on a single pole support, with all screens capable of rotating 360 degrees at the same time.
If you want to mount a flat-panel display on a ceiling column, Draper, Inc. would suggest its Aero C800, which allows +/-90 degrees of rotation and 25 degrees of tilt. The display can be positioned anywhere along the streamlined elliptical column. Multiple LCD flat panels can be mounted using Draper's Multi-Panel Bracket, which complies with VESA 75mm and 100mm template specifications. Its smaller brother, the Aero T400, is a column mount commonly installed on a table. For plasma displays, Draper's Aero Universal Plasma Bracket attaches to almost any plasma display up to 50in. diagonal that weighs under 100lbs. A specially shaped keystone plate works for both portrait and landscape installation on any Draper Aero Mount for plasma displays. The assembled bracket, finished in black, is less than 1in. deep.
Ergotron, Inc. has just expanded its Neo-Flex product line with the Neo-Flex LCD Stand, an affordable adjustable stand for LCD monitors and small LCD TVs. The VESA-compliant Neo-Flex LCD Stand provides 5in. of vertical movement so you can position your monitor where you want it. The Neo-Flex LCD Stand attaches easily to flat-panel monitors that weigh 6 to 16lbs. The FX Series of products from Ergotron, comprised of the FX30, FX75, and FXT75, allows a flat-panel monitor or large display to be mounted to a vertical surface like a picture hung on a wall. The FX30 has a weight capacity of 30lbs., making it suitable for most moderate-sized LCD monitors. The FX75 holds larger displays up to 75lbs., while the FXT75 holds displays from 30 to 75lbs. Ergotron's patent-pending tilt mechanism design provides smooth, continuous tilt adjustment whether the display is mounted on a wall or a pole.
The WPSM line of pedestal plasma mounts and flat-panel TV mounts from H. Wilson Company are made from all steel, with a black powder coat finish. They're designed to fit almost all 32in. to 48in. plasma TVs and flat-panel monitors. H. Wilson Company's universal mounts are available in three heights: 62in. and 48in. as free-standing units, and a 20in. version that retrofits to your existing horizontal surface or to selected mobile H. Wilson carts. Its WPMSS single-stud plasma wall mount and WPMDS double-stud plasma wall mount also feature all-steel construction and provide a 10-degree tilt. Available for 30in., 42in., and 60in. plasma and flat-panel televisions, these mounts also include hardware for flat mounting and 10-degree tilt mounting for wood-stud installation. The WPMDS mounts on a 16in. center brace and has anti-theft lock capability (lock not included).
The oldest continuous player in this game, Lucasey Manufacturing has been in business since Joe Lucasey began making display mounts in 1949. Using a system approach to mounting brackets, Lucasey has developed interchangeable designs that allow for an almost infinite variety of applications. Each Lucasey mount is safety-tested to at least three times the specified load limit. As an example, Lucasey's FSWA-2220 Articulating Flat Screen Wall Mount extends up to 15in. straight out from the wall, glides into position for the perfect viewing angle, or folds virtually flat against the wall. The FSWA-2220's patented adjustable spring-loaded arms counterbalance the weight of the flat screen for free-floating movement, while four individual articulating arms allow for a wide range of motion. Made of heavy-gauge steel with a black finish, the FSWA-2220 can mount screens in a landscape or portrait orientation.
Luxor Corp. offers the LLMSW Universal LCD Monitor Mounts and can configure the LLMSW into several different mounting styles, whether single arm, double articulating arm, or a near-flush installation. The LLMSW works with nearly every LCD monitor from 10in. to 21in. that utilizes the 75mm or 100mm VESA standard.
Luxor's LUPM Universal Plasma Mounts use an adjustable mounting tray and a unique slotted rail system so that any plasma display with a square or rectangular mounting hole pattern can be accommodated. Its Universal Plasma Wall Mount is also a multi-configurable mount with a single arm, double articulating arm, or near-flush mount, and holds all 32in. to 50in. plasma displays with a square or rectangular mounting hole pattern. Load capacity is 130lbs. With an adjustable tilt from 0 degrees to 10 degrees, the LUPM mount rotates 240 degrees at the monitor, 160 degrees at the wall, and 240 degrees at the elbow joint in its double arm configuration.
Under the motto, “If you can hang a picture, you can install this monitor mount,” the new Video Monitor Mounts from Middle Atlantic Products come factory-assembled to save installation time. Its MM-1320C ceiling mount is available in three sizes to accommodate video monitors with screen sizes from 13in. to 37in. UL listed in the US and Canada, the MM-1320C series can have optional VCR/DVD/satellite receiver mounts. Middle Atlantic Products also makes a cathedral ceiling mount, the MM-CATH, whose 10-gauge steel tubing gives it a weight capacity of 300lbs.
Unlike other mounting designs, the Universal Seismically Rated Mounts with Security Enclosures from Monger Mounts use a strut channel for the down post — instead of an external columnar pole — to mount flat-panel displays with assured seismic protection. With its wide variety of modular mounting brackets, each with adaptor plates for individual screens, Monger Mounts can put together custom mounts to position a display on either concrete walls, wood panels, or steel beams. Monger provides security enclosures for both the mounting plate and the display screen to prevent theft.
The model 54 Fastback Tilt from OmniMount Systems allows the mounting of plasma displays up to 60in. and 175lbs. using a universal format — without the requirement of an additional adapter plate. Its 25.5in. mounting rails can be fit to either 16in. or 24in. wall studs, and permit sliding left and right so the Fastback Tilt can match any hole pattern on the back of a plasma screen. The “Tilt” in its name reflects a range of 5 degrees backward and 15 degrees forward to angle the screen for convenient viewing. OmniMount System's Fastback Tilt has a 2.6in. mounting profile and accepts either security hardware or a padlock to protect the screen from theft.
Installing the UFO Plasma Mount from OWI Inc. starts with mounting the manageable lightweight aluminum rail to the wall, which lets you hang the monitor on the rail without having to pre-connect any wiring. The UFO's unique design allows adjustment for various wall-stud spacing. The UFO offers lateral positioning of both the rail and monitor and will attach to monitor hole patterns ranging from VESA 200mm to large 50in. plasmas. The UFO Plasma Mount's forward tilt ranges from 0 to 90 degrees to provide a convenient viewing angle.
One of the sleekest looking mounts on the market is Smart Mount from Peerless Industries. The distinctive self-balancing design of Smart Mount lets the user easily angle the screen to adjust the tilt. If needed, the degree of tilt can be locked in place to avoid unintended angle disruptions. Smart Mount's dual wall plate can mount to a single stud or slide apart to mount to two studs spaced up to 24in. apart. The Smart Mount comes with security screws and features a universal bracket to support 32in. to 63in. plasma and LCD screens.
Premier Mounts offers a line of Universal Flat-panel Mounts that fit most LCD and plasma displays from 24in. to 61in. These Universal Flat-panel Mounts differ from other “universal” models in that Premier has patented a Griplate System, which features a unique, lockable washer that has specific holes for each diameter of hardware (4mm to 8mm bolts). The Griplate System also features small detents in the mounting brackets that interlock with dimples on the Griplate washers. These combine to offer maximum holding power and eliminate the need to over-torque mounting hardware, which can result in stripping inserts and possible damage to displays. Premier Mounts also has just come out with a new flat-only model (model # UFM) that has all the features of its tiltable designs, but sells for $100 less for price-conscious buyers who don't need tilt.
The Sanus VisionMount line is intended for mounting a flat-panel TV or computer monitor to a wall, a ceiling, or even under a cabinet. The VisionMount models feature Sanus's patent-pending SmoothLock adjustment mechanism and Virtual Axis to provide effortless tilt and swivel adjustment, with no tools required. Sanus just released the VisionMount model VMAA five-axis flat-panel TV wall mount for 30in. to 50in. plasma screens weighing up to 130lbs. Thanks to the patent-pending Virtual Axis fingertip tilt system and self-frictioning pivot points, the VMAA can tilt, swivel, pan, and rotate for level correction with no tools required.
If you have restricted ceiling space, SVS Lifts can store a plasma screen in a horizontal position in a false ceiling and pivot 90 degrees down for viewing. The company's Plasma One Lift exists in two models: the Plasma One-4 lift pivots a 40in., 50in., or 60in. plasma screen 90 degrees down to 4 feet below the false ceiling, and the Plasma One-7 lift pivots the screen 90 degrees down then telescopes to 6 feet 7in. The SVS Plasma Two lift can lower and raise a plasma screen straight up and down from the ceiling with a strong lifting capacity (up to 400lbs.) and a lowering distance of 52in. The Plasma One and Plasma Two lifts are supplied with a standard 24V AC low-voltage, wall-mounted controller. One of the key features is a patented drum-lock system, which immediately stops the Plasma Lift from lowering the lift if it is not level or if the movement is too fast.
The Model LCD-1 Universal LCD monitor wall mount from Video Mount Products can be configured as a single arm, double articulating arm, or near-flush mount and holds most 10in. to 21in. LCD monitors complying with the 75mm or 100mm VESA standards with a load capacity of 25lbs.
Video Mount Products' Model LCD-1 can be tilted from -5 degrees to +30 degrees, and it rotates 240 degrees at the monitor, 160 degrees at the wall, and, in the double-arm configuration, 240 degrees at the elbow joint. With the ability to configure the LCD-1 into several different mounting styles, users can accommodate nearly every wall-mount application they encounter with just one mount.
As the flagship of Vogel's plasma mount line, the EFW-2010 Universal Plasma Support combines several adjustment possibilities: flat against the wall, swiveling, and tilting. The EFW-2010 allows for full 180-degree rotation at the base, plus a 90-degree swivel rotation and a 15-degree tilt at the plasma screen itself for maximum viewing flexibility. The universal design provides a seamless, easy-to-use support system for virtually all 40in. to 65in. plasma screens weighing up to 154lbs. Unique to the EFW-2010 is the “smooth tilt” mechanism, utilizing dual gas springs that allow the user to adjust the screen angle easily by pushing on the top or bottom of the plasma TV.
One of the most aesthetically pleasing plasma display mount concepts is ArtScreen from Vutec Corp. The plasma television or projection screen itself is concealed within a hardwood frame, in front of which museum quality artwork ascends and descends via a remote control or RS-232 controller command (compatible with AMX and Creston). When the television is not in use, the artwork, which can be a reproduction of a classic painting or photograph, is displayed before the screen. Then, when the artwork is retracted, the screen within the mounting frame is visible for projection or television viewing. Custom images such as family portraits or corporate logos can also be mounted in front of the display screen to conceal the video technology with a unique touch of class.
For More Information
Chief Manufacturing www.chiefmfg.com
Custom Display Solutions www.cds4av.com
Da-Lite Screen Company www.da-lite.com
Display Devices www.displaydevices.com
H. Wilson Company www.hwilson.com
Lucasey Manufacturing www.lucasey.com
Middle Atlantic Products www.middleatlantic.com
Monger Mounts www.mongermounts.com
OmniMount Systems www.omnimount.com
Peerless Industries www.peerlessindustries.com
Premier Mounts www.premiermounts.com
SVS Lifts www.svslifts.com
Video Mount Products www.videomount.com
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