Video Display Mounting Systems
Aug 1, 2003 12:00 PM, Bennett Liles
The only part of the video display market that offers a more potentially bewildering choice of types and styles than the displays themselves is the area of mounting systems.
Due to the sheer number of makes, models, and applications, any choice must be made with some serious and detailed planning. If the selection of a display type and size has been made, often there will be more than one type of mount that can work for the location, and the selection will depend on the intended use. Mounting systems are available from display dealers as well as directly from the firms that specialize in the mounts. At the time of purchase, the local dealer should have a range of mounts in stock appropriate for each make and model carried or the dealer should be able to order a mounting system appropriate for the planned use. If you decide to shop for a mounting system on your own, there is a wide selection available from display mount manufacturers. They are also a rich source of information about which mount is appropriate for the type, make, and model display, and they can offer advice about installation. Some dealer Web sites have an online questionnaire that will enable you to quickly narrow the selection of mounts for your chosen video display.
Most of the available wall and ceiling systems include a bracket for the mounting surface and a bracket that attaches to the back or side of the display. These brackets may be connected directly to each other or separated by a pole or articulated arm for pivot and swivel mounting. Most also include some type of lever or latch that provides for a quick and easy joining and separation of the display bracket and surface bracket. Included with many polemount systems is a kit with plates to cover the pole ends and the mounting hardware. Most floor-to-ceiling polemounts can also be ordered with an assortment of attachable shelves for VCRs and DVD units. Internal cable concealment is provided, and there are even decorative plates in a range of colors and patterns that can be slid into slotted fronts on some mounts to better match the room decor.
Among desk-, wall-, and ceilingmount systems is a variety of moveable arms to join the display and surface brackets. These may have from one to three pivot points affording a wide range of positions for the display. The larger, heavier displays may require a mount with a gas-filled cylinder in the arm for better support and ease of movement. That feature is widely known as a gas spring or gas assist.
MOUNT UP — CAREFULLY
Once the proper mount for the application has been selected, the installation process follows. In this phase, careful planning can avoid a catastrophe. Some walls and ceilings will require substantial reinforcement before the mount and the display it holds can function properly and safely. Many mounting system specifications require that ceilings or walls be able to support at least five times the combined weight of the display and mount. A range of mounting brackets and additional hardware is available to suit the shape and type of material supporting the display screen.
Professional installers, called in after a do-it-yourself disaster, frequently find that mounting bolts have only partially penetrated studs or missed them entirely or that overtightened bolts have begun to tear out the supporting material. Another problem frequently found is one in which surface and display device brackets have been improperly attached to each other. In some cases, it's as simple as a latch that was never engaged. Often discovered is inappropriate mounting hardware for the surface used. Screws and bolts must be chosen specifically for wood stud, metal stud, or concrete surfaces. Inset wallmounts may also require proper ventilation, particularly for deep, hot-running CRTs. Some manufacturers offer small fans as an option for wall installations with recessed CRT or plasma screens. In the more exacting specifications such as the spacing of bolt holes, there are some common guidelines.
VESA FDMI STANDARD
One term that will frequently appear in video display system mounting specs is the Video Electronics Standards Association's Flat Display Mounting Interface (VESA FDMI) standard. In the world of flat-panel displays, the VESA FDMI standard will dictate several display mounting parameters. Among those are cable and power supply locations and the exact mounting bolt hole pattern the display will have. VESA, a group of more than 300 member companies involved in electronics manufacturing, and its FDMI guidelines supercede the older Flat Panel Monitor Physical Mounting Interface standard, originally published in 1997.
The specific objectives of the VESA FDMI standard involve defining a set of mounting interface guidelines for a wide variety of flat displays having a diagonal viewing area from 4 inches up to 90 inches. The standard is intended to specify options including desktop, wall, overhead, mobile, and specialty mounting applications. Also defined are interface mounting pads, wallmount brackets, and other mounting devices supplied by the various manufacturers. These include center and edgemount guidelines.
The standard consists of two primary parts. The VESA MIS-D, C 100/75 is the most common, and it specifies a 75-by-75 mm or 100-by-100 mm mounting hole pattern. The VESA MIS-E, C calls for a mounting pattern that measures 100 by 200 mm. Plates to adapt one mount to the other are available. If your display does not conform to the standard, the manufacturer should be able to supply adapter plates to interface its product with one of the VESA standard choices. Most often the wider spread of the MESA MIS-E will be specified for larger and heavier displays. The VESA FDMI standard has made the selection of video display mounts much cheaper and easier for buyers, and it has given manufacturers a uniform guideline to assist their marketing efforts.
Heading up the stable of video display mount manufacturers is Lucasey Manufacturing. Nearly as old as video itself, the company's expertise in mounting systems goes back to 1949. Lucasey offers interchangeable designs to meet a huge range of possibilities in display mounting situations, and each mount is tested to four times the published maximum load limit. For CRTs up to 500 pounds, the Atlas ceilingmounts feature an adjustable yoke to fit 30- to 45-inch monitors and patented squeeze arms for a secure fit on large TVs. Smaller ceilingmounts have swiveling trays, and for going in the opposite direction, there are countertop pedestal mounts such as the P 10 Series with a 90-degree swivel and a -15- to +15-degree adjustable or fixed tilt. Also offered are locking swivelmounts, slide-out models, and multiple-monitor ring and in-line mounts. Lucasey's double- and single-stud wallmounts can fit a wide range of monitor sizes, and their Weather Safe wall- and ceilingmounts can protect CRTs under a variety of harsh weather conditions.
Also available are lockable VCR and cable boxes. The VSOO locking TV/VCR stackermount can put a TV and VCR in the same unit with a single lock and features a 360-degree horizontal swivel. One especially interesting Lucasey product is the CMAH one-person, 500-pound ACM hoist system. With this portable tool, a single operator can easily hoist a 500-pound display up to 18 feet. Lucasey also carries a huge assortment of wall- and ceilingmount accessories and a wide selection of mounts for flat-panel displays.
Among its varied display mounting products, Chief Manufacturing offers the new Universal Wall Mounts for flat-panel displays. These are the USM Series static wallmount and the UPM Series pitch-adjustable wallmount capable of fitting more than 200 currently marketed large flat-panel displays. The pitch-adjustable model features Chief's Pull-N'Pitch system to allow easy hand positioning from vertical to a maximum pitch-down angle of 15 degrees. These mounts come in a black finish, center on 16-inch studs, have a weight capacity of 125 pounds, and will hold the face of the display about two inches from the wall.
The company also has VESA-compliant single and dual-arm wallmounts for flat-panel displays up to 40 pounds. For 10- to 20-inch displays up to 25 pounds, there is the FSD 4000 Series undercounter, swing-down mount that enables the display to be folded completely out of sight when not in use. Also offered are polemount systems featuring Chief's Q2 mounting system, which enables displays up to 45 pounds to be mounted to any 1½- to 2-inch diameter pole.
Draper offers an Aero universal plasma bracket that will fit any plasma display up to 50 inches diagonal and up to 100 pounds. The bracket is less than one inch deep and allows mounting ceiling, wall, floor, or mobile plasma displays in portrait or landscape configuration. Aero ceilingmounts for LCD and TFT flat-panel displays are available in five size ranges with 20 degrees of tilt at the ceiling plate, 0 to 35 degrees tilt at the LCD bracket, and 360 degrees of rotation. The Aero FPD wallmounts can be found in fixed, adjustable angle, and arm-swiveling configurations for displays up to 33 pounds. Aero brackets and mounts feature a slide system consisting of a keystone-shaped panel that slips down into a matching pocket, assuring a secure and easy fit. Floor- and tablemounts are also available for plasma displays, and many models include cable concealment and a two-outlet electrical connection on the vertical column.
OmniMount Systems joins the market with its ARC aluminum ceiling- and wallmount solutions for CRT and flat-panel displays. These feature OmniMount's ball-and-clamp attachment mechanism and sport CRT frames from 14 to 36 inches, flat-panel frames up to 42 inches, and custom-made options.
For plasma and LCD mount solutions, OmniMount can provide both fixed- and tiltmount VESA-compliant models for displays from 10 to 30 inches in size and as much as 40 pounds. The cantilever arms have a 35-pound weight limit, and their brackets have both VESA 75 mm and 100 mm bolt hole patterns. The swing-arm tension is easily adjustable by using a small hex wrench at the pivot hinge. The QM 300T plasma tiltmount offers 20 degrees of downward tilt range and a powder coat finish. The company also has an LCD flip-down mount for undercabinet installations up to 40 pounds. The Plasma P.A. tiltmount is used for pipe-suspended ceiling situations and fits a standard 1½-inch pipe thread. The selection of products from OmniMount includes adapter plates for a variety of specific plasma, LCD, and CRT display models.
Peerless Industries has wallmounts for CRTs with surrounding frame brackets and a weight capacity up to 300 pounds for wood stud and concrete walls. For smaller CRTs, Peerless has the Slimline wallmount with assorted trays to match the foot pattern of the CRT. An assortment of wall plates can be purchased to suit the style and weight of the display and the type of material to which it is mounted. Some of these can be installed behind drywall, and others can be placed on the opposite side of a concrete wall with holes for bolts to pass through in order to provide better weight distribution. The company offers a huge variety of mounting brackets and wall/ceiling arms to fit virtually any display. Also available are various mounts and brackets for VCRs and DVD players to be fixed to the bottom of the display.
The company's plasma mounts are available in fixed and tilt models, single and multiple displays, and articulating swivelmounts with three points of rotation. Pedestal mounts can be purchased with 15-degree tilt, 360-degree horizontal movement, and a maximum load of 150 pounds. The pedestals range in height from five to eight feet.
The company's fixed and tilting LCD wallmounts can handle loads up to 25 pounds, and the tilting model offers a tilt range of 15 degrees forward to 5 degrees backward. The fixed wall model boasts barely more than a half inch of protrusion of the display from the wall. For smaller LCDs (up to 10 pounds and 15-inch screen size), the undercabinet mounts can allow the display to slide out or swivel in place 360 degrees. When not in use, it can nearly disappear again. The Peerless stable includes rolling-cart models, suspended ceiling solutions, I-beam clamps, internal joist mounts, cathedral and truss ceiling adapters, and escutcheon rings.
In addition to its wall- and ceilingmount solutions, Premier Mounts has begun shipping its new swivel stand for plasma displays on a tabletop or other flat surface. The unit can swivel up to 45 degrees left or right of center, dependent on display screen size, and tilt up to 12 degrees. The stand features the firm's Clevis Mount sliding rod mounting system, and according to Premier, the six models of the stand offer solutions for mounting more than 90 plasma displays. Ceilingmounts for CRTs up to 42 inches and 350 pounds are available with 360-degree swivel. Plasma mounts can be installed in portrait or landscape configuration, and the floor-stand models are available with attachable VCR/DVD shelves. For LCDs there is the Prestige Series of VESA-compliant, full-articulation arms featuring a gas-assist positioning system, 90-degree up and down tilt, and 360-degree base and screen rotation.
Dutch manufacturer Vogel's has introduced its EFW Series LCD wallmounts. The EFW 1001 mounts the LCD flat on the wall with some turning and tilting. The EFW 1020 has two pivoting points and maintains minimum wall clearance. The EFW 1030 has three pivoting points for maximum flexibility in viewing angles, and all feature Vogel's patented Cable Inlay System for perfect cable concealment. The company even offers slide-in panels with an array of downloadable colors and patters to match your decor.
The vast selection of display mounting solution available will require a good deal of consideration in choosing which one will best suit your needs. For years of enjoyment from your video display, take advantage of the fact that manufacturers have streamlined the selection process with the VESA standard and a wealth of information on installation techniques.
Bennett Liles is a freelance television production engineer and audiovisual technician in the Atlanta area. He specializes in government video production, distance learning, and videoconferencing.
For More Information
Da-Lite Screen Company
Elitech International USA
H. Wilson Company
Large Screen Displays
Middle Atlantic Products
Video Mount Products
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