Easily mount your HDTV
Donald Bell shows you how to liberate your HDTV from its stand and mount it on your wall by yourself and on a budget.
When I moved into my new place, I left behind my ancient, embarrassingly small TV. I jumped up to a 47-inch HDTV, which is still modest by today's standards, but big enough where I had good reason to worry about it toppling over -- especially with a kid in the house.
I decided to wall-mount the TV, not just to protect my kid (and the TV) but because a beautifully mounted TV looks amazing. It's like it's just floating there, defying gravity.
After doing some research on wall mounting, three things became clear. First, mounts have become ridiculously inexpensive. The Cheetah Flush Tilt mount I went with was only $30, and it came with its own HDMI cable and two levels.
Second, the project is easier than you think. Unless you're trying to mount a TV on brickwork or on a wall with non-standard in-wall stud spacing, this is a "moderate" difficulty project at most. The hardest part is summoning the bravery to drill into your wall.
Third, and most important, the real difficulty is figuring out how you're going to conceal the cables running from your TV. A wall-mounted TV with a mess of tentacles dangling from it looks much worse to me than just leaving it on a stand and running the cables behind your furniture.
Unless you conveniently have an outlet and low-voltage cable pass-thru already behind your proposed wall-mount location, you'll either be arranging a visit from an electrician or compromising with some kind of cord concealer painted to blend in with your wall. I was too stubborn to do either, so I went with a product called PowerBridge designed to safely run both power and AV cables through your wall. It's a great product, in theory, but the number of horizontal braces (or firebreaks) in my wall made the whole process too messy to detail here as a separate How To.
Regardless, I recommend figuring out ahead of time how you're going to wire up your mounted TV. If you don't, the feeling of accomplishment around mounting it yourself will be short lived.
As far as the installation itself, the video above pretty well covers it. I used a screwdriver (one with interchangeable tips helps, as well as an extender to tighten those lock screws), a drill, a pencil, a magnetic stud finder, and a socket wrench (though my old skateboard wrench did the trick). The whole process, including the careful consideration of TV height and placement, took under an hour. I would also recommend having an extra pair of hands, especially if the TV you're mounting is over 50 inches.
Would I recommend this as a do it yourself project? Absolutely! Think it through, though, and be sure your stud spacing is compatible with the mount and you have a plan for how you'll deal with managing the cluster of cables that inevitably accompany today's TVs.
If you have any questions, leave them here and I'll do my best to answer them or point you in the right direction.