Jan 28, 2008: While there's a lot of good information on installing a LCD HDTV for the home or business, there's little information regarding the actual installation experience. This includes the caveat's and gotchas during the installation. A PCNS client undertook such an adventure, and the implementation and installation wasn't entirely smooth sailing. It is hoped the reader will benefit from this, so they will not make the same mistakes again.
Objective: Provide a wall mounted HDTV, in the customer's main conference room, capable of displaying PC Images from across the table, with wireless operation. This allowed meeting attendees to see site plans, PDF's, arials, and related information. They preferred a flat screen over a projection system because of display quality and performance reasons. While DLP or LCD Projection systems are coming of age and becoming very high quality, they are still no match for a high quality Flat Screen High Def Television, especially in a room with normal lighting.
Note: Click on the photos to see more detail.
Selecting a Television
Since the primary goal of this system is to display computer graphics, the best monitor type for the job is LCD. LCD (at this time of writing) provides a superior presentation performance over Plasma. While organic LED screens are fixing to surpass LCD, it's not here yet. It was necessary to find a solution in production now, not something that may look better in a few years. On the research at CNET's HDTV Buying Guide and advice from Best Buy, the best size based on budgetary considerations on the elongated 14' conference room was a 50" screen. Elongated conference rooms are a tough call. According to CNET's documentation, a 50" screen is suitable for viewing distances from 6.3 to 12.5 feet. A 60" TV ranges from a minimum 7.5' distance to 15 feet. While from reading this you might think the 60" would have been the way to go, 2/3rds of the meeting table would have been too close to the screen. If one does not know why it's bad to be too close to an HDTV, try looking up close - 3 or 4' away from a 60" screen at your favorite retailer, and you notice things get grainy and fuzzy, perhaps a bit overwhelming on the senses.
What compelled the customer in sticking with a 52" Samsung LCD (over a 60") was cost. The cost of a 60" LCD Monitor started at about $5,000; the 52" Samsung sold for $1,800.
Preplanning: PCNS cannot emphasize enough - plan, plan, and plan. By the time that TV sets on the wall, you're going to be dealing with a lot of people:
--Your Leasing Management: If your company leases office space, you will have to deal with the building maintenance supervisor, to determine the rigidity of the wall. The weight of the chosen system, a 52" LCD (not counting the steel wall mount brackets) is about 80 pounds. If you select a Plasma Flat Screen, it will be heavier yet. The HDTV wall mount bracket must fasten directly into the wall studs. There should standard, 24" stud spacing to support the load bearing weight over the service life of the TV.
Your people: Though there are some hard set rules, we found the best way to determine mounting height was to get the dimensions of the TV, and outline it against the wall. Get your people in the conference room, to determine the ideal mounting height. The client has one "tall Texan" so you want to make sure the TV is high enough where the person down from him can see the monitor completely.
The Electrician: Standard electric code specifies you cannot run the screen's cord up the wall (either outside or inside the wall) up to a power receptacle in the ceiling.
Tip #1: When you purchase the pivoting LCD mount (highly recommended, so the monitor can be angled downward towards the audience), the monitor itself or brackets cannot rub up against the power cord.
Tip #2: The power outlet must be mounted as high as possible. The installation was rescheduled, when the Best Buy Geek Squad Installers would not mount the TV, because the electrical outlet was too low.
Tip #3: When choosing a surge suppressor (and you should) have it on hand when installing the TV. It's more difficult to install AFTER the TV has been mounted.
The Installers: Our first visit was rescheduled, after Best Buy Geek Squad stated the outlet was too low. Now everyone knows, PCNS competes (in a limited way, and on a very small scale) with Best Buy Geek Squad. PCNS didn't have any say over the matter. PCNS found the installers to be friendly and knowledgeable, however, a retailer PCNS used, Starpower, in Dallas, for research (and another client) was much more helpful. Best Buy predominately wants to sell product and never see you again, that is, unless you're going to spend more money with them. Starpower, on the other hand, guides you every step of the way.
The Geek Squad installers liked our choice of wall mounts. This relatively simple mount allows the TV to be tilted downwards towards the audience. They were tepid about the higher end pivoting, telescoping arm mounts, like their more expensive Sauns Vision Mount, which allows the tv to be pivoted side to side, and away from the wall. They said, no matter how strong the arm is, it will cause the TV to sag over time. This type of mount, according to the Geek Squad guys, was much more difficult and tricky to install.
Tip #4: It's important to string all the signal cables first, because Best Buy will void the installation warranty if the TV is taken down, after they have performed the installation. You should check with your HDTV supplier, as warranties, with regard to the installation, may vary.
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