Audiogurus Review: MantelMount Fireplace TV Mount
I have never been in this situation before—I’ll just admit it. Normally I’m pretty unbiased and aloof when I do a product review. The problem is, I came up with an idea about six years ago for a television mount that would lower the TV in front of a fireplace mantel. I say that I had the idea because it’s something I wanted, having written about and reviewed literally dozens of mounts in my time. The product didn’t exist. I searched for it, asked about it, even talked to several manufacturers about it. I didn’t want to make a new product and get rich—I just wanted a solution to a common problem: Having to strain your neck upwards to see a television mounted high above a fireplace. The MantelMount Fireplace TV mount is the first product to solve this problem—and it is, to my knowledge, the ONLY product of its kind currently on the market.
And, if you have mounted your TV above your fireplace, you should buy it. Quickly, because the introductory price is low ($229) as part of the company’s kickstarter campaign. After the campaign is over, this mount will retail for $389—still priced underneath many articulating mounts on the market that do far, far less.
The MantelMount Fireplace TV Mount Design and Features
The MantelMount caught my eye because it brings the TV out and over your fireplace mantel and allows you to view it at eye level. There are a number of wonderful things about the mount, however. First off, it uses pretty standard components, like automobile-grade lifters (similar to the ones that you’ll find lifting the rear glass on the back of an SUV). It allows you to slightly pivot your TV once its lowered for left and right angled viewing. It features an adjustable tensioner, so that no matter what your TV weighs (provided it falls within the 40-100 lbs weight limit) it raises and lowers your flat panel TV with minimal effort (yes, even your grandmother can do it!).
The system ships in well-protected packaging that looks far more professional and put-together than many more mass-produced products I’ve reviewed. There was little chance of damage due to the Herculean efforts of UPS to the contrary (the distribution centers, not the drivers). It also comes with panels that cover the majority of the mechanism and can be painted to match your wall. Even the most experienced manufacturers with the most widespread TV mount lines haven’t spent much time in that area of concern.
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In short, this is a well-thought-out, well-engineered, refined product right out of the gate. The fact that they’ve already done their production and engineering (and have inventory) also means that this is one of the lowest risk Kickstarter campaigns I’ve seen to-date.
Installing the MantelMount Fireplace TV Mount
The articulating Mount is really a three-piece design. The support component is your typical “install it to the wall and secure it” structure. For this, you want to hit your studs and make sure that this part of the process is absolutely rock-solid so that you can use the mount with confidence. Next, comes the lift mechanism that easily fits into the middle with a notched protrusion and a retaining bolt. Before you go to the next step, you’ll want to be sure to set the tension significantly lower so as to allow you to pull the mechanism down as needed to install the back plate and eventually mount the TV to it. When I first installed the MantelMount I noticed the way in which tension was adjusted, but figured it needed to be very strong in order to support the weight of my reference 55″ Samsung Smart TV. That wasn’t the case, and I bent the bolt that allows you to keep the system in the lowered position while you install the TV. If you have that much tension, you need to loosen it up.
Loosening or otherwise adjusting the lifter tension involves the use of a straight 1/4″ hex bit that inserts into a standard socket. While it works, it also falls out of the socket a lot, making me wish MantelMount would include either a standard 1/4″ hex socket or invert the tensioner to a 1/4″ male hex protrusion that didn’t fall out and merely required a socket to adjust.
I mounted the vertical supports to the back of my television. They are taller than most because they are designed to be mounted less than an inch above the bottom of the TV. You then insert a horizontal bar that allows the adjustment handle to be fastened. Without that handle (which is heat-sensitive and will turn red if the temperature exceeds 110ºF) you’d have to gran the TV by the sides to pul it down. With today’s wider TVs that would be very difficult (forget grandma). After installing the vertical mount pieces to the back of the television, I got my trusty (and sexy) assistant (who I happen to be married to for nearly 17 years) to help me lift and place the TV onto the mount. Mission accomplished.
I further adjusted the tension at this point to make sure the TV lifted and lowered with barely any effort, and it didn’t have any difficulty staying in either position securely. All that was left was to run my wires, securing them to the mount via hook-and-loop straps, and place the decorative cover panels over the back part of the mount. I’ll paint these at a later date to match the wall color.
Note on Installation and Wiring
One tip I’d suggest is to carefully plan your installation in terms of power and wiring. With this mount, you have a considerable amount of room behind your television—that’s a good thing. With many tilt mounts, you have to place power and connectivity above the TV mount bracket because it wouldn’t have enough clearance otherwise. With the MantelMount, you have enough room to cut a single or double gang hole into the decorative cover panels and mount your power and low voltage video and audio connections right to that piece of metal—behind the TV. This keeps everything hidden and clean—and it will have you looking like a real pro. Another thing to note is that MantelMount understands fireplaces and heat and has supplied the kit with two plastic ends for your wiring. Between them you can run metal flex conduit to protect your cables from melting in the wall (a more common occurrence than you’d think). You will absolutely want to use these if you have an active fireplace that’s more than just for decoration.
I love this mount. For $389 it’s a steal. There’s nothing like it and currently no way to accomplish the goal of lowering your TV down in front of a fireplace or mantel. With the MantelMount, you solve a huge problem in modern homes where the TV is in a place with great aesthetics—but poor ergonomics. I’m hoping the company sells out of mounts quickly…and then sells out of them again. I could see this mount breaking all sorts of sales records once they switch to a high volume production line. With the number of TVs I’m aware of that are mounted above fireplaces, the potential sales are well into the hundreds of thousands.
Everyone with a TV mounted over a fireplace should want this MantelMount television mount. Check out their web page and get one at a discount before they’re all sold out and the price goes up.
See original article at: AudioGurus