This Integration Guide to Racks and Mounts was sponsored by Chief, Installer's Choice, Lowell, and Premier Mounts as a supplement to Residential Systems, June 2013.
Available in three models defined by their weight capacity, the Draper AeroLift projector lifts are powered by tubular motors and feature a stabilizing arm, which can be used for cable management. As the literal spine holding up AV products, mounts, lifts, and enclosures are an essential step in completing clean, professional integration projects. It is a supporting role that rightly takes its development cues from the leading products in the industry, and in the case of residential integration, that is often flat-screen displays. While articulated and motorized solutions are a welcomed addition to the wide array of AV support products in the consumer and pro AV markets, good ol’ traditional mounts and enclosures are still proving to be great options for big and small integration projects.
OmniMount’s recently launched OC80FM TV wall mount, which is compatible with most 37- to 63-inch TVs currently available, has been pitched as “ideal for entry-level consumers looking for a low-profile and easy-to-use large full-motion mount.” A hit for OmniMount, Zach Eyman, senior product manager for the company, attributes the OC80FM’s success to its high-end look and feel in addition to its aggressive price point.
“The mount fits a wide range of panels, making it easier to spec, and has all the features necessary for a clean and efficient install,” Eyman noted. “The OC80FM has proven a great solution for installers and home owners.”
Designed to address common integration problems, such as leveling and stud location, Chief Manufacturing’s Fusion series of flat-panel mount solutions, which includes everything from wall and ceiling mounts to carts and stands, have been an attractive option for its customers. In the series, the wall mount systems are notable for having fixed, tilt, and pullout options that work well individually or in combination to create larger digital displays, while Fusion carts and stands can be used for single display or video walls.
OmniMount’s recently launched OC80FM TV wall mount, which is compatible with most 37- to 63-inch TVs currently available, targets entry-level consumers that want a low-profile yet large and full-motion mount. “Our Micro-Adjustable Tilt Wall Mount offers post-installation adjustment features to help ensure professional results regardless of where the studs are located and if the anchors are a bit off from level,” said Luke Weston, associate product manager for Chief. “With the generous amount of adjustment available in the mount, you are sure to have a solidly aligned display right where you want it.”
Premier Mounts’ AM100 ultra-slim, low-profile, swing-out mount works in tandem with the companion INW-AM100 in-wall box to support large-screen, lightweight TV displays up to 100 pounds. “It features an extension capability of up to 30 inches from the wall, 15 degrees of downward tilt and 180 degrees of swivel adjustment for ultimate flexibility in display positioning,” explained Tom Noack, Premier Mounts’ marketing manager. “The mount also smoothly and easily retracts to an extremely low profile of 1.5 inches from the wall. The dedicated and secure INW-AM100 in-wall box provides the necessary space to store power and signal cables, as well as media players and cable boxes. It also provides an option for universal or international power sources and is secured with a key lock lid. The box also features cutouts for cable routing directly to the swing arm to keep cords organized and [to] prevent pinching.”
To broach the barrier between outdoor and indoor spaces, Peerless-AV has created an extensive product series called PeerAir, which specifically caters to wireless content streaming. Featuring a wide selection of mounting solutions to complement the company’s Wireless HD Multimedia System (HDS-WHDI100) and the HD Flow Pro Wireless Kit, the PeerAir line is aimed squarely at the residential system consumer.
Manufacturing’s Fusion series of flat-panel mount solutions includes everything from wall and ceiling mounts to carts and stands. “Our unique line of integrated wireless mounting systems, the industry’s only integrated wireless mount for both indoor and outdoor applications, have seen tremendous lift given the increased interest in the development of outdoor living spaces,” said Nick Belcore, vice president of North American sales for Peerless-AV. “The backyard has become an extension of the living room. And we have seen a major increase in our sales of outdoor/ environmental products.”
Within SnapAV’s Strong line of mounts, the Contractor Series of articulating mounts (SM-CS-ART2-L/XL and SM-CS-ART1-M) have been the leading sold product for the company, according to Erin Bowman, marketing communications manager for SnapAV.
“These models are a full-feature solution at a competitive price for budget-conscious jobs,” Bowman noted. “It’s not only a solidly built piece, but features full articulating motion, integrated wiremanagement and easy tilt adjustments. It’s also universally compatible and, like all of our products, we designed this mount to be installer-friendly; it installs in just minutes.”
Salamander Designs’ Cabinet Integrated TV mounts sidesteps wall mounting all together by mounting the television directly onto the cabinet—a solution that company president, Sal Carrabba, pointed out is ideal for apartment dwellers.
Salamander’s Cabinet Integrated TV Mounts are a unique solution to safely securing a flat-panel TV without the cost and aggravation of wall mounting,” Carrabba said. “Although our Integrated TV Mounts deliver the sleek look of a wall-mounted solution, the TV is actually mounted to the AV cabinet, ideal for apartment dwellers or for locations with brick or concrete, where wall mounting is particularly challenging. Salamander’s Integrated TV Mounts also fully accommodate all related wiring, providing a neat and clean appearance in the home.”
The Peerless-AV HDS-OWK-200 wireless outdoor kit attaches to an outdoor TV, eliminating the need for signal cables. In the case of Crimson, the AU series of ultra thin articulating mounts have been a best seller. Designed, according to company president Vlad Gleyzer, to provide the lowest profile while retaining the ability to expand the size range from VESA 200 hole patterns to 300 and 400 hole patterns, without compromising or covering inputs, the AU series are fit for a variety of residential and commercial projects.
“We added safety mechanisms that make it an appealing solution for hospitality and mobile environments, which provides integrators an opportunity to diversify their offering and create niche solutions,” Gleyzer explained. “It’s a convenient and value-priced go-to line that serves many purposes and provides a very real benefit to integrator and end-user alike.”
At Bell’O International, the 7615B tilting wall mount has enjoyed success among the company’s dealer base because of its versatility, durability, and ease of use, said Marc Sculler, CEO. Compatible with almost all 37- to 80-inch flat-panel TV displays up to 200 pounds, the 7615B stands out for its ability to accommodate addons, such as a soundbar, using Bell’O’s 7912B universal soundbar mount.
Sanus’s best-selling mount, the VMPL50A, is a redesign of the company’s VMPL50. Featuring newly integrated technologies to aid easy installation, a lower profile, and open wall plate for cable management, the VMPL50A now accommodates larger televisions from 32 inches to 70 inches and up to 150 pounds. Using proprietary ProSet technology, the mount also allows installers to adjust the height and level of the display after hanging, while TV brackets snap into place on the wall for further ease of installation.
“The depth and overall size of TVs has an impact on how we engineer and design our products to function fluidly and consistently,” said Lauren Theobald, senior marketing channel manager. “Many mount manufacturers do not take varying depths of TV’s from LED to LCD into account, and therefore, the mount’s performance is not consistent. Our mounts hold the TV in the desired position and the user can move and interact with it without tools! Also, the depth of our mounts is reflective of the depth of the TV as well.”
Lifted, Racked, and Enclosed
Having exited the static mount market a few years ago, Draper has moved into developing motorized conceal/reveal products, among them the AeroLift family of projector lifts. Available in three models defined by their weight capacity, the AeroLifts are powered by tubular motors and feature a stabilizing arm, which can be used for cable management.
Crimson’s AU series of ultra thin articulating mounts was designed to provide the lowest profile while retaining the ability to expand the size range from VESA 200 hole patterns to 300 and 400 hole patterns, without compromising or covering inputs. “They have a very small profile, making them easy to work into the smaller spaces our customers work with,” said Bob Hadsell, Draper’s home theater sales manager. “The range of sizes and weight classifications makes it easy to work with most projectors in the residential market.”
Inca’s Ultra-Silent flat-screen lift can be mounted at the foot of a bed, in a desk, kitchen counter—anywhere integrators can cleverly come up with. Able to accommodate flat-screen TVs between 16 inches wide to 80 inches wide, the Ultra-Silent lift is designed to reveal and conceal flat-screens using a motor contained within a moving bar housed in the unit.
“Our clients know that when they come to Inca, they are receiving a unit built in America with care and diligence and that they will receive the best possible unit to date,” said Roger Fortier, who handles technical support for the company. “[Our lifts feature] a slim design, sturdy construction, superior engineering, and near-silent operation. [They] also allow for ease of installation, and [there ’s] a simple method of shipping of the units.”
Lowell’s LPTR series of racks, specifically built for the residential systems market, feature a pullout mechanism that makes them ideal for custom cabinetry. The 19-inch EIA open-frame rack has heavy-duty slides for smooth, pullout access to equipment, while a push-button lock eliminates latch binding as the rack rotates on a turntable and a lockout mechanism automatically engages to keep the rack in a fully extended position when equipment is serviced.
“This rack mounts in cabinetry and [can be] pulled out and rotated in either direction for easy access to the rear of the equipment,” said Thomas Lowell, residential sales manager for the company. “When pulled out, the rack locks in place, and then from there, you can rotate it in either direction where it will lock in 60- or 90-degree positions.”
Able to accommodate flat-screen TVs between 16 inches wide to 80 inches wide, the Inca Ultra-Silent lift is designed to reveal and conceal flat-screens using a motor contained within a moving bar housed in the unit. Middle Atlantic Products has three popular categories of enclosures that are dependent on location, system size, and customer preference. As explained by Mark Tracy, director of product management and business development, the company’s in-wall racks offer a flush, high-tech appearance while allowing slide-out access to equipment, with the AX-S and SRSS series as the best examples of this category in action. MAP’s CFR (Cabinet Frame Racks) and Slim-5 Series are the highlights of the company’s millwork and furniture-mounted racks, ideal for hidden installations where equipment ventilation and cable management are necessary. Finally, for larger systems in need of a dedicated equipment room, Tracy pointed to MAP’s BGR and MRK vertical-welded racks, which accommodate the deepest equipment, the greatest amount of cable, and are best for high heat density applications.
As has been the trend, ever thinner and lighter televisions have driven innovation in the mount segment, while smaller and wireless AV components have exerted influence in the design of enclosure products.
“The development of very thin and lightweight TVs have pushed us to manufacture units in a more compact or thin style,” Fortier said, echoing some of his manufacturer colleagues. “And, at the same time, have allowed us to push the envelope further on certain models accepting larger size TVs that are much lighter. This trend of thin lightweight TVs has allowed our engineering department more freedom in design and may lead us to new complete designs not imagined before.”
Lowell’s LPTR series of racks, specifically built for the residential systems market, feature a pullout mechanism that makes them ideal for custom cabinetry. Interestingly, enclosure manufacturers Lowell and Middle Atlantic have reported another significant shift in the market that will impact the design of their future products: the growing integration of IT and networking products with AV systems.
“For us, the IT market will have the greatest impact,” said Tom Lowell. “I see us broadening our rack line, as well as accessory items for the IT market. By broadening, I mean deeper and taller racks to accommodate the enormous size of servers. With the servers, of course, come the large bundles of wiring which takes up more room in the rear of the rack. Also, with the large servers is the weight, so IT racks have to be more robust.”
MAP’s Tracy noted that “networked AV systems will continue to have a significant impact on enclosures design considerations, as well as on the cable management and cooling required by networked digital devices. We will continue to develop innovative enclosures that can accommodate digital control, switching, network devices and media servers, but equally important to the reliability of the system are IP power products, like RackLink, that can reboot these devices automatically and remotely, or smart fan systems that move more air as a rack gets hotter—or less when it’s off, saving energy.”
Middle Atlantic Products’ in-wall racks offer a flush, high-tech appearance while allowing slide-out access to equipment, with the AX-S and SRSS series as the best examples of this category in action. The evolution of display devices and consumers’ growing reliance on networked AV components ensures that this category, the physical backbone of integrated systems, will continue to thrive on both traditional designed mounting/enclosure mechanisms, as well as newer, sleeker ways of concealing, revealing, displaying, and controlling home entertainment systems.
Llanor Alleyne is a contributing editor to Residential Systems, based in St. James, Barbados.
Real Sound Inc.,
Bethel Park, PA
How have you utilized mounts to boost your business?
We have boosted our business and are reaping the rewards simply by bringing the Crimson line in and utilizing the vast assortment of off-the-shelf and custom solutions that they have available. The line is built right, priced right, supported by a great team, and backed with a 10-year warranty, so there’s really no question as to the value provided. There’s plenty of margin built in, which allows us to be competitive in the marketplace, with solutions that function well and elevate the quality of our work day-in, day-out. And, because the line is well protected and not broadly available online, it is one that we don’t get shopped on or have to justify the pricing of at every turn, which is both an added value and a huge benefit.
Interior Systems Design, Inc.,
Sun Valley, CA
How have you utilized lifts to boost your business?
We use a variety of Inca lift mechanisms to conceal/reveal large flat-screen televisions and monitors. The choice of mechanism is typically determined by the characteristics of the space itself. If there is no attic space, or if there is another floor above the room where the TV is to be located, we use “fold-down” or “fold-down and extend” mechanisms, as they typically fit in a standard ceiling space, although framing is generally required to accommodate the mechanism. The “fold-down” mechanism works particularly well for bedrooms, as TVs are generally mounted higher than normal to provide the most comfortable viewing angle for a person viewing it from bed.
Briefly describe a project in which lifts helped you to achieve great results.
We are currently working on a project that uses both a “fold-down and drop,” as well as a “vertical double-drop ceiling lift” in order to provide TV viewing in a couple of spaces that require complete concealment of any type of electronics when not in use. The “folddown and extend” lift is used on a patio to reveal a 55-inch TV at a comfortable viewing height when sitting and standing. No cabinetry is required for it as it drops out of the ceiling and is completely hidden and protected from the elements when not in use. The vertical double-drop ceiling lift is used to reveal a large (and heavy) 84-inch 4K TV in a living room in front of a fireplace transforming it into a home theater.
The Stereo Shop,
How have you utilized mounts to boost your business?
The Salamander Cabinet Integrated TV Mounts are an ideal solution for apartment dwellers, transients, and anyone who prefers not to make holes in their wall for a TV mount. My customers love how they look, and there are no holes in the wall to patch up should they decide to relocate. These mounts also have an important safety advantage versus a stand-mounted TV on a cabinet, which could fall over and potentially cause injury. Salamanders’ integrated TV bracket holds the set securely and requires no unsightly screw holes into the top of the beautiful furniture.
Briefly describe a project in which mounts helped you to achieve great results.
The Stereo Shop recently completed an installation for a customer that included a bedroom TV that, due to room geometry, had to be located at an odd angle in relationship to the bed. Salamander’s motorized mount enabled us to secure the TV in the most visually attractive location while making it easy for the users to optimize viewing angle from the bed at the touch of a button.
Atlanta Home Theater,
How have you utilized mounts to boost your business?
Simply put, we can increase our profit margins without sacrificing quality and, in turn, our reputation. The vast array of models from SnapAV allow us to mount our products effectively in any scenario to meet our client’s needs while decreasing engineering and installation time.