In the world of audio/video components, TV mounts are about as exciting as interconnect cables or wall plates. Sure, they’re integral to the install, but there’s not much to get excited about and client discussions generally boil down to, “Do you want the TV to sit flat and tight to the wall, do you want a little bit of tilt, or do you need to be able to pull it out and swivel it from side to side?”
Within those typical mount categories of flat, tilt, and full motion, your company likely has specific models that your installers prefer. These are mounts that feature metal construction to hold heavy TVs without warping, mounts that include a variety of bolts and screws to support multiple TV brands, and mounts with enough VESA sizing flexibility to accommodate a variety of sizes.
Because mounts are one of those “set-it-and-forget-it” items, I don’t really give the category much thought. That was until I saw MantelMount in action at a CEDIA Media Preview event. Here was a relatively ingenious design that addressed an absolute installation need in our market: customers wanting to mount TVs above a fireplace mantle, which puts them too high for comfortable regular viewing. And despite the fact that you caution them against this, the room layout–or client insistence–often requires mounting TVs significantly higher than we know will be comfortable for regular viewing.
While other mounts with vertical adjustment exist (think OmniMount’s PLAY and LIFT series) MantelMount products offer such a variety of unique design features and extreme range of adjustments that they are a compelling addition to your product offerings and worthy of closer inspection.
Shortly after CEDIA, I arranged for a review sample, with the intention of using it on an actual install job at my company when the right client presented. As it turned out, it took a while before I was able to install the mount; so long, in fact, that they discontinued the mount they had sent me. This turned out to be a good thing, however, as MantelMount revamped its entire lineup, and created a much improved model in the form of the MM540. The company was terrific about expediting a new unit, which I installed the next day at my own home.
Regardless of how many sets you’ve wall mounted so far, the MantelMount will likely be slightly intimidating at first, with multiple measurements and calculations required to make sure you set the TV high enough that it clears the mantle when lowered, yet not so high that it is unviewably high–or hits the ceiling–when retracted. Fortunately, the well-written, 16-page installation manual does a great job of guiding you through each step. Even so, allot a bit of extra time for your first go ’round, with subsequent installations likely not taking much longer than a traditional arm mount.
The first step is measuring mantle depth to determine both the overall vertical space required and how low you can mount the TV. As the mount lowers in an arc–pulling out before coming down and reaching its maximum extension–deeper mantles require installing the bottom of the set higher to clear the mantle. Fortunately, the manual details the measurements needed to ensure that you nail the location correctly the first time.
Once measurements are dialed in, installation is similar to a traditional arm mount. First you attach the vertical braces to the back of the TV, and MantelMount includes a large variety of different screws and spacers to support virtually any TV from VESA 200x100 up to 700x500. (An adapter kit is available to support certain non-VESA LG curved OLED sets.)
Lowering the TV up to 29 inches into the optimal viewing position is easy with the MantelMount MM540, and the powerful gas springs hold the TV in place at any point along its range of travel.
Next up is installing the extender bars and the horizontal brace. This combination is pretty inspired in that it not only allows you to mount a center channel or soundbar directly below the TV, but also includes a handle that makes lowering the set easier and safer. Adjusting most arm or motion mounts requires grasping the TV, which can put stress on most ultra-thin modern sets, but the MantelMount handle solves this. Oh, and the handle changes color from black to red if it reaches 110 degrees F, alerting users that the set is getting too hot above the fireplace. Brilliant! Taking a measurement from the bottom of the vertical brace to the bottom of the TV (or soundbar) determines the mounting height of the wall plate.
Due to the weight and forces exerted on the wall when lowering the set, you definitely want to get four lags (included) into studs. The wall bracket is 21.7-inches wide and allows you to shift as needed to hit two 16-inch on-center studs and the lifting mechanism can shift up to 8 inches off-center on the bracket, ensuring the TV remains properly centered over the mantle.
After mounting the TV onto the bracket, adjustments can be made to all ranges of motion, including the lifting force required for different TV weights (20-90 pounds supported), the bottom stop position to ensure that the arm doesn’t hit the mantle when fully lowered, the amount of side swivel allowed (35 degrees both left and right, or up to 60 degrees in one direction with the included side swivel kit), and downward tilt up to 8 degrees. MantelMount even includes a paintable wall cover to hide the wall bracket and make a more finished look, and has built-in wire tie clips to help manage and conceal wiring.
Lowering the TV up to 29 inches into the optimal viewing position is easy, and the powerful gas springs hold the TV in place at any point along its range of travel. Also, the mount is UL listed, having undergone 6,000 cycles of full-range motion, or down and up every day for over 16 years! Also cool is that the mount automatically straightens from a swivel position to flat when raising the TV, so nothing is damaged.
What’s not to love, right? Well, when fully retracted, the mount stands 5.7 inches off the wall, meaning the screen sits around 7 inches into the room, which might be too much for some homeowners. MantelMount does offer the step up MM700, which works with the company’s RB100 recessed box, resulting in only 1.75 inches of extension when retracted.
The highest praise I can give a product post review is that I start specifying it into jobs at my own custom installation firm, and the MantelMount definitely passes this test. And with availability at national distributors like 21st Century and Skywalker AV Supply, it’s simple to give MantelMount a try for yourself!
Well-written manual thoroughly explains install; easily pulls down and adjusts to accommodate virtually any viewing requirement
Holds TV off wall when retracted
► Supports TVs from 20-90 pounds; VESA mounting up to 200-700mm x 100-500mm
► 0-8 degrees downward tilt in all positions; 35 degrees left and right swivel (up to 60 degrees with included optional side swivel kit)
► Heat sensing handle turns red when temperature exceeds 110 degrees F
► Lowers TV up to 29-inches with 18.75-inches of extension from the wall; 5.7-inches from wall in retracted state
► Includes soundbar mounting adapter and paintable wall covers to conceal mounting hardware
► Dimensions: 34 x 25 x 8.5-inches (H x W x D), 29 pounds