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Ready, Aim, Mount

Projector Mount Manufacturers Keep Design Innovations Coming.

Chief Manufacturing evolved its projector mounts on its RPA Elites (pictured) to include a taller section to allow cables to pass through the mounts and to the projector without having to disassemble the mount.The universal projector mount has made the custom integrators life easier. For many years now, one mount from the manufacturer of your choosing could essentially accommodate projectors from many different manufacturers. Not about to rest on their laurels, mount manufacturers are now designing their hardware to accommodate the aesthetic of the many different residential environments that their dealers may encounter.

The increasing popularity of two-piece projection systems in custom installations has made these changes a worthwhile investment for mounts manufacturers. Sanus Systems vice president and general manager, Jim Wohlford, agreed that the projector mounts business is growing because, projectors have gotten so darn good. Weve seen a big increase in demand over the last few years, he said.

Mounting Considerations
Chief Manufacturings product manager, Derek Derks, pointed out that in the last three or four years, universal designs have been the trend in projector mounts. One SKU fits over 90 percent of the projectors that are available on the market, he said. That makes stocking for dealers and distributors very simple and eases confusion when youre on the jobsite.

When installing a two-piece projector system, screen height and size is the first consideration in determining how far the projector should be placed from the screen, and how high the projector must be mounted. From there, explained OmniMount general manager of professional products, Hal Truax, the integrator must find an acceptable wire routing path to the projectorone that allows the cabling to be concealed easily with little patching or painting of the ceiling when completed. Power is also a consideration, Truax added. Many times an electrician will need to be brought in to install an outlet at the projector location.

OmniMount’s PMD2 universal projector mount has adjustable pipe, built-in pitch, and adjustment control. Supporting projectors up to 40 lbs, it also features an integrated cable management system.

In homes, most projectors are mounted simply with a low-profile model, keeping the projector up close to the ceiling. The disadvantage of this approach is in its limited range of tilt and difficulty to route cables. Another option is an adjustable height model for ceilings in many newer homes that are very high, vaulted, or cathedral style. The adjustable mount is necessary is a room requiring the projector to fire straight ahead to the viewing screen. New adjustable-mounts designs are allowing for easier cable management via routing cables through the adjustable poles.

Jason Cole, Premier Mounts marketing communications manager, sees many benefits to using adjustable-height mounts. They are pervasive in the residential side of the market, Cole said. The downside is that because its adjustable in height, there are more adjustments to make. It may take longer to get the exact tilt and height.

When a mount needs to be lower in a room to match up with the screen, the mount should be more aesthetically pleasing as well. The aesthetics can be anything from using curves and smooth shapes versus the angled bent metal of the typical little metal box, Cole said. You see a lot of smoother shapes, slow transitions from the ceiling down to the projector itself. And it definitely includes cable management to hide all those nasty wires.

As part of its WorldMount Series of products, OmniMount’s 3N1-PJT universal ceiling projector mount handles small to large projectors with a 40 lb mounting capacity.

With projectors getting smaller and lighter over the years, corresponding mounts and accessories have been scaled down, too, with lighter alloy metal construction.

Spider Mounts
The spider mount has become a popular universal mount in recent years. These mounts have a small hub and four legs that extend to reach the numerous hole-patterns on a projector.

Keith Fulmer, president of Video Mount Products has designed his companys spider-style, yokeless mount to be as universal as possible. This will accommodate some of the older, bigger projectors as well as the really small micro projectors, he said.

Peerless designed its spider universal adapter plate to make it easier for the installer. If an end-user wants to change the projector, the adapter plate will still work.

Peerless director of product development, Derek Lam, also sees the trend for installers, dealers, and distributors to prefer the universal design. Peerless designed its spider universal adapter plate to make it easier for the installer. If an end-user wants to change out the projector to a newer better model, the adapter plate will still work. Its a time and money saver for the installer, Lam said. Its an investment in this universal product. He can use it over again without charging the customer.

Sanus mounts come with decorative housings that snap on and hide the mechanisms. The customer can choose if he wants to match the projector or his ceiling, said Sanus Wohlford. Housings are paintable so that we can truly match the ceiling.

Installers Preference: Pitch, Tilt, Yaw
One of the key features from Sanus projector mounts is independent roll, pitch, and yaw. That means when were installing a projector there are three motions we have to get dialed in to have it perfectly registered to the screen, Wohlford said. The ability to dial in each of these independently is a big advantage for the installers.

For Peerless PRS mount, adjustment is also available for the installers. If they want to adjust in tilt position first, then adjust the roll (left, right) then adjust swivel, thats the third axis they would adjust, said Peerless Lam. Another product is the PJF2-UNV with a load capacity of 50 pounds. Instead of adjustments made on three axes, its all done using a ball joint. It seems to be faster, but we find that so many installers prefer doing the 3-axis method, some people prefer the ball joint method, Lam said. It comes down to installer preference.

Last September, Peerless launched its PRG USV, which adds more installer benefits. Instead of having to hold on to the projector with one hand while youre on a ladder balancing yourself and adjusting the mount using your other hand, Lam said, this new design has two knobs to adjust image alignment. Just reach up, grab the knobs, pull it out so you have a better grip, and adjust like a joystick. This is a great product for installers who play a lot of Nintendo.

In the summer of 2006, Chief released a micro-adjustable projector mount. When aligning an image to the screen over a long distance, very minute changes in adjustments can result in big movements of the image, said Chiefs Derks. We built in micro adjust, which simplifies installation. The number-one item of feedback we got regarding the RPA Elite Series of mounts is the time savings involved in the micro-adjust feature.

Video Mount Products’ Universal Yokeless projector mount

Video Mount Products looked at adding a lot of the options for fine-tuning of mounts. We found from talking to different dealers that almost all the projectors now have that technology built into the software, Fulmer said. A lot of those fine-tuning features are overkill to some extent and they tend to drive the prices up. We stayed with a basic model and it will accommodate all the projectors people are using in their homes. It has the standard tilt, pitch, and yaw adjustments.

Cable Management
Cable management is a huge part of the aesthetic video projector mounts. The objective is to have the cleanest, most aesthetically pleasing installation possible. Mounts, extension poles, and ceiling plates that have provisions for cable management are the most desirable, as these allow the cables to be fed through the inside of the pole and, subsequently through the center of the mount, concealing the cables until they become exposed at the point of connection, said OmniMounts Truax.
In the home, a lot of people are using Monster cables and shielded cables where each cable can be as thick as 3/8 of an inch. Peerless products are designed with enough cable management access to fit the cables through, along with the heads of the cables.

Most of the mounts also have cable management exits so that you can run the cables in and out of the columns, creating a clean look for installation, said Peerless Lam.

Chief ensured that the inside diameter on its fixed and adjustable columns is never smaller than 1.5 inches. That way youre able to route all the cables down the column so theyre not viewable when theyre installed, said Chiefs Derks. You have plenty of room for all those big connectors that would be passing through the column.

Chief built a cable exit port on the side of the column. On one end of every column theres a port that you can pass the cables out of if you do need to exit at the ceiling and plug into an outlet, Derks said. On the other end, Chief evolved its projector mounts on its RPA Elites to include a taller section to allow the cables to pass through the mounts and to the projector without having to disassemble the mount.

Premier Mounts’ Polaris Universal Projector Mount fits most projectors that weigh less than 10 lbs and features patented MagnaGuide technology and Lock-It Security Hardware for a safe and secure installation.

Quick Release Designs
For when projectors require maintenance, such bulb changes and filter cleaning, most manufacturers make it easy for the projector to be routinely popped out of its mount. Quick release is important feature when coupled with the locking independent roll, pitch and yaw feature, Wohlford said. With Sanus quick release, we unlatch the thing, drop it down, clean the filters, replace the bulb, put it back in, and the registration is maintained. That means we dont have to send one of our best technicians out to the job site to do this. A customer can even do it himself.

Joy Zaccaria is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York.