Flat Panel Wall Mounts Get Easier

Years ago, few people mounted their flat panel TVs on the wall. Most people simply put their sets on the same furniture where they had their old picture tube TV. Installing a wall mount was a task typically left to the pros. Then companies came to realize that DIY (Do It Yourself) consumers wanted to install their own wall mounts. Now you can find kits intended for consumer installation everywhere from Amazon to Home Depot.

But if you’ve shopped for a flat panel mount, you know that these can cost $100 or more; sometimes, a lot more. They have lots of complicated metal parts, and you need to get special tools such as a stud finder and a level in order to complete the installation. It’s not always easy.

Yesterday at the CES Line Show in New York City, I discovered that OmniMount has come up with an easier way to put your flat TV on the wall with their new “omnimount” model. The kit includes four plastic discs that you attach to your wall, and four bolts that you screw into the mounting holes on the TV slip into slots on the discs. The mounting system practically disappears.

To make the installation easy, the kit includes a cardboard template (environmentally friendly) that has places for all the possible locations of the mounting holes, including the standard VESA spacings. (OmniMount is one of the leading manufacturers of A/V mounting products, so they should know where all the holes are.) The template also has a bubble level built in; it’s not a precision tool, but it’s more than adequate to install a flat panel TV. Just put the discs in the right holes in the template, hold it level against the wall, and drill your holes.

One refreshing feature is that you don’t have to find a stud. OmniMount rates the system for up to 40 pounds when mounted directly on drywall. If you screw two of the discs into a stud, the load rating doubles to 80 pounds. (I expect that using alternate drywall hangers could increase the load capacity, as some of these are rated at 50 pounds apiece or more. To be conservative, however, stick with OmniMount’s limits.)

And the best news is that the system retails for just $39.95. It reportedly will be available soon through Amazon. The system is slick, attractive, easy to install, and priced right.