So you've decided to jump on board the technology revolution and bought yourself a flat panel television. That's great and I'm sure you are very excited to see what it can do. But there are a few things that you need to consider after buying one of these televisions that you might not know about. I am here to explain what these are so that you are a more educated consumer.
The first thing you should realize is that while these televisions produce a beautiful picture, it is never as good as it looks in the stores. Why is this you ask??? Well, when the manufacturers make these tvs, they turn the contrast and brightness of the tvs way up so that when they are on display in a store, the picture looks the best that it can possibly be. The problem with this is that displaying the tvs like this will eventually damage your screen and force you to buy a replacement. For this reason I suggest never buying a floor model and checking the brightness and contrast of your tv when you get home.
Second, after buying you lcd tv, you are going to need all the proper cables to hook up all of your components to the tv. If you want HD(High Definition) you will need to buy component cables to hook them up. Component cables provide the best picture quality outside of an HDMI cable. But 9 times out of 10 the salesman will try and get you to buy the most expensive component cables they carry(for more commission) claiming that they will provide the best picture quality. This is simply not true. A component cable is a component cable. No need to break the bank on that one.
Third, you will need to buy a mounting bracket if you plan on hanging the tv on your wall. There are essentially 3 different types of brackets to choose from.
The first is called a Flush Mount Bracket. These simply hang your tv flat against the wall. Stationary. The next is a tilting Flush Mount Bracket. These are the same as the first except they allow your tv to tilt up or down for better viewing. The last is what is called a Cantilever Bracket. These allow your tv to hang stationary, tilt up or down, or move left or right. If you use this bracket, many times your tv will need an adaptor plate in order to properly screw the bracket to the back of your tv. Make sure to ask your salesman to check that out for you. If you need one, be aware that these adaptor plates cost almost as much as the bracket itself, so be prepared to shell out some dough. Between buying the bracket of your choice, cables and an adaptor plate(if you need one) be prepared to spend another $200-$400.
Finally, once you do all of this, you will need to have your Lcd or Plasma Tv mounted to your wall. There are two options for you here.
One, you hire an experienced A/V installer to come and hang it for you. If you choose this option, make sure you find a reputable installer. There are many fly-by-night installers that will make this experience a nightmare for you. Check some references of theirs and maybe prepare a couple of questions for them to make sure they know what they are doing. Using a professional, experienced installer is the easiest way to go, but be prepared to pay up to $600 for their services.
Two, you can mount it yourself. If you choose this option you will save yourself a nice chunk of money, but you can be trading the money for lots of headaches if you are not properly prepared. Make sure you have all of the tools you will need including a cordless drill, at least 14v, fishtape(to snake your wires through the wall),a nutdriver,drill bits,a level,tape measure, stud finder, and in most cases a friend to help you lift the tv.
Mike Ferrara began A/V installations about 3 years ago. He is passionate about his work and has learned a lot about the A/V business. He currently works as a lead technician for one of the biggest A/V companies in the country.
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