How to Mount a TV: A Proven Step-by-Step Guide

Today you are going to learn about how to mount a TV with this step by step guide.

In fact:

These are the same steps that I have used to install more than 100 television per month.

<image>

So whether you are a total beginner or a seasoned installer, you will love the powerful TV mounting tips in this guide.

Let’s get right to it.

1. Create a Plan of Action to Mount your TV

When you “Create a Plan of Action to Mount a TV”, you SAVE time and money.

Which means more joy for you 🙂

For example, check out these two TV installation pictures:

<before and after img>

Look, mounting a television to your wall seems like a fantastic idea.

<img>

That’s right: it saves floor space and lifts the screen up to where the whole room can 100% easily see it!

And all that was really done was to set a Plan of Action in place (“Mount the TV”) to make the room better.

Pretty cool right?

However, if you start the process without a plan, it can quickly turn into a nightmare.

So, help the process of mounting your TV go much smoother by setting some goals and expectations from the beginning.

With that, here is our own proven system used by our own certified TV installers:

  • First, set S.M.A.R.T. installation goals
  • Tackle one small installation goal at a time
  • Determine what is required for your action plan
  • Actions required to achieve your installation goals
  • Put your actions in your schedule
  • Follow through the action plan
  • Execute your plan of action to mount the TV

The objective of setting your S.M.A.R.T. goals is to create and follow a plan to successfully mount your TV on the wall.

<img>

Here is how to create a plan to mount your TV on the wall.

S.M.A.R.T. installation goals provide a specific path to follow and a deadline to achieve.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time

Specific: Your goal of mounting the TV is clearly defined. “I want to have my TV mounted on the wall,” is super vague.

“I want to have a new 98 inch Samsung QLED 8K UHD TV installed on the wall with a full-motion mount, have all the low voltage cables concealed inside the wall, and the power outlet relocated before the end of the week” is more specific.

Do not be vague: If you never have installed a TV why do you think you know everything that is needed to professionally mount it.

Measurable: To make the goal measurable you need to specifically quantify your goal so you know you achieved it.

Count everything that is needed,

A measurable goal when wall mounting a TV is knowing all the required information and then following every single step recommended.

Attainable: An attainable goal is a realistic goal. Do not set yourself for failure trying to install the TV the wrong way.

Do not daydream,

Why would you want to install a TV when you do not even have a technical background or all tools?

Relevant: The relevant goal of mounting a TV on the wall should fit within your ultimate plans in life.

Do what matters,

It is easy to think we save money by doing it ourselves.

But, do you really have to mount the TV instead of spending the weekend with your loved ones?

Time: Set a time table to install everything needed for your TV to be mounted on the wall.

Recommendation:

It is not recommended to spend more than one day on a TV mounting project.

Tackle one small goal at a time.

Yes, it is a big goal! but set milestones and you will complete the whole project faster.

Create small goals that move you to take action and accomplish the big goal.

Do not procrastinate because you think you have time.

Confused? check out these two situations:

If it is your goal to install the TV above the fireplace in 4 days, create small goals of how much you need to get done in day one and then on day 3.

You will know right away if you are falling behind when it is one week and you are still looking for the best online deal.

Determine what is required for your action plan.

Be very specific on what it takes to achieve all your small and big goals within the time frame.

Using the TV above the fireplace goal example, to safely install it, you need to follow the National Electric Code.

In this step:

You want to determine what type of materials are the ones approved for your type of installation.

What is the proper height to mount a TV over the fireplace so the heat does not damage the screen?

Are the HDMI cables rated to be inside the wall?

Think about all of the devices you will need to connect such as the cable box, Bluray player, audio receiver, speakers and remote control.

Make sure that your shelving unit or cabinet has enough space to hold everything.

Are the cables for the devices you plan to connect rated for the type of installation and are they long enough.

Also, consider the place where you want the TV mounted.

How is the ambiance lighting?

Will the wall support the TV?

What is the best height when you choose a place for the TV?

Is the TV mount rated to hold the weight of your television set?

Does your TV need a particular wall mount that only the manufacturer sells?

What are the dimensions of the TV?

What are the weight and size prohibitions of the TV bracket?

Is the TV compatible with the TV mount you are planning to purchase?

Are you planning to fit the mount into a small space or custom-built cabinetry?

Will you have to move the TV often?

Will the television be positioned within an angle?

Actions required to achieve your installation goals

Which actions do you need to follow through to achieve your plan of action and mount your TV?

For example:

if you need to make 3 trips to the hardware store, what actions do you need to take to find all the materials?

The right answer is: Make a list of thing to buy

If you need to find equipment that is not sold at the hardware store, what actions will it take to find which store has it?

When mounting a TV, the task in this section usually involves identifying opportunity costs.

However, it also involves not breaking the TV and not hurting your lower back when lifting the TV.

Not breaking water pipes when running cables inside the wall nor burning the house since you are not an electrician.

Put your actions in your schedule.

When you complete all of the recommended actions, you should have a to-do list of tasks to finish the TV install.

Make a Daily Plan:

Finally, it is time now to put all of the tasks into your schedule by making a daily plan.

These are the tasks you do each day to that get you closer to finishing the TV install project.

If you are working 40 hours a week, commuting 8 hours a week, doing laundry, buying groceries, having a social life, exercising regularly and going to church on Sundays.

It can be extremely challenging to add additional chores to your daily routine, but it’s crucial to achieving your goals.

One wise way to make it all work is to learn how to efficiently manage your time, so your plan of action stays firm.

Follow through the action plan.

Have a daily schedule:

It is highly recommended to have a daily schedule and small goals to aim for during the process of working on your main goal.

Follow the schedule:

Do the daily tasks you think you can do and when you feel like things are not going as planned, find a way to keep yourself motivated.

Consistency is key:

It may seem like a no-brainer but consistency is key.

unfortunately, undisciplined people do not finish the installation on a regular and consistent basis.

Do not be a quitter:

It is all about perseverance. In most cases, the plan does not fail, people simply quit.

Keep track of the results:

It is a fundamental step to keep track of your accomplishments and results.

Set aside time to evaluate how well your plan is working, and make changes it if you do not make the progress you want.

Work on getting the action plan done.

The true test of whether or not you will succeed mounting your TV is not only by having a good plan but working hard on your plan.

Many would-be TV installers get the point that they have a plan, but then do not follow through on it.

Focused on your goals, celebrate the small successes, and always keep your eye on finalizing the TV installation.

Execute your plan of action to mount the TV.

Elaborating a plan of action is key to successfully mount a TV.

However, executing it always is the most difficult part.

This very extensive guide contains everything you need to know when mounting a TV.

And now that you know how to successfully execute a plan of action to mount you TV.

Continue reading, now it’s time for…

2. Tools and Materials Needed to mount a TV

The tools and materials to successfully mount a TV depend on different factors.

Those factors are established by the wall material and type of installation you are doing.

Additionally, your skill level and experience in the past doing home improvement projects play an important role to successfully install the TV.

Or maybe your personal case is the opposite,

You are not a handy person but would like to see if you can mount the TV without paying a TV installer to professionally install it for you.

However, you do not know what kind of tools and materials are needed or what it is really involved in.

You just know that mounting your TV on the wall will make the space in the house look better, and provide a more suitable viewing experience.

Or maybe you only need a list of tools and materials needed so here it is:

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Stud finder
  • Flashlight
  • Power drill
  • Hammer drill
  • Pencil and paper
  • Level
  • Sockets
  • Screwdrivers
  • Tape Measure
  • Electric tape
  • Fishing rod
  • Masonry drill bit set
  • Carbide-tip masonry drill bit set
  • Diamond tipped drill bit set
  • Metal drill bit set
  • Tile drill bit set
  • Snap Toggle
  • Drywall screws
  • Plastic anchors
  • Concrete screw
  • Concrete anchors
  • Oscillating tool
  • Vacuum
  • Handsaw
  • Neodymium Magnet
  • Center punch
  • Keystone wall plates
  • Keystone inserts
  • Low voltage mounting brackets
  • HDMI cables
  • Optical cables

However, if you want to get a list that is more specific and categorized by the type of walls here it is:

Tools and materials needed for TV mounting on drywall.

Mounting a TV on drywall is the most frequent situation.

So the tools and materials are very basic.

It is very likely you already have the tools if you have done some other home improvements around the house.

Tools needed for TV mounting on drywall.

  • Stud finder

This will help you identify where the wood studs are for more secure mounting.

  • Power drill

A variable speed drill will keep you from stripping the screws.

  • Drill bits

Have drill bits for wood and steel is always a great idea.

  • Level

You’ll want to make sure the TV is level both horizontally and vertically.

  • Sockets

The mount connects to the wall with bolts and sockets are necessary to make sure they are tight all the way in.

  • Screwdrivers

Standard and Phillips head screwdrivers to install the TV mount arms to the back of the TV.

  • Tape measure

It is very helpful to have a tape measure available since you need to measure the TV and the wall.

  • Safety goggles

It’s important to always protect your eyes when working on projects involving power tools.

Materials needed for TV mounting on drywall.

  • Drywall screws

Drywall screws are a must since they can provide extra support if necessary.

  • Pencil and paper

It is a good idea to have a pen and paper ready when taking all the different measurements and reference points.

  • Snap toggles

In the event, extra toggle bolts are essential when there are no studs where you need them.

After all, not all home builders follow all building codes.

  • Extra bolts

In case you are missing some extra bolts in the mounting kit.

For exact step-by-step installation instructions, check the manual and illustrations that came with your TV mount.

Tools and materials needed for TV mounting on bricks.

Mounting a TV on bricks is a somewhat more advanced installation. So the tools and materials are different.

  • Hammer drill
  • Carbide-tip masonry drill bits
  • Concrete anchors
  • Concrete screws

Hammer drill:

A hammer drill delivers all the necessary extra power and torque to get through the brick wall.

Carbide-tip masonry drill bits:

Standard drill bits are not strong enough to penetrate the brick and will break. Carbide-tipped masonry drill bits are better.

Concrete anchors:

It is a fact that concrete anchors will fasten the mounting bracket securely to the brick.

Concrete screws:

And specially designed concrete screws are stronger and used even on reinforced concrete.

Tools and materials needed for TV mounting on aluminum studs.

Mounting a TV on a wall that has aluminum studs inside is one of the most challenging TV installs.

And mostly reserved for experienced installers.

It also requires additional types of tools.

  • Center punch
  • Neodymium magnet
  • Center punch
  • Metal drill bit set

Center punch:

Drill bits tend to wander when you first start drilling.

To prevent this, measure and mark where you want the hole and then use a center punch and a hammer to create a small dimple.

Neodymium magnet:

 A Neodymium magnet is the strongest type of permanent magnet commercially available.

Therefore, makes finding the metal stud inside the wall extra easy and more accurate.

Metal drill bit set:

Drill aluminum studs using metal drill bits. Unless you want to struggle.

Tools and materials for hiding cables.

There are no doubts about it, a wall-mounted TV looks better when all the low voltage cables are hidden inside the wall.

Tools needed to conceal the cables when installing a TV.

  • Fishing tape, glow rods, electrical tape
  • A flashlight
  • A pair of gloves
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A hand saw
  • Electric tape

Materials needed to conceal the cables when installing a TV.

  • Conduit
  • Keystone wallplates
  • Keystone inserts
  • Low voltage drywall rings
  • In-wall dual power and cable management kit
  • On-wall cable cover

Conduit:

Conduit serves as both protection and support for low voltage cabling and has an orange color to signify it contains low voltage wiring.

Keystone wallplates:

keystone wallplates are designed to accommodate a variety of jacks and connectors for both single and double gang wall boxes

Keystone inserts:

Keystone inserts allow you to customize your wallplate.

Simply select an HDMI, coax, Ethernet or audio insert for your keystone wall plate.

Low voltage mounting brackets:

Low voltage mounting brackets are used as covers that provide openings for outlets through the wall.

In-wall dual power and cable management kit:

An in-wall dual power and cable management kit allows you to hide wires and cables behind your walls.

But most importantly,

It is against the law to run standard power cords inside a wall.

We run into this situation so often that we wrote about NEC compliance to help our clients better understand the risk of not properly following building codes.

On-wall cable cover:

On-wall cable cover is the next best possible solution.

They are easy to install and very affordable

Plus, they come in a variety of lengths, shapes, and designs.

Even better, they are paintable so you can match the wall color.

Many tools used in the TV mounting profession may cost hundreds of dollars.

Having said that, these tools can help to save several hours of hard work on a project.

In addition, these tools and materials remove most of the danger involved in doing the job near electric and piping systems.

Finally, if you do not have all the tools you need and you do not want to invest in them, you can rent them at some home improvement stores.

3. How to Buy a TV

First, decide if you would like to purchase a 4K or an 8K UHD TV.

There is A LOT more to buying a 4K or 8K TV than: “sticker price.”

Here is the deal: on average for an extra 20% monetary investment you get 4 (x) times better picture quality.

I don’t know about you but that’s great overall VALUE.

With that, here are some concepts to consider when buying your new TV:

What is the difference between 4K & 8K?

Plain and simple, the picture quality is the result of high resolution delivered by a television set.

Where resolution equals the total number of pixels per square inch (PPI) in a picture.

Therefore, a greater amount of pixels (“8K”) provides better picture quality compared to one that contains a lower amount of pixels (“4K”).

With that said, here are some (“technical knowledge”) that helps you make the best decision.

4K HDTV facts:

  • 4K HDTV provides four times (4X) the picture resolution of a regular HD (High Definition) TV.
  • The horizontal picture resolution of a 4K UHD TV is approximately 4,000 pixels.
  • The equation is simple more pixels = more picture details.
  • You can seat closer to a 4K UHDTV since the picture is so sharp and clear.

What distance is recommended for a 4K UHD TV screen?

Seating approximately 1 to 1 1/2 times the total screen height fills your field of vision.

Content problems with 4K UHD TV?

All 4K UHD TVs come with built-in 4K up-conversion/scaling which takes the video signals and fills the 4X greater pixel count on a 4K screen.

Is a 4K UHDTV compatible with my HD system?

This processing enhancement makes a 4K HUTV completely compatible with all your existent HD video components.

The fact is, if up-conversion didn’t exist, you would have a rectangular image on 4K UHD TV right at the center of the screen with black bars on all sides.

4K UHD TVs with big screens?

All TV screens benefit from a much higher pixel count, making the pixel grid virtually invisible. 

A 4K UHD TV not only offers a more detailed picture but also allows you to sit closer to a larger screen while enjoying unprecedented clarity.

8K UHD TV facts:

  • 8K HDTV provides four times (4x) the picture resolution of a 4K HDTV.
  • The horizontal picture resolution of an 8K TV is approximately 8,000 pixels.
  • The equation gets simpler more pixels the better picture details shown on the screen.

Do the extra pixels matter in an 8K UHD TV?

Absolutely, yes! 4K UHD TVs deliver an 8.3-megapixel image vs 33 MP image delivered by 8K UHD TVs.

My calculations tell me: that’s 24.9 megapixels MORE than a 4K TV compared to what you get when you buy an 8K TV.

Is 8K UHD content available?

8K UHD TVs also come with built-in 4K up-conversion/scaling just like 4K UHD TVs.

We recommend you to purchase an 8K UHD TV.

Hands-down buying an 8K TV provides better overall value and picture quality.

Plus, keeps your TV future proof for at least 7 more years.

Secondly, decide between QLED or OLED.

Secondly, if you are wondering, what’s the difference between QLED vs OLED?

OLED TVs (“Organic Light Emitting Diode”) use ORGANIC compounds that include carbon (C) and other ingredients to create colors and emit their own lighting.

Additionally, no LED backlighting is required so OLED is thinner.

However, since they are thinner they are also very fragile.

On the other hand, QLED TVs (“Quantum Dot LED TV”) use a metallic quantum dot filter to enhance color and contrast.

Exponentially boosting the capabilities of HDR (“High Dynamic Ratio”).

Plus, 4K image brightness is 100% better.

However, relies on LED BACKLIGHTING.

Thirdly, if you are asking yourself “why is LED backlighting so important?”.

Here’s how it works:

The light comes from thousands of LEDs located behind an LCD panel.

Then, the LED light passes through the “LCD matrix” which dims the amounts of light to create colors and subsequentially the image we see on the screen…

… here you can see how it is done:

Up next, what’s (“HDR”)?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it is what it is used to define the contrast between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks.

Here is an infographic from Multimedia Tech:

HDR Infographic
HDR Infographic

Yup, that’s a richer color spectrum. And a major change when comparing the contrast ratio.

Additionally:

You can see the comparison between HDR TV (“High Dynamic Range Television”) and SDR TV (“Standard Dynamic Range”):

Where the most OBVIOUS difference is the improvement of contrast and the color spectrum delivered by HDR TVs.

(Note: The image is initially captured by a recording device. Then, it shows how the image gets processed by the television to finally replicate an image that is as close as possible to the color and contrast perceived by the human eye).

Nice.

And lastly, the fact that it doesn’t matter if you followed all the tips I gave you before. If the TV size is wrong then it looks awful.

In general, you want to buy a TV that fits the wall size.

In fact:

I personally believe that this is the number one question most clients have asked me for several years.

My universal answers are:

  • The bigger the better.
  • Go big or go home.
  • Keep saving more money to get a bigger screen.
  • Your 70″ TV is going to look like a 32″ on that huge wall.
  • It’s amazing what some extra inches can do.

Needless to say: If you are a person that is all about numbers, the following guide I wrote WILL help you to make a decision.

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

To calculate the suggested minimum and maximum VIEWING DISTANCE for an ultra high definition television UHTV.

Simply multiply the TV size by 1.5 to find the minimum viewing distance.

Or simply multiply by 2.5 to find the maximum viewing distance.

That’s it.

But, TV size and proper viewing distance are what matter the most to you then…

… head over to TV size and viewing distance guide:

TV Size and Viewing Distance Guide

There, you can find GRANULAR DETAILS and a table that I put together and that you can use as a reference.

4. TV Cables, Connectors and Ports

Your new television comes with different types of TV cables, connectors, and ports.

As a result, figuring out what connects where can be confusing.

Additionally, there is a logic behind all those peculiar cables and connectors that connect to your television ports.

As a matter of fact, let’s define first their functionalities and then their main differences.

<image>

Cables

Here’s the truth:

High-quality cables can make you audio and video signals better.

So, what’s a cable exactly?

A cable is a conductor that transmits analog and digital signals…

…not to mention that cables come with an exterior layer of insulation that keeps the signal from spilling to other conducting wires.

<image>

In other words, all cables include the connectors, conductors, insulating coating and connectors.

Therefore, several conductors inside a cable can have their own functionality and technical specification.

The following are all types of cables your TV may need.

HDMI Cables

High Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI cables transmit audio, video, control signals, low voltage power, ethernet and copyright protection (HDCP).

Optical Cables

The latest trend is optical cables use a fiber optical cable to transmit a digital audio signal.

Ethernet cables

Ethernet cables connect a TV to the internet. A hardwired connection is faster and more reliable.

USB Cables

The main function of USB cables is to transfer audio, video, data and even charging components.

Component Cables

Red, blue and green component video cables transmit high-quality analog video. Commonly referred to as analog HD.

Composite Cables

Commonly composite video cables transmit analog video in standard definition (SD). Commonly referred to as analog HD.

RCA Audio Cables

As far as RCA audio cables transmit analog audio signals mostly with the stereo format.

Auxiliary Cables

Remember auxiliary cables transmit analog audio signals using a 3.5 mm connector.

One Connect Cables

Uniquely made, One Connect cables transmit audio, video, and infrared signals through a single fiber optic cable.

Also, the Samsung One Connect Box is a media receiver with a built-in TV tuner.

In addition, it minimizes cable clutter by functioning as a hub for connecting all the compatible devices.

Connectors

Connectors are the electromechanical devices that connect terminations and create an electrical circuit.

For this reason, it is important to know that connectors are the same as plugs and that they have a male gender.

Ports

All ports allow the connection of peripherals electronic system through input or output ports.

Consequently, keep in mind that ports are the same as sockets and have a female gender.

5. Select a TV Mount

Choosing the right TV mount type is one of the main aspects of ensuring the desired functionality and aesthetics are met when mounting a TV.

TV Mount Types Infographic

TV Mount Types Infographic showing 6 different mounts used when mounting a TV to the wall[/caption]

Depending on the TV size and viewing distance, televisions are the focal point of the room.

TV mounts come in different types of functions:

Tilting: Move up and down +/- 0 to 30 degrees.

Flat: No tilt allowed.

Articulating: Combine Tilting, flat and angle capabilities.

Ceiling: Combine Tilting, flat and rotating capabilities while attached to the ceiling.

Motorized: Integrate a small engine capable of adjusting the TV mount to the desired tilt, angle, and rotation.

Video Wall: Designed for commercial applications, video wall mounts allow to perfectly align several TVs horizontally, vertically or a combination of both.

Additionally, TV mounts can have specific designs:

  • Pull down
  • Double Arm
  • Single Arm
  • Low profile
  • Single stud
  • Double stud
  • Universal

Also, how large the TV mount depends on the VESA standard your TV comes with.

So, what is the VESA Standard?

The VESA Standard is the distance in MILIMITERS between the four mounting holes on the back of a TV (“distance horizontally x distance vertically”).

VESA is a standard used by most TV manufacturers and helps to select TV wall mounts and wall mounting systems.

Where can I find my VESA size?

The easiest way to find out the VESA size of your TV is just by measuring the distance between the mounting holes.

Plus, you can refer to the specifications in the product manual.

Locate the four holes in the back of your television and measure these from left to right and top to bottom.

What are the most common VESA sizes?

VESA 100 x 100
VESA 200 x 100
VESA 200 x 200
VESA 300 x 200
VESA 300 x 300
VESA 400 x 200
VESA 400 x 300
VESA 400 x 400
VESA 600 x 400
VESA 800 x 600

To sum up, VESA is a standard adopted by all TV manufacturers.

It is the distance between the mounting holes in the back of the TV in millimeters.

Whether a TV wall mount will tilt, swivel, or stay fixed the VESA mounting size is always the same: horizontal x vertical distance in mm.

How to find the right TV wall mount?

TV wall mounts ensure a safe and firm on-wall installation for all televisions.

TV mounts come with different functions, designs, and VESA standards.

Easy peasy.