Q. I just bought an awesome Sony 65-inch 4K TV and I want to mount it on my wall in our living room. But here’s the dilemma. My wife says it should be placed above our fireplace mantel because there’s a natural space there for it. But I’m afraid that’s a little too high up and I’ll have to crane my neck to look at it. What’s your opinion? — Wayne, Fairfax, Virginia.
Wayne, you are right. Sorry, Mrs. Wayne, but there are few things that get me more worked up than the issue of where to wall-mount a television. In TV shows and commercials, I often see the set mounted just a couple feet away from the ceiling — and, yes — it’s often situated above a fireplace mantel. And it drives me crazy! (A main character in season four of Netflix’s House of Cards is a recent offender! You should know better, Joel Kinnaman!)
It’s a mistake for two reasons.
One, whether the set is mounted on a wall, or just sitting in a stand, the center point of the screen should be directly in line with your eyes. (See the picture above of the couple sitting across from the TV. That is the perfect angle.)
From that vantage point, you will see the best possible picture from your set. You know you have it placed correctly if you could draw an imaginary straight line from the screen’s center to your eyes when you’re sitting in the chair in which you normally watch TV.
If you mount the screen too high on the wall, your eyes have to adjust to focus on the center point and, consequently, your viewing is not as smooth. You will feel like you are constantly adjusting your seat position and that’s no way to watch TV!
Plus, if the set is mounted above your eye level, you will indeed have to crane your neck to watch it. That may be okay for a few minute, or even a 30-minute sitcom, but try watching a two-hour movie that way. (If you do, bring a bottle of Advil. You will get a headache!)
Finally, placing the set above a fireplace mantel is common sense-dumb. (Sorry again, Mrs. Wayne.) If it’s a working fireplace, the heat from the fireplace could do damage to your set. That’s why every TV manual warns you to keep your set in a cool place, right?
So, Wayne, no matter what the wife says, or what you see in TV shows, listen to the TV Answer Man on this one.
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— Phillip Swann