Q. We have a fantastic fireplace in our living room and we used it a lot this time of the year here in New England. But I was wondering about the TV we have mounted above it. It looks great up there in our room, but could the heat from the fireplace hurt our TV? — Penny, Burlington, Vermont.
Penny, you have reason to be concerned. 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!
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. 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?
Bottom line: Mounting a TV atop the fireplace may be stylish, but it’s bad on your eyes and your TV.
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— Phillip Swann