The Beauties Behind the Bezels
Mounts, once drab and display-specific, are now reaching the forefront of flat panel purchasing decisions, offering style points of their own.
By Brian Ploskina
At January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Panasonic showed off a 103-inch plasma television.
Now, obviously this unit wasn't something the company was shipping to retail outlets anytime soon, but the unveiling provided a giant-sized example of a particular point: Flat panel televisions—plasmas and LCDs—aren't getting any smaller, and you'll find very few consumers who are interested in placing their pride-and-joy 60-inch plasma sets on top of entertainment centers.
In other words, these babies need to be mounted.
The good news is that choosing the right mount for your customers is likely to increase their satisfaction with your install jobs overall. In all but the rarest cases, mounted flat panel TVs don't come back to the store. "There's one big benefit to the retailer mounting the panel: It means it gets set up and calibrated correctly," says Hal Truax, general manager of custom install for OmniMount and a former custom installer himself. "The return rate is near zero when a TV is mounted."
However, to the average consumer, mounts—and mount brands—are largely indistinguishable. The ones who are smart enough to hire a professional installer depend on the fact that you know the difference.
The mounting industry has gone through a major transformation over the past three years, the tail end of which we're still experiencing. As recently as 2003, mounts were still incredibly specific to the TVs they were designed to hold up, which made life in the stockroom interesting for electronics retailers.
"Panel-specific mounting plates made it difficult for the hybrid retailer to manage its inventory," remembers Truax. Dealers had two options, both of which cost a lot of money: Stock every mount necessary to support every TV they sold, or risk not having the right mount in stock for the TV a customer was ready to purchase. In that worst case scenario, the dealers not only lost out on attachment sales, they missed out on the TV margins too!