Industry Opinion: What will give a Systems Integrator the Edge when Specifying a Residential TV or Projector Mount?

Any custom installer worth their salt will know that a well-designed, easy-to-install mount can save time and money, even if it costs more than a cheaper alternative. Nothing lets an installation down more than a wonky, wobbly, ugly or difficult-to-manoeuvre TV or projector.

So what should the installer look for in a mounting system that will give them the edge with their customers? We asked a number of leading lights about their thoughts on the subject. Here are their replies:

Wim Arts, Marketing Manager, Vogel's Products From the system integrator's point of view, the TV or projector is the very last part of the AV chain - the system design, the audio and video sources, the switchers and cables or wireless connections all come first. But from the client's point of view, the TV or projector is the very embodiment of the installation - the interface between all of the electronics and the human eye. At Vogel's we think it is really important to make this final interface as good and as comfortable as possible, because this is the system's connection to the end user. In nearly every professional installation, the TV or projector has to be installed on a wall or in a ceiling. A good mounting system is required if this is to be done quickly and easily. Depending on the room and viewing position of the user, the ideal viewing angle can be established, and if required, it is possible to view from multiple positions using a swivel mount, which can save on costs if there is a limited budget. In residential projects especially, the look and feel of the mounting solution is important, and can help to blend in the TV or projector with the room. A cheap and rough mounting solution can let down what was otherwise a great installation, so yes, a high-quality and stylish mounting solution will give the integrator the edge with their customer.

Melinda von Horvath – Senior Director of Sales and Marketing EMEA, Chief Manufacturing System integration has become more complex than just installing single TVs or projectors as today’s residential installations require peripheral equipment, such as speakers, media players and games consoles, to blend into the decor as well. This calls for mounting solutions that are modular, flexible, future proof and easy to service. A system integrator who can meet this demand by offering modular mount solutions that allow flexible placement of these accessories will have a big advantage. Secondly, systems integrators should be able to allow their clients to visualise the custom mount. For this, online tools that allow the integrator to easily configure a mount solution that incorporates all of the accessories they need to complete the job will be advantageous. Ideally, those tools should also allow the entire installation to be visualised, and integrators who can provide this to their customers during the specification phase will certainly have the edge.

David Webster, Chief technology Officer, RGB Communications From the custom installer's view, there are a number of important considerations when specifying flat screen and projector mounts for a residential installation, even though they represent a small percentage of the overall install value and may not seem important. Too often, mounts are regarded as being just cheap, bent metal! However, the right mount is actually really important to the person doing the installation and the CI for whom he or she works. If the mounts are a fiddle to install, they can extend the install time dramatically. If they aren't flexible and can't be mounted exactly where the customer wants, this can and does frequently involve another visit to site with additional materials or an alternative mount. If installation of the mount requires two people, that ties up valuable resources that could be used elsewhere. Whilst mounts may only represent approximately 3% of the hardware costs, they can easily turn into a much bigger percentage of the labour costs, and delay completion. So, the 'bent metal' can make a huge difference. Saving money on the 'cheap' purchase price can often turn out to be a false economy.

Jonathan Kings, Operations Manager, AV4Home Specifying a TV bracket for a customer can be tricky. Unfortunately, TV manufacturers seem to adopt inconsistent rear fixing hole formats, spacing and even thread size - some using 4mm screws for a 32-inch screen, another using 8mm. Positions of power and HDMI connectors also vary, so the wrong mount can conflict with where the cables plug-in. The edge is often provided by having a supplier that has the range, versatility, quick delivery and the knowledge to make sure that when you arrive at your customer's home, you will have no problems finishing your job and avoid having to make additional expensive visits. If your customer has a new thin LED TV they are also not expecting to have a large unsightly TV bracket supporting their beautiful sleek new television, so your supplier should also offer a range of high-quality, well-finished, low-profile brackets. Planning the job in advance, knowing the screen model details and having a discussion with the customer in advance as to how cables are to be managed and hidden where possible, will help the installer to meet and exceed the customer's expectations for the completed installation. The installation of projectors is a similar story, but planning the installation is more important given the need to often run much longer cables through ceiling voids and route to vision inputs and sound systems.

Phillip Davenport, European General Manager, Premier Mounts When specifying a mount for residential use, an integrator should choose the best possible product for the client's needs. A well-thought-out product that installs easily, quickly and most importantly correctly will help the integrator maintain their perceived level of expertise in the eyes of the customer. Products that offer a lifetime warranty and that are easy to maintain will also promote the long-term value that the integrator offers. Any project is only as good as its weakest link. Therefore mounts, and accessories in general, should be given the correct time, effort and budget to get the most from the completed set up. By doing this, the integrator will develop trust from the customer and be able to set their offering above the others in truly understanding the needs of the customer.

Wakeley Gage, Operations Manager, Draper Group With today's plethora of mounts available, integrators need a quick, clear solution for their purchasing decisions. Whether they find the information in catalogue or web-based form, the information must be clear, concise and simple to use. Manufacturers must therefore provide this so that consumers and integrators can quickly find the correct mount, either for projectors or flat panels.

Yasmin Hashmi is the Editor of HiddenWires magazine. Additional comments on this issue can be found at the HiddenWires LinkedIn Group where you can also participate in the discussion.

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