Brackets & Mounts: Adapting to change

Brackets and mounts are a necessity in almost all projects. Amy Stoneham looks at how they are having to adapt to changes in the market.

The smart home and home entertainment market is continually evolving, with TV screens growing larger and thinner, and touchscreens having more functionality in the control of homes. In the high-end market, trends to make aesthetics sleek and minimalist are ever more present.

Integrators are working with interior designers and architects to continually find new creative ways to make the most of space by hiding screens or disguising them as art when not in use. A trend to flush-mount touchscreens, TVs and other devices is also becoming more common for a neat and tidy appearance.

Making all of this possible, bracket and mount manufacturers are having to keep up with the rapidly evolving market to ensure its products support these latest formats.

To create ultra-thin displays, Adrian Summers, UK national account manager at Future Automation explains that some display manufacturers are separating the electronics inside the display from the panel to an external connection box, presenting challenges for mounting manufacturers: “These displays feature a fibreoptic cable that tethers the display to the connection box which is more fragile than a traditional display/power connection. The optical cable shouldn’t be folded or pinched as the central strand is fragile, so our team always need to be mindful of this when designing cable management solutions into our display mounting/concealment products.

“This trend has changed how many display installers approach their display mounting. We would often see surface mounted displays with all wiring going back to a central server room. However, we now see clients seeking solutions that allow them to mount these connection boxes directly behind the display to reduce the length of optical cable required. These often take the form of an in-wall box which is recessed into a wall to create space for the client to mount the separate connection box, Apple TV, or networking directly behind the display.”

When it comes to TVs getting larger, mount manufacturers not only have to think about ease of installation, but also how the end user will interact with the display. “Larger sized TVs are becoming more affordable and thus we are seeing the market really trend towards larger sizes where 75-in and larger are going to take over,” says Ryan Hagberg, marketing director for SANUS. “Keeping up with that trend and making sure that our products are compatible with the larger screens has been critical for us. We are reviewing our current assortment and thinking about future development and what that looks like to try to accommodate those larger sizes.

“TVs are getting so big that you can’t even reach the sides of them anymore,” Hagberg continues. “How do we allow easy movement when you can’t grab the whole TV? These are things we are thinking about, not only with installers and how they get the product into the home, but how the end users interact with TVs.”

Mounted art displays can be used to cover displays when not in use. Images: Future Automation

It’s an art

Well actually, it doesn’t have to be an art, as long as the correct brackets and mounts are used to enhance the look and usability of a display and other home devices. Where it used to be common to always have a TV on display, a new trend has emerged to conceal TVs entirely with art. Brackets and mounts can help to make this possible by hiding displays, projectors and other devices inside walls and ceilings, with electronic mounts bringing the devices out when they are required.

“Technology concealed within furniture and joinery is also experiencing a growing surge in popularity in recent years,” adds Future Automation’s Summers. “Clients are looking for versatile, yet beautiful ways to display precious art or artefacts as well as conceal and reveal their display. We regularly partner with Matthew Hill Bespoke to offer handcrafted media walls to satisfy this growing demand. These media walls are popular as they can be designed to fully conceal a display mount, lighting, audio, sliding panels, and in some cases, even fireplaces. All without a wire in sight.

“Customers are gravitating towards these categories of product over just a functional display mount because they can turn their display into an art piece, giving it a sense of occasion when the TV is concealed and revealed from behind an automated sliding panel. This demand has challenged our team to build using more exotic sustainably sourced materials and finishes compared to our more industrial metals.”

These mechanisms are also popular in homes with limited space. It is not uncommon to have multiuse rooms rather than a dedicated home theatre space, and hidden technology that can be brought out on brackets and mounts when needed are becoming more popular.

“Concealing a projector from view when it isn’t in use is the most common challenge faced by integrators looking to incorporate a home theatre into a project,” Summers continues. “This is why we’re overhauling the design of our projector drop range to make it even more discreet. Pairing this mechanism with a bespoke media wall with an integrated motorised projector screen lets integrators create a traditional luxury living room that can instantly transform into a home theatre at the press of a button.”

Future Automation's projector mount hides the projector in the ceiling for a clean and tidy aesthetic

Aesthetics vs. functionality

In the past, brackets and mounts were designed to simply hold a TV, projector, or iPad onto a wall or ceiling. Nowadays, technology has enhanced the function of these mounts and brackets to help conceal technology or neatly place them flush-mounted inside a wall.

“For a long time, mounts were seen as an eyesore; no one wanted to see a mount,” highlights Hagberg from SANUS. “But thinking about how a user now uses their TV, they can pull it out from the wall and swivel it left and right. We’ve put a lot of effort into our industrial design in the aesthetics of our products so now we would almost see a mount as designed to be seen so that if it does become visible, it’s not an eyesore in the home but rather a complement of the TV.”

Some homeowners like to have their technology on display, as Jason Girardier, senior sales manager of Snap One explains: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to whether mounts, enclosures, and cables should be on show or not. It depends entirely on the client’s taste. Some homeowners may want to fully conceal the technology within other design elements, whilst others may want to highlight it, for example, using tinted glass and LED strip tape to illuminate and incorporate the cabling or technology into the interior, making a bold statement feature of it.”

While aesthetics are very important, functionality needs to be thought about too. Galia Ben-Dor, co-CEO and founder of WALL-SMART says: “We always said we want to combine technology and interior design; we want aesthetics but we want to keep the functionality. And it’s not only about the functionality of the device itself, but also about the ease with which installers can service the devices. It must allow the audio, thermal management, Wi-Fi and all features to work seamlessly. If you don’t have these things, the device will not be used. We strive to have solutions that keep the functionality of the product but also improve it.”

Having functionality that is also aesthetically pleasing appeals to integrators, interior designers and architects, and most importantly, the homeowner. “The Strong range of products from Snap One offer great solutions in the delivery of a clean, aesthetically attractive interior finish,” adds Girardier. “When supporting our partners in working with an interior designer or architect, we can work together and explore different options to get the right end result. Having that level of service from a sizeable manufacturer brings reassurance and builds confidence with the design team.”

Image: SANUS VIWLF128-B2


Mounts and brackets are often thought about for devices such as touchscreens and TVs, but they can also be used to hide things such as WAPs in ceilings, making them easier to access when servicing.

WALL-SMART’s Ben-Dor has experienced this: “We had an integrator who had an issue with the Wi-Fi access points because every time he went to service it, he had to spend two hours looking for it because it was so big and ugly that the homeowners hid it. Not only did this take time looking for it, but being hidden also disrupted the signals. So, they asked us to create a mount to hide it in the ceiling where it would be easy to find, service, and the signals wouldn’t be affected.”

Cable management

When it comes to installing home devices, the cable management is also a big consideration. Unsightly cables and wires need to be completely concealed to adhere to the clean, minimalist aesthetics that so many homeowners now strive to achieve.

Manufacturers of brackets and mounts are now developing cable management solutions within their products for ease of installation and to keep the sleek look and feel of the home.

Snap One’s Girardier explains how brackets and mounts can perform their functions while ensuring everything is kept neatly within the design of the space. “Another display development is integrated cable management. Through our Strong brand, Snap One offers plenty of solutions to help conceal cable runs and wiring out of sight for a great finished look.”

WALL-SMART enables flush-mounting into the wall. Image: Tym Smart Home & Home Theatre Design, Utah, USA

When it comes to housing technology in a central location, Girardier also mentions that racks need to have good cable management to be visually pleasing. “Clients can use sliding and swivel racks from our Strong range to ensure the cable management is always kept neat and tidy, and then easy to access and service for maintenance too.”

Cable management and concealment is also very important to SANUS, as Hagberg explains: “Some of our full motion mounts have what we call our follow through technology, where you can route the cables through the entirety of the arm so that the cables remain hidden from the TV all the way to the wall. This avoids cord wrap around the arms or trying to figure out some other way to manage the cables. Along with cable management, we also do other things that may go unnoticed such as putting covers over our wall plates to hide the mounting hardware so you don’t see any of that unsightliness that typically may have been thought of with a mount. It really becomes a sleek installation and a sleek look to complement the TV on the wall.”

In some cases, cables cannot be completely hidden but should be visually neat and tidy, as Summers from Future Automation highlights: “Cables are necessary in all homes and their management reflects an underlying care and respect for the project. If a cable can be hidden then it should be, without interfering with the functionality of a product. If a cable has to be visible, it should be managed to look as beautiful as possible.

“Our assembly technicians take pride in their cable management during manufacturing as it simplifies the installation and usability for the end user and integrator. This expertise is best displayed across our smart wiring enclosures, which are painstakingly pre-configured by our technicians with immaculate cable management throughout to simplify on-site installation and testing for integrators.”


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