I would appreciate a little help from any of your experience and input.
The location that I want to put a Wall mount TV in my Living room is above the ventless fire place. I am concerned about the heat rise above the mantle. I do not know the temp, but when we have used the fireplace I have felt the mantle and the heat is respectable. I have not found information on the affect of ambient heat surronding the unit. Is this a major concern?
Should I go with a ceiling mount projector? What would the distance be from the projector to the wall? I am sure that if that is the case then my ceiling fan is exactly in the way!
The space above the mantle is 42" high and 78" wide. The desire is to use the screen predominately for TV, but an occassional use as PC screen. Other inputs would be nice such as other video sources for entertainment and possibly security video.
I've put plenty of flat screens above fireplaces (under protest - I think it's generally too high for comfortable viewing). Heat hasn't been a problem, fishing electricity and other wires to the location is a PITA. Projection, IMO, is not for everyday viewing (check the cost for replacement lamps, etc).
Do your customers prefer Plasma or LCD and do you have a brand preference as well?
Some of the Data I have read states that LCD has difficulty keeping up with High speed motion but is better for still screen motion. I would like the view quality of plasma but am concerned about life expectancy and heat generation.
If you don't mind I am sure I will have more questions later.
Putting TV's above a fire place seems to be "the thing" now. The only reason I can fathom for the desire to do this is that it's "something" to put over the fire place. Perhaps in place of a mirror or portrait of your mother in law. It certainly isn't a good place to put a TV for multiple reasons. Especially if it's being done after the walls and fireplace are already installed.
Here ya go ........ TV's don't last as long in a hot environment. If you run your fireplace a lot and during then during the time you are watching TV and depending upon how much heat escapes your fireplace, you can take years off the life expectancy of the TV. Plasma TV's run hotter than LCD's but the effect is the same. I've read that as it approaches 100 degrees, the deterioration accelerates non-linearly.
Although you might not think so now, but if you think about it, the most comfortable way to watch a TV over a fireplace, is reclined in your chair. Sitting upright on a couch, for instance, watching a TV mounted 5 feet or so above the floor, is not comfortable. You'll wind up putting your head back to rest on the back of the couch. Think of how you sit now when you watch TV .... or how you sit when you are reading the newspaper in your chair. TV tables and credenzas are made low for a reason.
As Crash says, running wires behind the wall for both electrical and audio/video is a PITA. You should be runing just about every A/V wire that you may ever need between your A/V source and your TV, because you'll not be easily be able to do it again in the future. They should consist of at least the following. 2 HDMI ver 1.3 DPL verified cables.
2 component video cables. 1 composite video cable and one set of stereo audio cables. One digital audio cable. Check your TV to see if the digital audio output cable should be an optical TOS cable or a digital coaxial cable. Or .... your TV may not have an digital audio output jack also, so then you don't need one. Also run an RG6 and possibly two coaxial cables depending upon how many coax inputs your TV has. Many TV's use the coax input for PNP source. Run 2 Category 5e wires too. These can be used in many different ways with the use of Balin transformers. You have no idea what your next TV may requre and the 2 Cat 5e's just may just save you the time and expense of opening up the walls to run a new wire. Leave at least two to three feet slack at the TV end to facilitate hooking up cables easily before mounting the TV to the wall mount. Depending upon how your A/V source is set up, you might need to leave anywhere between 5 to 10 feet of slack. What ever you do, leave enough slack in the cable at the AV end so that your components can be pulled out through the front for installation and cable and equipment changes in the future. Unless of course, you have rear access to the components.
If you're thinking about hooking a computer directly to the TV, you might want to install a VGA cable also. Be cautious about the length/ distance to the computer. Some TV's have a USB, RS232, or Cat5 computer connect.
If your A/V equipment is not going to be visible from where you sit, don't forget about installing an IR repeater with the receptor viewable from where you sit, to get your signals to components. If components are going to be in a closed area, allow for installing an exaust fan, which equates to raising the noise level in the TV area. Quiter fans are more expensive. Heat will kill a $2000.00 receiver just as easily as a $200.00 unit. Maybe sooner. If you're having cabinets made or you're getting new ones, make sure you understand that most off the floor cabinets are usually not deep enough. Some components are 20 inches deep and you need at least 3 more inches for cable bend at the rear if there's a back on the cabinet. No back is desireable for heat and accessablity reasons but you can't just remove the back from a lot of off- the-floor (less expensive) cabinets because they depend upon the back for stablity.
Now, here's the bad news. If you plan to run (or have someone else run) these wires, there's no easy way, without opening up the sheet rock, to tell if the wires will be laying on top of the fireplace. Yeah, I know, they say that it doesn't matter, but I just can't see something like wire insulation laying on a source of heat for 10, or whatever, years, without it affecting the cable performance, especially the HDMI cables. And, in the worse case, causing a fire. IT'S JUST PLASTIC!!!!!! Don't forget about the slack I told you to leave at the TV for ease of mounting. What happens to that slack when you push it back in the wall? The best way I've found to run these cables is in a large conduit. PVC pipe or some kind of semi-rigid flex tubing to keep them away from the fireplace. But this can only be done in new construction or by breaking sheet rock.
The electrician should have the same concern. How'd you or your kin like to touch your fire place and land on the other side of the room, dead or alive. Don't forget, if it's a gas fireplace, it grounded "really, really good"
As far as front projection, you'd most likely have no choice but to break sheet rock. Consider the cost of the cables will raise considerably due to the length to get to your A/V equipment. Nowdays, many projectors have the same number of in/outputs as TV's do. So, if you want to do everything with the projector, you need all the same cables. Consider building some kind of box around or near the projector to hide the cables. If you're going to enclose the projector, you have to provide some kind of ventilation fan to remove the heat. They DO run hot. Probably should mount an exhaust fan remotely to suck the hot air away. The fan in the projector will make enough noise without adding to it. As far as how far away to mount the projector it depends on how big a picture you want to wind up with, the light output of the projector, and the lens that comes with it or if it can be changed or not. I've seen them mounted as close as 10 feet away or so but that would probably put it right over your head. That's annoying. Usually behind you is better, but you need the lumens to get a good picture which translates to more money for the unit, cables and more heat etc. Bulbs run anywhere from $250.00 to $350.00 and if you're not handy, labor. Life expectancy, about 3000 hours. But, hey, it's just a bulb and they get dimmer the older they get. There are some new DLP rear projection TV's that use an LED light source but they're powerful enough for a front projection units.
You didn't mention what kind of TV you are considereing. For wall mount you only have two choices. Although I think that DLP RPTV is the better picture, it's not a flat screen technology. So that leaves you with Plasma and LCD. Here's some pointers. Plasma is heavier, runs hotter, more subject to burn in, has reflection problems from ambient sources of light. (windows, lamps, etc). There is one brand plasma TV that has some kind of anti glare film but of course it cuts down on the brightness of the TV which means you have to drive the contrast to max. The good thing about Plasma is that if you will consider getting a Pioneer Kuro, you're going to get the best black reproduction available today, at a semi reasonable price. If you can go for it, get the Kuro "Elite". You'll have to decide if the extra cost is worth the difference in picture quality. However, if you intend to play games for long periods of time or let the computer screen sit there for hours without change, burn in will get ya.
As far as LED, the main drawback is "drag". That is, when you have a fast moving bright object passing in front of a darker backgound, you see a "blur" behind the bright object. Money only reduces this effect by getting a LCD TV with 120HZ refresh rate. They'll fix it eventually, but not yet.
For my use, I choose a Plasma for what I think is a better picture. But you have to make the choice depending upon your useage.
Yeah, I know. But, now with the new LED Source, no color wheel and the new three chip units coming up, I have a feeling that it's going to be the best picture available. It's major drawback in the market place is( will be) the popularity of flat screen.
Just a note on the three chip ...... that's whats being used in movie theaters now. The resolution on a small screen will be fabulous!
Jim's got some really good points... my only addition to it would be,
*only you* can make the final determination as to which TV is best *for you*. My suggestion would be to take a couple DVDs of your own favorite material (or types of material - sports, action movies, nature documentaries, etc.) down to the store and try it on a few different sets. If possible, maybe even go to a rental place and rent a couple of different models for a month (not both at the same time, of course) and see how each will fare in *your* viewing environment.
This also gives you the chance to see if the different technologies make a significant difference to *your* preferred viewing. People will tell you how plasmas are better for watching sports, for example, but if you don't watch sports, that shouldn't be a deciding factor for you.