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You need to stop mounting your TV above the fireplace

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This story is part 12 days of advicehelping you get the most out of your tech, your home and your health this holiday season.

Place your new tv Above your fireplace sounds like a great idea in theory. There is all this space above a fireplace, all the furniture is already arranged and can be raised and cleared. In practice, it’s one of the worst places in your home to put a TV. Not only can this positioning decrease picture quality, but it can also shorten the life of your TV and lead to possible physical pain. Mounting a TV above a fireplace, even one you’re not using, is just about the worst idea in TVs.

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And if you still think about it, do you know how you will get the power and signal (hdmi or wireless) to the TV? How do you mount it on brick or stone? These are problems too, but easily repairable. Really, though, you should just avoid these potential issues and not mount the TV above the fireplace. Here’s why.

Read more: Mount a television on your terrace? not so fast

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Why a TV should never be mounted above a fireplace


1. Angle of view: a TV above a fireplace is too high

Have you ever sat in the front row of a movie theater? Some people like that; most do not. That sore neck you get from staring at the screen? Imagine that every time you watch television. Most people find staring at something uncomfortable for long periods of time. Worse still, it may seem fine at first, but then you develop a neck problem later on.

Unsurprisingly, one of Google’s first autocomplete results after “TV above fireplace…” is “too high.” This is not an uncommon problem.

A small living room with a large television mounted above a fireplace.

Imagine how far your head would have to tilt to watch that TV from those seats.

Mint Images/Getty Images

Of course, this won’t be a problem in some rooms. The fireplace may be low, you may be lying down watching TV, you may be far enough away that you barely watch it. But if you have ever had neck problems, often work-related, this aspect is something to consider as it could make such an injury worse.

Most of us would rather watch down to a television. This is a much more natural position (similar to what is OSHA recommended for monitors). Ideally, you should be able to maintain a neutral/relaxed neck position for watching TV, which will vary depending on your couch/sitting position, etc.

2. Your TV will be off-axis

A well used brick fireplace with a TV mounted above.

Mounting a TV above a fireplace is almost always a bad idea.

Chris Heinonen/Geoff Morrison

Most televisions on the market today are LCD screens. There are high-end models from LG, Sony and Vizio that are OLEDbut otherwise, whatever the trade name, it’s an LCD.

Most LCD screens look noticeably worse if you don’t look at them directly. Even a few degrees below their midline, like sitting on a sofa watching TV, can make the image look profoundly different from what it looks like directly on axis.

It’s pretty easy to fix, but you’ll need some specific equipment. Some wall mount brackets allow you to swivel the TV down so it faces directly into the seating area. If you insist on mounting your TV high on the wall, keep an eye out for brackets that at least rotate the screen. Mounting the TV flat on the wall (the cheapest solution) can make your TV look worse.

An OLED TV like LG C2 technology is much better off-angle than standard LCD TVs. Sure, an OLED TV is expensive, but if your room requires off-angle seating and you want the best picture quality, the investment might be worth it.

Read our 2022 LG OLED C2 series review.

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3. Heat and smoothing damage your TV

There’s nothing worse for an electronic product than heat (OK, maybe water or kicks could be worse, but you know what I mean). Increasing the TV’s operating temperature can shorten what should be a lively and reliable lifespan.

Worse still, soot from the fire can seep into the guts of the TV, doing no good. Worse still, the damage will be slow and over time, not right away, so the TV will likely fail sooner than it would have otherwise, but still be beyond the length of your warranty. .

A stylish, well-lit living room with lots of windows and a TV mounted above a fireplace.

There is no better place in this house, at least for watching television.

Cavan Images/Getty Images

This won’t be a problem for everyone. If you don’t or can’t use your fireplace, that won’t be a problem. A gas fireplace may not contain soot, but if the wall above is warm to the touch, that heat will also warm your TV.

At the end of the line

Although stylish and popular, mounting a TV above a fireplace probably isn’t the best option for you or your TV. Placement is a big deal, and the placement and height of the TV can be big factors when it comes to picture quality.

If you think we’re in the minority with our concerns about TV misplacement, consider that there’s an entire subreddit with almost 100,000 subscribers dedicated to TV misplacement called r/TVTooHigh. If you don’t want to take our word for it, scroll down and see what people think.

We have some guidelines for where to mount your TV. Check Don’t Put Your TV On It: Big Screen Placement Tips.

Otherwise, for more TV tips and tricks, check out our recommendations for TV picture settings to changewhy it is usually Not a good idea to turn up the sharpness control on your TVand the best time to buy a tv. More, a fix for muffled TV dialogue and 7 solutions to hide ugly TV wires.

In addition to covering television and other display technologies, Geoff takes photographic tours of Museums and cool places around the worldincluding nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castlesepic Road trips of 10,000 miles, and more. Check Technical treks for all his tours and adventures.

He wrote a bestselling science fiction novel on city-sized submarines and a following. You can follow his adventures on instagram and his Youtube channel.

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