My Story: How I eliminated my "tv niche" above the fireplace - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 54 Old 01-25-2009, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings all. No big "theater" story here, just a long overdue elimination of my tv niche/nook above our gas log fireplace. We didn't use the fireplace much, so no loss there.

During the last couple of years, I've seen some other tv niche installations where the entire flat panel display was simply placed inside the niche itself - each was installed in a niche designed for a CRT - a FP in there just didn't look right to me because the niche was so small to begin with. We had a 32" CRT in our niche, and placing a FP display IN there just wasn't going to cut it - I'm one of those guys that if I spend money on an "upgrade", it has to be an UPgrade! . I just couldn't see spending $1k or more on a tv that would fit inside the niche, only to have LESS screen real estate than I had with our CRT.

So, with that in mind, I set about conjuring up a way to upgrade - and - make it look asethically pleasing while being physically po$$ible.

Here's what I started with - 32" CRT in our tv niche; sorry, a small cell phone pic is all I had left.



In my case, the niche is in the center of our house, and the niche was only attached to the studs forming the forward wall - it wasn't attached to the side or back wall studs, yet it was plenty strong for a CRT, or anything where the footprint of the device concentrated the weight towards the front where it was attached. (Boy, I wish I could speak with our builder now...)

One idea from a co-worker (in the same situation) was to mount an articulating mount on the rear wall of the niche, and extend the arm out beyond the "face" of the niche. Although possible, I wasn't comfortable with that - I didn't want the arm extended all the time and concentrating all of that weight on the back of the niche, so after much head-scratching, I eventually came up with this plan:

1: Reinforce the niche (3/4" plywood) so the load is shared by the surrounding studs.
2: Fabricate a wooden structure that permitted me to attach an articulating mount to it
3: Attach this structure to the existing niche in a way that also achieved #1.

To address #1, I added a simple 2x4 "T" above the niche. This T is attached to the niche via 3" wood screws from inside the niche going up into the T. The T, in turn, is attached to the surrounding studs with those brackets used for framing - Simpson Strong-Tie.

Here's a view looking down onto the top of the niche from the attic:


Once I completed this, the niche was much stronger, and didn't flex with my weight on it.
#1 solved.

To address #2, I fabricated a modified "H" out of a 2x10, and eventually mounted my Peerless PLA50 to the "cross-piece" of the H. The cross-piece is supported on either side, and attached to the "legs" of the H with perforated steel angles. These angles are bolted through the legs of the H and through the niche.



Things to note on the H:
*If you look carefully at it, you can see where I installed the cross-piece of the H at a slight backwards angle, so that the tv naturally wants to retract - not extend (look at the vertical pencil marks just forward of the angle bracket).
*Also visible on the cross piece are the pencil lines for the Peerless wall bracket holes; the upper holes I slotted for vertical adjustment when I test mounted the tv. This allowed me to get the vertical positioning correct before drilling the final 4 holes for the wall bracket.

#2 solved.

To address #3, I attached the H to the niche on the front side with 2 lag bolts on each side into the studs (these are the empty holes near the front of the 2x10 visible in picture above). The balance of the hardware (qty 6, 3/8" bolts) is through the legs of the H, and secured with nuts & large-area washers. Four of those bolts are through the steel angle brackets supporting the cross piece of the H.

So, in a nutshell: to support and spread the load, I ended up attaching the H to the front studs with lag bolts, bolts through the H to attach it to the niche, and the wood screws up through the niche into the T reinforcement.





#3 solved.

The final product is the last picture...



Overall, I couldn't be happier with the tv (Panasonic TH50PZ850U) or the way the mounting turned out. If I had my way (and I might), I'd mount it lower over the center channel speaker, and move the speaker above the tv, but I'm going to watch it like this for now.

FYI, its connected to:
Onkyo 601 AVR (setup in 6.1 and soon to be axed for a 7.1 AVR)
Panasonic BD55 Blu-ray player
Definitive Technology 6.1 Speaker setup:
BP2006 fronts (2)
ProCenter 100 (1)
BP1.2x Surrounds (3, soon to be 4 for 7.1)
Time Warner HD Cable

I hope this thread is beneficial to others. I over-engineered it, but I'd like my baby to remain up on the mount until I unbolt her and bring her down...she's not permitted to come down on her own volition. . Feel free to ask any questions you may have. I'll post some additional pics with the arm extended and the tv mounted in my next post.

Best,
Skidpad
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post #2 of 54 Old 01-25-2009, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I've attached a couple of pics showing the tv bolted in place, and the articulating arm extended.





Oh, in case anyone asks...attached to the Peerless PLA50 articulating mount is a Peerless screen-specific adapter (PLP-PAN42); purchased online from The Simple TV Mount Store for way less than retail...

(My original plan was to get one of the new SA750 mounts, but the wall bracket on the SA series is MUCH bigger than the one on the PLA series, and would've required the use of something much bigger than the 2x10 I used to attach the PLA50 wall bracket. The SA series is the newer version of the PLA series...)
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post #3 of 54 Old 01-25-2009, 02:54 PM
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Great post -most informative and I like your creativity!
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post #4 of 54 Old 01-25-2009, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRM400 View Post

Great post -most informative and I like your creativity!

Thanks! I'm quite happy with it.

*Creativity - a polite way to say Anal . That's me, my co-workers tell me all the time!
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post #5 of 54 Old 01-25-2009, 08:47 PM
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Nice Job!
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post #6 of 54 Old 01-26-2009, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^^ Thanks guys - I appreciate it!
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post #7 of 54 Old 01-26-2009, 05:38 PM
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Well done Skidpad!

These improvements shown in action are what make AVS a great place.

Now just open up the nook where you have that ProCenter 100, and put in a ProCenter 2000 or 2002!

The Mod Squad: New vs. Classic TV Series Opening https://vimeo.com/63119329
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post #8 of 54 Old 01-26-2009, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blasst View Post

Well done Skidpad!

These improvements shown in action are what make AVS a great place.

Now just open up the nook where you have that ProCenter 100, and put in a ProCenter 2000 or 2002!

Haha, Thanks Blasst...I love my Def Tech setup .

I'm no carpenter, and this was a very basic installation, but I felt it was a common problem, so I wanted to give something back to this great forum and those who may find themselves in the same situation.

Thank You again for your kind words!
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post #9 of 54 Old 01-28-2009, 11:50 AM
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Nice setup. I need to fabricate a bsimlar brace soon for my setup.

Just curious why you say you would have mounted the center channel over the TV if you had to do it over again?
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post #10 of 54 Old 01-28-2009, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^^ Just from the standpoint of having the tv a bit lower. Although its mounted much higher than "ideal", it views very well in our situation, and isn't a neck strainer.

Nevertheless, I may swap the tv and center channel speaker to lower the tv. My only real problem with doing so is that I don't think it would look nearly as good as it does now. Decisions, decisions...

Thanks for your comments.
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post #11 of 54 Old 01-28-2009, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidpad View Post

^^^^ Just from the standpoint of having the tv a bit lower. Although its mounted much higher than "ideal", it views very well in our situation, and isn't a neck strainer.

Nevertheless, I may swap the tv and center channel speaker to lower the tv. My only real problem with doing so is that I don't think it would look nearly as good as it does now. Decisions, decisions...

Thanks for your comments.

Gotcha.

I just wasn't sure if you meant the center should be above the TV for "sound" reasons. I see what you're saying about the tv being higher than ideal. That's the way mine will be also. Just not sure if it's worth me trying to fab somehting up to hold the center on top. I am hoping to make my purchases in the next few days.
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post #12 of 54 Old 01-29-2009, 05:27 AM - Thread Starter
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If I REALLY had my way, I'd move the whole niche down a bit, and keep my center channel below the tv - the sound and picture seem to "fit" very well when placed like that. (To me anyway).
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post #13 of 54 Old 03-11-2009, 11:42 AM
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I'm trying to do this same thing and had some ideas but this helps so much.... Thanks so much for post it!! My niche is a little different with a space between the inside wall and a frame surrounding the inside. The frame runs parallel to the inside wall, making the opening of the niche smaller than the actual cubbyhole. Sort of like ... LI___tv___LI

I'm glad you mentioned lowering it because I was wondering about that. I'm going to use the space behind for game systems, DVD player etc...
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post #14 of 54 Old 03-13-2009, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^ You are very welcome, Mimi! Glad it helped you out. I am still enjoying mine every day - my solution fit my problem very well. Let us know how you make out with yours!
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post #15 of 54 Old 03-23-2009, 04:20 PM
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Skidpad,

I really appreciate your design and pictures. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how to mount my 42 in plasma in a 32 in TV "niche". I have one quick question. Because of the design of my house, reinforcing the niche from above is impossible. Is it neccessary to complete that step or can it be skipped? What do you suggest? Any input is greatly appreciated.
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post #16 of 54 Old 03-25-2009, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^^ You are welcome!

...Depends on how your house is constructed. In my case, the niche was only supported on the front side, and even though it was plenty strong, I wasn't comfortable with the idea of hanging a plasma on there without proper reinforcement....the ol' weight x arm = moment, theory.

Do you have an idea of how yours is attached? If its already properly secured, I would think you could skip the step I took.

Let me know!
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post #17 of 54 Old 03-25-2009, 08:18 PM
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Holy smokes that is awsome.... (yes I still use that word).
Thanks for sharing,
Ray
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post #18 of 54 Old 03-25-2009, 10:24 PM
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Thanks for the pics and procedure. I'm thinking of doing something similar.

In my case the built-in cubby is to the right of the fireplace, and lower. The space was original intended for a large CRT or a rear projection. My old 42 Samsung plasma on a short stand has worked fine, but the new Panasonic TH-46pz850u is larger and barely fits inside the width. The problem is that with a stand, you can only get the screen to within 6 inches of the front, so it will interfere with off-angle viewing. If I could get it flush it would look very nice (both turned on and off).

Do you think the OmniMount UCL-X is a good mount? I was thinking of using it because it extends to 28 which would put the screen front a couple of inches past the built-in (at max). Maybe I should just use your Peerless? Do most mounts give you ample adjustments to center the TV and level the bezel?

I like your solution because it moves the mount closer to the front (instead of the very back where I was thinking of putting it). There are several advantages to this. I like that you painted the 2x10's (very professional looking).

Just seeing your big new 850 up on the wall has given me new inspiration.

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post #19 of 54 Old 03-26-2009, 01:52 PM
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I like it. Looks right.

Lakers
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Broncos (I know)

XboxLive Gamertag: SUPREME22
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post #20 of 54 Old 03-26-2009, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Tesla: That looks like a nice mount! I don't have any personal experience with it, but it looks sufficient. I chose Peerless because I have a co-worker who has one, and he recommended it.

The Omni looks very similar to the Peerless SA series that I didn't purchase simply because the "wall bracket" (or plate) was so tall vertically. Like the Peerless SA, that Omni wall bracket is 14.5" tall, which would require some other mounting fabrication besides a single 2x10 like I used. I would much rather have used a larger wall bracket like this, but I didn't want to (almost) close off the opening of the niche/cubby in order to do so. It's a trade off either way, and in my case, I wanted periodic access to the back of the niche, so I chose the PLA series with the smaller wall bracket.

Adjustments...The Omni is slotted so you can move it a little left or right, but like mine, no real vertical adjustment - that's why I slotted the cross-piece of my wooden H for the first two holes as a "test fit". The only "vertical adjustment" you have is the angle that the tv is hanging on the mount; keep in mind how you plan to position/angle the tv when watching it, because this angle needs to be taken into consideration when you plan your overall mount location.

Depending on how your niche is constructed, you could mount it solely on the back wall. But keep in mind that if you do so, the mount will need to extend out far enough so you can get everything connected. Additionally, the more a mount is extended, the less mobility you'll have with it to permit centering the tv left/right without loosening the wall bracket hardware. (Meaning you can center the tv simply by moving it left/right with the articulating arms themselves).

Let me know what other questions you may have - I appreciate the feedback and I'm glad this thread has helped poeple!
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post #21 of 54 Old 03-26-2009, 11:16 PM
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First thing I think when I see the niche pics, is hiding the STB and some other equipment behind the TV. Run IR extender for remote.
Cant see all the goodies in that equipment cabinet so might not be feasable...
My plans are to remote mount all equipment,so there is just a TV and speakers visible
Nice job on the project, good use of oldschool TV Niche.
Matt
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post #22 of 54 Old 03-29-2009, 05:22 PM
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SkidPad,

Thanks for looking into the mount for me. I'm now thinking I might go one level up to the Sanus VMDD26.

Interesting that you mentioned vertical spacing because my install is going to take extra care in this measurement to get it right (down to the quarter inch as with yours).

So that I don't take over your thread here, I went ahead and started my own. Please drop by and let me know what you think. I readly appreciate your help so far.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post16150821

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post #23 of 54 Old 07-15-2009, 07:51 PM
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so im in process of closing on my new house. i have a 50 inch samsung plasma and this is my problem as well. this was great help to what i was planning on trying. so i believe this is the exact route ill try. my question for you is what way did you fish the lines from the cable box, surround sound to the tv. i have a cable box, ps3, xbox 360 and a wii. possible adding surround sound once moved in. im familiar with wall fishing as i work for a cable company. i believe ill most likely setup a small shelf under window in corner. here is a pic of the situation

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post #24 of 54 Old 07-15-2009, 10:20 PM
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Street Peddler,

Since your niche is more square than rectangular, you might have room for the Center Channel speaker at the bottom (which is good), but not much else.

Another major component you will need room for is the Audio Video Receiver.

The right column might be empty to the floor, but there is most likely one or more vertical 2x4s under the window. Might have to run a large external conduit outside to hold everything. Plus, I don't see a power outlet under the window. You will need to install one or run a heavy guage extension cord along the right wall.

I was able to sit down with the structured wiring (OnQ) installer and design the audio system (where the surround speakers went, where we needed A/C power, etc.) and they did it before sheetrock. You can do those and more after the fact. Just get the wires to the attic and then come back down ... inside the walls. Interior walls are usually easier than exterior walls because they typically don't have any insulation in them). Try not to get any low voltage wiring too close to A/C power lines.

That niche looks awful deep. Is that a working fireplace or has it been deactivated?

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post #25 of 54 Old 07-16-2009, 06:22 AM
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yea i noticed there was no power down there last night after i posted. luckily my dad knows about that stuff and we can probally put one in ourselves. ill most likely be calling my buddy that works at best buy in the tv section to see what stuff he can help me with as far as long enough hdmi / and getting the connections for my 360 and wii to reach. im hoping to start moving in at the end of the month. ill be posting pics and updates. thanks alot for the help.
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post #26 of 54 Old 07-16-2009, 06:40 AM
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oh and the fireplace is electric. it just has a switch on the wall with temp just like a air condition control.
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post #27 of 54 Old 07-16-2009, 09:10 AM
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Excellent!

You went from a situation of finger-pointing "ha-ha, is that what TVs used to look like?"

To: "Now thas w'um talkin' 'bout!"

Now you got an updated crib.

Very nice job on the upgrade! Looks great.

I've had my plasma on an articulated arm mount for over 6 years. I love the convenience of being able to pull the display a bit closer, or angle it to one side if I want.
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post #28 of 54 Old 08-10-2009, 06:40 AM
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Hey Skidpad,
I just wanted to say thanks for posting this DIY.
I just bought a 58" Samsung Plasma and I felt very uncomfortable mounting it to the wall all the way to the back of the niche and having the mount arms extended at all times.
The plasma weighs about 140 pounds and by building this "H", I feel sure that my TV will be safe.
I used 2X12 to make my "H" and I got lucky the my TV niche had Studs all around it for me to secure the "H" with 3 1/2" Bolts.
Take Care.
-Joe-
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post #29 of 54 Old 08-11-2009, 07:53 PM
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All,

I am new to forum. But, I like how every one has come up with so many creative solutions with DIY. I have a similar questions, I just bought 46" lcd. I am thinking it to mount on the fireplace that we never use (so heating is not a problem at all). My concern is, what if there are no studs behind this hollow wall. As you can see from pic, my fireplace is approx 32" tall and the brick wall is hollow not actual bricks.

So far I am thinking to attach a thick 3" plywood with the white wooden studs on side (about 3" thick) and mount tv on that plywood. I will greatly appreciate any other suggestions/comments.

Thanks in advance,

keep up the good work.
LL
LL
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post #30 of 54 Old 08-12-2009, 10:55 AM
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well now that im moved in here is a before and after you could say.
ill take pics of everything that was done an let you see. but the front of the nook is framed with 2x6. i used long deck screws to go threw 2x4 along side and top to the frame. then layered 2 sheets of plywood and a 2x4 along bottom. my 50 inch weighs in at 105lbs. i just wanted to make sure this thing isnt going anywere. and the 8 lag bolts used to hold the mount to the this is def enough. i used the 19 inch extend sanus mount from best buy. got a great half off deal on it for being opened. will be designing a shelf in back to hold my ps3 and wii since i mostly use my 360 and cable box. but that is whats left



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