Ask the average person why they want to get a flat panel — LCD or plasma — even if it costs more than a rear projection model of the same screen size, and you’re likely to get the answer “…because I can hang it on the wall.” The fact is that most people don’t hang their flat panels on the wall. The mounts can be expensive, and it’s not a job that you might want to tackle on your own. When a 50″ plasma HDTV weighs more than 100 pounds, you’re not going to just nail a tack into the drywall to hang one of these puppies. And even if you do manage to find the studs and hang the panel securely, what about the wires? Sure, you can get a professional installer, but that can cost as much as the HDTV itself if you use a high-end installation service.
But as the dropping prices have exploded the HDTV market, they’re having an impact on mounts as well. The mount makers are looking to sell to the consumer, providing do-it-yourself installation solutions. And two weeks ago, Monster and Tzero announced that they will work together to produce new products that will be available this fall. Tzero has wireless HDTV technology, so once you get your panel on the wall, all you need is AC power. The signal can be transmitted to the panel wirelessly, eliminating the mare’s nest of cables. The wireless features and power conditioning will be built right in a wall mount capable of holding a 60″ panel. These will be available from Monster dealers around the world.
This announcement does not toll the death knell for the high end installers, but it does provide additional evidence that they are not likely to share in the rapid growth of flat panel sales. The new customers coming into the market are more price sensitive than the early adopters, and are more likely to want to save some money and do their own installations. So by next fall, expect to see mounting solutions right alongside the HDTVs in your favorite big box store. And just maybe the percentage of flat panels mounted on the wall will start to climb.