What’s above your mantel?
If you have a flat-panel TV mounted above the fireplace, you’re in good company. The wall above the mantel practically screams for a TV. However, it’s really too high for optimal viewing for any length of time—say a couple of hours to watch an entire movie. Don’t fret. There are ways to minimize some of these detractions.
Wall mounts can be outfitted with articulating arms that electronically extend and tip the TV screen toward seated viewers. Often these systems
can be programmed so that when you turn on the television, the arm automatically adjusts the TV screen to the optimum viewing angle. For daily viewing of regular programming, the height won’t be much of an issue.
To get the most out of movie nights at home, however, splurge on a digital projector and screen that can lower from the ceiling to the fireplace mantel, covering the flat-panel TV. The screen can be concealed behind crown molding or recessed into the ceiling when not in use. The projector (ceiling-mounted opposite the screen) transmits TV signals or recorded programming onto the screen. No more craning your neck to watch movies at home.