By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Playing into the couch potato's ultimate dream, flat-panel mounting system manufacturers continue to develop an array of motorized and robotic mounts and lifts — enabling consumers to raise their TV out of hiding at the touch of a button, or to adjust the screen's angle without leaving the comfort of their seat.
New models for early 2008 include everything from automated wall mounts to a lift that raises a plasma TV from under a bed, and then tucks it back out of sight. The latter — called the Underbed Lift — is being launched by K2 Mounts, and conceals a 42-inch or 50-inch plasma or LCD screen out of sight under any king or queen-size bed, needing only 8 inches of clearance.
The Underbed Lift features a customized folding front panel and customizable finishes to match a décor. Rotation can be added to allow viewing from an alternate point in the room; and left, right and center channels are mounted beneath the screen so that the sound stage will rotate with the lift. A rack option provides the ability to place all a user's A/V equipment in the lift and under the bed.
K2 is also introducing a new Low Cost Robotics mount, designed to fit most flat-panel displays 30 to 50 inches and weighing less than 180 pounds. The mount sits flush against the wall at 4.6 inches depth, and telescopes to 12 inches, offering tilt of 7 degrees up and 25 degrees down via IR remote control or RS232 interface. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Salamander Designs is unveiling its new PilotMotion Series at CES, consisting of two motorized wall mounts and one tabletop mount that respond to instructions from supplied remote controls. All feature a quiet, smooth rotator mechanism, as well as the company's weightless ZeroForce Tilt mechanisms, allowing the screen to rotate up to 30 degrees right or left.
Salamander's PilotMotion 100 TableTop model also features a black glass base with an extruded aluminum, satin-finished rear column for cable storage. It accommodates flat-panel TVs from 32 to 52 inches with a maximum weight of 110 pounds. The remote-controlled mount rotates 30 degrees right and left, offers three height adjustments, and includes a universal mounting-hole pattern. In addition, the programmable remote can be pre-set to a favorite screen position.
CLO Systems' full line of mounting-arm technology products will be showcased at CES, including the X-arm and new X2-arm, which adds upscale angling and placement features for smaller 37- to 50-inch screens, the company says. It joins the CLO T-arm, specifically designed for above-eye-level or over-fireplace placement, and CLO S-arm, offering 90-degree continuous variable swivel range for viewing in a different area of the room.
All the CLO mounts operate via their accompanying remote control units, with some remotes offering dual programmable memories for stored viewing preferences. In addition, a universal mounting kit is available for selected mounts to facilitate easy coupling with most flat-panel displays.
Auton uses the latest technology in its Plasma Lift & Swivel, a 9-inch-deep lift that can fit into a cabinet or other space to conceal a flat-panel TV when not in use. The lift is available with a 180-degree swivel option, which operates by remote control; and it features customized rack and pinion drive systems, QUAD-GEAR engineering for stability and smooth movement, and a welded steel design.
Auton's IN-VIS-O-TRAK allows consumers to conceal a flat-panel TV or other A/V components behind a painting or artwork. The TV fits into a slim cutout in any wall or surface and the IN-VIS-O-TRAK is fitted to a piece of artwork that covers the TV when not in use. For viewing, the artwork is moved horizontally or vertically by a handheld remote.
OmniMount is rolling out its recently introduced Motion52 motorized cantilever mount, an automated flat-panel mount that allows users to tilt, pan and swivel their display by remote control. Controllable via IR (two memory) and RS232 (three memory) programmable positions, the mount features a safety mechanism that stops motion when movement is obstructed. Universal rails assure compatibility with all brands of flat-panel TVs, and the mount fits flat-panel displays from 37 to 52 inches and up to 95 pounds.
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