Category Archives: How To

4k TVs: Mind-Blowing or Meh?

 
4K televisions have dropped greatly in price since their arrival on the market. However, many consumers who’ve been tempted by the good deal have been disappointed to discover that the higher resolution isn’t significantly better than the 1080P TV they just replaced. What gives?

Short answer: home theater enthusiasts are learning what early adopter digital photographers learned last decade: more pixels do not automatically equal a better image.

Remember when camera ads screamed “8 megapixels,” “12 megapixels,” et cetera? Most people shared photos via email, or printed out pics on 4×8 or 5×7 photo paper, and didn’t see any difference in quality; but they sure paid for those extra pixels. The same concept applies to television screens.

The truth is that from a distance of 10 feet away from a screen of 50” or under, the human eye can’t ascertain much—if any—difference between 1080 lines of visual data and 2160 lines of visual data. You have to go to a 90” screen size (or walk up to around 4’ away from a 50” screen) before you’d see a difference in resolution. But even then, the perceived improvement may not match the price you’d pay for the new display.

So why are some 4K sets astoundingly superior to HDTV, while others are just meh? The difference is HDR: High Dynamic Range technology.

HDR is truly revolutionary! It allows an almost unbelievable amount of fine color gradation, much closer to what the human eye perceives. How does HDR achieve this? Hang on, we’re about to get technical.

The reason you can tell the difference between certain shades of red (for example) while watching a sunset on your TV is how much—or how little—light is coming along for the ride on that color wavelength from the TV to your eye. The difference is known as “contrast.”

Contrast is measured by comparing the difference between the whitest whites your TV can display to its blackest blacks. It’s measured in candelas per meter squared (cd/m2). Commonly, the results of this measurement are called “nits.” (Don’t ask me why; just go with it.)

So, back to 4k TV: that bargain 4k TV doorbuster special on Black Friday may have higher resolution, but it still might only produce between 0 and maybe 300 nits. So the color rendition isn’t any better than most 1080p HDTVs. In fact, it could even be worse! Some high-end OLED HDTVs already top out at 500 nits.

But 4k TVs with HDR can display up to 4,000 nits! That means every red pixel (back to our sunset scene) can have up to 4,000 levels of brightness at 12-bit color depth. So can every yellow pixel. And every orange one. You get the idea.

Of course, with any new and emerging technology, there are different (and competing) standards. HDR is no different. So it pays to read the fine print on the box before you plunk down that credit card. Dolby’s HDR standard is the tops (4,000 nits at 12-bit depth), but not every TV supports it. There’s also an industry coalition standard that maxes out at 1,000 nits at 10-bit color depth. While not as theoretically capable as Dolby’s tech, it still delivers an obviously superior picture compared to 1080p HDTV, regardless of screen size. It’s commensurately cheaper than the Dolby standard, too.

There’s a great rundown of all the technical details here.

Whew; that was a lot of info! But hopefully, you now have the information needed to make a smart purchasing decision. But we’re not done! While your TV is the centerpiece, a home theater has many pieces. We have several upcoming blog posts intended to help you select the perfect components for your ultimate home theater. Stay tuned for our next installment: cables!

In the meantime, mount that beautiful new set, and see what it can do!

Adam Best is a digital marketing professional with over 20 years in the industry, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. A self-professed geek, he enjoys taking complex technical concepts and breaking them down to easily understood applications.

Watching March Madness on a Curved TV?

There’s nothing like March Madness to make you appreciate watching every exciting game on your big-screen curved TV!

Question is: Do you have the right mount for it? Finding the right mount for your curved TV is easy!

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re limited on mounting options just because your TV isn’t flat. OmniMount’s full motion and interactive wall mounts will work with a majority of the curved TVs on the market and keep the streamlined design that you desire.

Use our interactive OmniMount Finder tool to find the perfect mount for your curved TV, or any other TVs you may own. While you’re at it, wall mount your soundbar and other components for a clean, professional look.

OmniMount Mount Finder

Did your TV let you down this month, and fail to capture the drama of each dunk during these must-watch games? Advances in electronics have improved the sports viewing experience so now is a good time to consider upgrading to a new TV.

Stay tuned for our upcoming technical guide that will help you find an excellent model that meets your sports viewing needs.

Happy Heart-healthy Valentine’s Day!

At OmniMount, we’ll be celebrating this holiday with loved ones and a heart-healthy gift or date. The American Heart Association has some tips about how to indulge your sweetheart on February 14th.

Consider … a handmade paper Valentine or poem … quality time gathered around a fire … raisins, grapes, or pretzels at school or day care parties … a romantic candlelight dinner at home … a volunteer date at a local organization … a beautiful fresh fruit gift basket … show Fido some love with a game of catch … got a box of chocolates? Enjoy a piece, freeze the rest … take a long romantic stroll with your sweetie …

Or, do what we do, and merge the team-building and social aspects of office hours with the benefits of regular exercise. Invite co-workers to a “Healthy Hour.” 

By supporting the American Heart Association, OmniMount hopes to play a part in the prevention, treatment and ultimate defeat of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Read more about the ways OmniMount gives back.

 

 

How to accessorize your TV today

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Want to polish your entertainment system so it looks sharp, messy cables are untangled or hidden, and components are close at hand? Omnimount has always underscored the importance of safely – and stylishly – integrating technology into the home. Take a look at our colorful e-book, How to Accessorize Your New TV, for ideas. Explore a variety of rooms with mounted TV solutions and see how the right accessories make any space more functional and fashion-forward.

Mounting your TV on the wall is a great way to prevent a potentially dangerous situation, especially if your TV will be used in a high-traffic area or in a household with kids and pets. Choose between fixed, tilt, full motion, or interactive mounts. To get the most out of your media room, be sure to pick a spot to mount your TV that’s near electrical outlets.

After your TV is mounted, here are four steps to adding style to your space:

  1. Make sure you’re not putting stress on cables – stretching, sharply bending, or setting heavy objects on them can damage the wires, causing signal failures that affect sound and picture quality. If insulation is frayed or worn, replace the cable.
  2. Add an AV wall shelf to hold components: A sleek wall shelf is a great solution to hold a soundbar, satellite/cable box or gaming console near the TV.
  3. Manage loose cables: Cable management is an important final step. Not only will it create a pro-quality finished look, but it’ll also secure cables that could otherwise be pulled out or tripped on.
  4. Speaking of cables, label them so it’s easy to identify what goes to the TV, speakers, and components. (A bread bag ring and indelible marker is fine, but so is a fancy label maker.)

Have questions? OmniMount has you covered! Call our 24/7 customer care team at 1.800.MOUNT.IT.

Outdoor home theater = healthy summer fun

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Do you want to take your entertainment with you while soaking up the sun on your deck, patio or poolside? Want to give your backyard some Fixer Upper love? OmniMount has a wide array of fixed, tilt, full motion and interactive TV mounts to support all-weather televisions. They’re a great option, offering the ultimate in both style and performance.

Many of us have been glued to our television screens this summer, watching exciting sports events, such as Euro 2016, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games. Not to mention binge-watching the new seasons of on-demand series! Outdoor TVs allow us to enjoy shows and movies in the fresh air and sunlight whenever we can.

For those concerned about the dangers of too much sitting, there’s a bonus opportunity here: while the weather is warm and the days are still long, boost your family’s fitness with these outdoor activities and watch the calorie burn start to add up:

Dance party = cut the rug for 11 minutes to burn up 56 calories.

De-stress with yoga = lightly stretching for 17 minutes burns 50 calories.

Play catch with the kids = toss the ball for 18 minutes and burn 54 calories.

Mow the lawn = give the grass a trim for 8 minutes and torch 52 calories.

Beautify the garden = weed flowerbeds (or planters) for 10 minutes to burn 59 calories. (Beautiful blooms are a bonus.)

Play with your pet = Fido loves fetch, plus 15 minutes can burn 50 calories for you.

Pretend you’re Bobby Flay = fire up the grill (indoors or out) for 25 minutes and use up 57 calories.

The most important thing is to find a calorie-burning activity that you enjoy. The more you enjoy it, the easier it will be to fit it into your busy lifestyle, and keep up with your favorite shows.

Have you figured out some great ways to move more at home? We want to hear about them! Share in the comments below or reach out on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

A ray of home for the work-from-home woes

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Barring the perks of working from home in your PJs, how comfortable are you doing long stints on your computer at your kitchen table, on the couch or at a desk? Odds are, discomfort is your frequent companion.

There might be a remedy for you. A new resource on Juststand.org/toolkit helps you to educate your employer on the personal and organizational benefits of adopting a sit-stand workstation, wherever your work issay the living room, dining room, or porch.

Hey boss!

A downloadable “Ask Your Boss” email template gives you all the information you need to convince your employer, including talking points to support your request.

Activating your home life goes beyond the home office. Check out some of the other OmniMount products that bring a new level of interactivity to traditional home entertainment activities. 

 

Curved TV’s: why they’re a viewer favorite

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Thinking of embracing the newest “concept entry” in the world of home theater electronics? Sales of curved TV’s are exploding among mainstream consumers, not just tech aficionados eager to buy the latest and greatest. While some still call curved TV’s a gimmick, it does look like they’re here to stay.

The top reasons many viewers have fallen for the curve:

  1. The rounded nature of the TV contours draws you in for an immersive viewing experience.
  2. Depth is deeper, so perception is enhanced, similar to watching a 3D movie.
  3. Width is wider, so the image seems to stretch even further, and is accurate from side views.
  4. Better contrast and sharpness, especially at the edges, makes for a richer picture.
  5. From an interior design perspective, curved TV’s look cool!

Some viewers think the experience rivals that of going to the movies, in fact, many commercial cinemas use curved screens. One consumer electronics reporter sums up his experiment, a month after adding a curved 65-inch TV to his home theater:

“For my efforts, I’ve gained almost 6 pounds, thanks to roughly 32 bags of microwave popcorn washed down with several gallons of Mr. Pibb – and developed a suspicious numbness in my left leg. It was totally worth it…” We’ve got tips for you on staying fit and burning calories while enjoying your TV at home.

The one drawback that we hear often from people considering a curved TV purchase? They’re afraid the shape will make a wall-mount difficult or awkward. Who wants to be limited to a desktop or floor stand display? That defeats the whole home theater look and feel that has made flat screens so popular. No fear. OmniMount’s open architecture product design ensures our wall mounts are compatible with most of the new curved TV’s. They’re also future-proof, so as technology advances, you can keep up — without having to replace your mount.

More questions about choosing a mount for your curved TV? Ask your retailer for assistance or give us a call at 1-800-MOUNT-IT (800-668-6848). Phone support is available 24 hours a day, a 7 days per week.

 

Top ten TV time tips, pt. 2

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Advances in technology have morphed our entertainment viewing options almost beyond belief. How so? We can now watch our favorite shows on a variety of devices, in a range of locations: In a car, on a beach, or even on our wrists via smart watch!

This is a great time to elevate your TV management game for a boost in safety, organization, and comfort in your home. Recently, we shared some of our best advice for doing just that. (Read part one of our Top Ten List of TV Time Tips here.) Below is the second part, completing the list with tips 6-10. Perhaps this series will inspire you to an even better viewing experience.

6. Create a cable management miracle. Who doesn’t have Medusa-like cables springing from the back of their TV to various peripherals? Besides being unsightly, they can be a trip hazard too. Using cable channels or sleeves, or doing in-wall receptacles for your plugs, allow you to minimize the focus of ugly cords, and give the illusion of your TV floating on the wall. Pretty cool and it doesn’t take that much effort to accomplish.

7. Manage your peripherals like a pro. Does your entertainment area look like a flight deck at NASA? Blue lights glowing, spread across multiple surfaces? Racks or wall shelves are attractive and clean alternatives to managing multiple gadgets. Consolidating them in one area also helps you recoup some space, and looks more attractive on the whole.

8. Turn up the volume a smarter way. Consider speaker mounts for your surround sound experience.

9. View responsively. Not many know it, but sitting for long hours can be harmful to your health. Especially if you sit primarily at work and at home. But what are you to do, when downtime at home should be about relaxing and resting? One rule of thumb is to change positions every 30 minutes, from seated to standing, no matter what you are viewing. Get up to get a drink, throw in some laundry, do some dishes. Breaking up your sedentary time refreshes your muscles and your mind.

10. Teach your family how to be safe too. We just marked National TV Safety Day in February, but every day should be a safe one when it comes to home screen viewing. Check out the terrific resources at Safekids.org, and then share that with the family and set good ground rules for entertainment management.

Perhaps these TV Tune-ups are not on your life bucket list, but maybe having a home theater is. Whatever the goal, it’s important to know, many of these options take only minutes to achieve and offer expanded viewing pleasure…not only in knowing it will be safer, but less of an eyesore too. Tech should look good. Period.

What’s next, rabbit ears? We’ll save that for later. Until then, let the TV updates and upgrades commence!

 

Go for the burn! Torch calories at home with ordinary activity

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Think you have to go to a gym to get your workout? Think again! Everyday activities at home can also burn calories, stretch and tone muscles, and get your heart thumping. Below, we’ll share some easy ways to torch calories throughout the day, without breaking a sweat!

Being moderately active, for even just 10 minutes at a time, can make a big difference in your health and fitness. You don’t have to do it all at once to get results in physical and mental well-being, either.

Research from Harvard Medical School indicates that a number of everyday activities can burn as many calories as brisk walking, cycling, or low-impact aerobics. When vigorous activity isn’t the only option, you can more easily fit in that doctor-recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Check out these easy ways to burn calories with ordinary movement, based on an average metabolism for a 155 lb. person, per half-hour session. Your mileage may vary!:

Standing (on phone, etc.) = 47 calories

Ironing = 70 calories

Cooking = 93 calories

Unpacking boxes = 130 calories

Childcare (bathe/feed) = 130 calories

Playing with kids = 149 calories

Leaf raking = 149 calories

House painting (interior) = 167 calories

Window cleaning =167 calories

Gardening/weeding = 172 calories

Vacuuming = 180 calories

Snow shoveling = 200 calories

Over the course of a year, you can lose pounds and inches by engaging for just a few hours a week in any of these activities. Not motivated to move? Great music can put the fun in even housework, so crank up a fast-paced tune and burn some calories while you clean!

Recent research at Loughborough University suggests that people who use a standing desk at work may then slightly increase their sitting time at home. Be conscious of this all-too-human trap, called the “compensation effect,” so that you don’t fall into it.

Taking part in low-intensity physical activity while at home has a positive effect for health so get moving, and keep moving! Have you figured out some great ways to move more at home? We want to hear about them! Share in the comments below or reach out on Twitter and Facebook.

Top 10 TV time tune-ups, part 1

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Overnight, our entertainment viewing options have changed. Doesn’t it feel that way? We can see our favorite shows on our watch, in car headrests, through our phones at the beach, our tablets on the train, or via satellite on the plane. Given all these advancements, imagine our surprise when recently we discovered TV safety still includes ensuring proper positioning and anchoring of any TV, CRT and flat screen alike, in the home.

For the uninitiated, and essentially that’s everyone under the age of 40, CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube, i.e., those old boxy TVs heavier than a bread box, with bad habits like sucking up space, energy, and being at odds with your décor. E-landfills are full of them, aren’t they, but our homes too? It got us thinking.

In addition to postponed TV upgrades, what else are people, let’s say “missing”, when it comes to TV management in the home? As a result, here’s the first part of our Top Ten List of TV Time Tune-ups. Perhaps it will inspire you.

1. Consider mounting your TV on the wall. Netflix and online streaming aside, most homes do sport a high-def TV or two. Is it a potential hazard on unstable surfaces? Is there the potential of tip-overs? Or does it under serve your needs? Mounting your TV will free up valuable space, will modernize your tech-décor, and will help reduce your safety risks.

2. Get to know the world of wall mounts. We know, you’ve trudged through those areas in the store for TV mounts and thought, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” Or, like an old Steve Martin routine on Saturday Night Live, asked, “What in the heck is that thing?” Not all mounts are created equal. You will find there are mounts from the easiest install you can imagine to sophisticated setups that will make you the envy of all your peers. Take time to find the one that’s right for your home space and viewing needs, from a quality brand that will protect your investment.

3. Expand your viewing views. Gone are the days when sitting in the living room was the only place you watched TV, and that TV was the only thing you watched. Gaming, exercising, sharing pics and watching videos are just a few of the ways people are using their TVs these days. Consider an action mount that allows broader adjustment to your view. Action mounts allow your screen to follow you wherever you are within range. Down low when on the floor, to the right or to the left, or up high for the big game.

4. E-Cycle after your TV tech upgrades. Neighborhood clean ups or even some big box stores are making it really easy for you to clear old TVs out of your home.

5. Ask for help to install your wall mounted TVs. Gasp. We know, asking for helping can be just as daunting for some as using powers tools is for others. But most mounting projects are entirely doable by you and a handy friend. Or, consider engaging an installer to do the job on larger, smart entertainment projects. Service providers can make quick work of it too, so that 1 hour install doesn’t need to take six weeks.

Stay tuned for part 2, when we’ll continue with our top 6 to 10 tune-ups!