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It makes sense – you have a beautiful, inviting fireplace that serves as a focal point in your living area. It only makes sense to orient the furniture around this welcoming feature in your home. But what about the TV? If the furniture placement indicates anything, it’s likely you’re thinking the perfect spot is right above the mantle.

Unfortunately, experts disagree with this placement for many reasons; from an ergonomically correct position to potential heat damage. We’re going to take a look at the reasons you shouldn’t mount your TV over your fireplace.

Heat and Electronics Don’t Mix

Electronics don’t do well with heat. They warp and degrade in the presence of high temperatures, while conductive materials actually fray and cause shorts within the circuitry of the television.

Smoke is a separate, but equally important concern. Smoke and particulate from fires can rise and leave a hazy film on your television, which requires quite a bit of upkeep if you wish to make the most of that 1080p resolution.

It’s Not Ergonomic

TV placement above a fireplace typically results in stiff necks. Ideally, the most comfortable position to view any kind of entertainment is at eye-level. When we hold our necks in an uncomfortable position for long periods, we experience temporary discomfort that can lead to long-term issues like chronic headaches.

Physical therapists who specialize in musculoskeletal issues confirm – much like the concerns we have of sitting for too long at our desks, hunched over at our computers – the effects of watching television in an unnatural position have lasting consequences.

Anything above 35 degrees from the horizontal plane of eye level prevents the neck stabilizer muscles from functioning. When those muscles become compromised, they cause a shearing force in the cervical spine, causing lots of pain.

Screen Quality Gets Compromised

With LCD/LED TVs, the viewing angle is everything. Because their composition consists of tiny, shuttered windows that control the flow of backlight to produce the images, they have limited viewing angles. If you prefer to mount your television, consider buying a tilted wall mount that has enough of a downward angle to allow for a more direct view of the screen. Sometimes, you may even find wall mounts that drop the TV closer to eye level to improve both contrast and color saturation.

If tilted mounts aren’t your thing, try an OLED TV, which is known for having a myriad of viewing angles, no matter the placement.

Alas, if the layout of your living space limits your options, leaving you feeling defeated, there are some things you can do to try and mitigate the negative aspects of having a TV mounted above the fireplace:

  • You can try to place your seating further back to lower the angle of your neck as you view your shows.
  • You might opt for a reclined position while you watch TV.
  • You can refrain from having a fire going while you watch TV, so the lighting from the screen and the fireplace don’t compete.
  • You can have your TV professionally installed for proper cable management and expert suggestions for how to get the most out of your TV’s new position.