TV Lifts Solutions
Television in the World of Today
TV programs and shows have the ability to bring people together, creating memories and starting debates and discussion around what’s on the screen. Communities of strangers with common TV loves or interests have arisen from many shows. Game of Thrones or The Simpsons have millions of global fans, eager to exchange their views and opinions on a multitude of platforms, primarily digital in this technological age.
Television also performs an important social function, enabling effective calls for action in times of crises, disasters, or social emergencies. Reaching out to society, it can propagate campaigns on topics such as environmental awareness, physical exercise, responsible eating habits or charity issues.
With the progression of the digital age, television has undergone major transformations, enabling people to enjoy its content more than they ever did before. Multiple screen technologies and the combination of TV with computer grants the viewers of today tremendous opportunities to feel part of the modern hi-tech civilization, and of the close global community.
Having become ubiquitous, television has crossed the confines of the living room and found its way to every corner of modern homes, compelling us to find room for it in places that previously seemed most unlikely. Modern technologies made it possible to have TV sets in kitchens and open-air terraces, to install them in cabinets and bedroom frames, and even hide them behind fireplaces. How is that possible? Well, the answer is a motorized TV lift.
What Is a TV Lift?
A TV lift (also called a TV lifting system) is a mechanical system powered by electricity and used to move a TV set vertically or horizontally out of (and into) ceilings, partition walls or (most often) furniture. In the latter case, the TV is typically hidden in a lift TV cabinet, although there have been cases of all furniture pieces used to house a TV lift stand.
Why would anyone want to hide a TV set or a computer monitor? The simplest explanation is saving room in increasingly cluttered and space-strapped places or keeping expensive devices out of the reach of children who may inadvertently damage it. The protection factor may be crucial if a hidden TV lift cabinet is incorporated into your kitchen built-in furniture, as it will function as a protective case against dust, moisture, and other environmental influences. However, safety reasons don’t dominate in the decision to have a TV cabinet lift installed in your house, for instance, if it is a bed frame with TV lift.
People often opt for TV lift cabinets many different ideas in mind. It may happen that the inclusion of this high-tech installation may compliment the style of the existing room interior. For instance, a state-of-the-art LED screen may be incompatible with a quaint, vintage design of exquisite parlor furniture. Yet the inclusion of a TV in this setting may still be imperative to the owners, who run into the problem of altering the mood and style of the space. A TV lift cabinet is a solution to the dilemma.
Until recently, TV lifts have been regarded as a luxury commodity that fits well into fancy houses, dapper apartments, and conference halls, not to mention private yachts or jets. Today, the overall project costs of installing a TV lift are deemed quite reasonable, with the general improvement of living standards, their rise in popularity and the wide range of these products available on the market. From a cutting-edge designer solution to a simple unobtrusive and quite affordable DIY TV lift, they are becoming more available and more popular each day.
History of TV Lifts
The first cathode-ray TV sets were bulky and heavy objects (or rather pieces of furniture) that usually sat squarely on the floor. To hide them when necessary, people used, and many still use, monumental entertainment units that look like cabinets with doors. Naturally, they are rather cumbersome and can add little to the aesthetic décor of the room. These alternatives can also be quite pricey.
Due to the unwieldy size of early TV sets, TV lifts that hit the market in the middle of the 20th century were bulky contraptions, designed to support significant weight. They were plain devices that required a lot of space for installation and could raise a TV set out of a furniture piece or a room divider. Notwithstanding their sheer primitiveness, they cost a fortune and having them in private homes was unthinkable for many. Only the most ritzy hotels and the wealthy could splurge on the sleek innovations.
With the recreation industry conquered, television lifts have started to penetrate colleges and hospitals. Having filled many institutions for which the convenience was required, TV lifts eventually made their way into places and areas out of desire rather than necessity. This large-scale presence caused the dropping of TV lift prices.
The mid-1970’s saw the arrival of slimmer and consequently lighter TV sets, which heralded the arrival of vertical ceiling lifts. As LCD and plasma displays were introduced at the turn of the century, more compact TV lift cabinets for flat screens appeared on the market. The novel LED technologies which appeared around 2011 allowed TV lifts to be refined even further.
It is not only technological advancement that propels the growing popularity of TV lifts today. Interior design trends also have something to do with it. In our case, the trendsetter is minimalism. Its basic principle boils down to the idea that “less is more”. In other words, less clutter means more living space. Unlike typical rooms in the middle of the 20th century, which tended to be overcrowded with pictures, books, figurines and paraphernalia of all kinds, modern lodgings sport plenty of open space and parade only a few carefully picked items meant to pinpoint the hosts’ taste. TV lift furniture is in perfect compliance with minimalistic principles of having a livable home without renouncing the essentials of modern life.
Another overbearing reason TV lifts are part of mainstream society is our fascination, and even obsession, with gadgets of all kinds. Social networks are full of videos demonstrating the latest high-tech advances and unconventional approaches to functional furniture. TV lift furniture is a hit, with videos of proud owners boasting their TV sliding out of sight often going viral due to a fascinated audience.
Parts of a TV Lift
It is not possible to make generalizations on the structure of a TV lift, due to devices available on the market today coming in a whole array of types, models and shapes. Accordingly, implementation is completely dependent on the template of the mechanism. Yet there are some common characteristics of all (or a majority of) TV lift types. The principal part of the appliance is naturally the TV lift mechanism which is rather simple. It consists of a lift unit and a power supply. The latter is plugged into the wall socket and connected to the former via an R.F. module with a rocker switch.
The screen is fixed to a sturdy metal frame that moves up and down on the lift unit. The fixation is achieved through lift brackets and TV mounting brackets, which have screw holes in them to fasten the structure steadily together. If a TV lift is designed to be hidden in a cabinet, the TV lift kit will also include a lid lifter. If the manufacturer is concerned with safety issues, the set may include an anti-pinch guard also. To start the mechanism into motion, a remote control is typically used.
Pop Up TV Lifts
How a TV Lift Works
Outwardly, it is very simple. You enter the room, press a remote-control button and voila! By clicking the button, you switch on the lifting mechanism that moves the TV out of its hiding place. If the TV lift is located on the floor, the lift raises the TV to be later lowered back down into the cabinet.
Alternatively, if it is a drop-down TV lift, which is lowered from the ceiling, the algorithm of its work is reversed. The viewing position of the screen is achieved through the downward motion of the device, and when not in use it is lifted back up to the ceiling.
All this seems well and simple, but what if the remote control is lost? To prepare for such an issue, most lifts are provided with manual operation buttons as a back-up. They can not only raise and lower the screen, but also switch it on and off. And occasionally you may not need any remote control if it is a manual TV lift operated with a crank, though such a construction is quite rare nowadays. It can be seen mostly in old-fashioned DIY TV lift cabinets that seem like a relic of the past.
On the flip side, having such a contraption will join the environmentally minded community as your house will consume less electricity. Moreover, plying the crank can be seen as another workout for your muscles! It is also sheer fun to blend the old-time way of moving things with the high tech of today.
A recent development in the design of TV lifts showed that the movement of the device may not be limited to two directions only (i.e. up and down). Some cutting-edge contemporary lifts have the ability to swivel. After the screen is raised, it can be manually swiveled in either direction, ultimately providing the user with 360-degree viewing.
Such constructions are compulsorily furnished with a restriction safety feature that forbids the lowering of the screen if it is not in its original position. This construction is perfect for a bed with TV lift or for cabinets located against a wall or a window. In the latter case, however, the rotation range will be limited.
However versatile in size and shape the lifting mechanisms are mostly designed to operate loads between 5 and 100 kg. Naturally, you can’t exceed the maximum burden, otherwise the motor just won’t raise your TV. However, it is also recommended to load it at least to the minimum capacity indicated to avoid extra noise which could be then produced, notably on the down cycle.
The size of the lift is also important. Normally, mechanisms allow for 23’’ to 70’’ screens to be fastened to them; before acquiring one, make sure it can accommodate your TV. This can be done by checking the size of the vertical and horizontal mounting brackets the lift is equipped with. The vertical bar is adjustable to the height of your TV while the horizontal bar is equipped to line up with the mounting holes at the back of the TV. If the TV size is smaller than the maximum height dimension of the lift, the device will fit you well.
Safety features that some TV lifts have are contact strips and anti-collision monitoring systems. The former is also known as a ‘dead man's switch’. It allows the lift to stop the moment the operator releases the remote-control button. The latter is programmable and is a must-have in the case of autonomous operating systems (and a TV lift is an example of such).
The anti-collision monitoring system is provided with a control box that stops the motion of the TV and then directs it in the opposite way if the amount of power rapidly peaks. Usually, such power increases are a telltale sign that some obstacle forbids screen movement, so the user can safely dislodge it.
A cutting-edge element that some modern lifts are equipped with is a 12-volt trigger built into the device for infrared set up.
Drop Down TV Lifts
Types of TV Lifts
To determine what TV lift will suit your room, you must be aware of the types that manufacturers offer today and of their advantages and shortcomings. All TV lifts fall within the following categories:
This is by far the most popular and widespread TV lift. In a pop-up TV lift, the screen is raised vertically, moved by a telescopic pipe which is extended when the electric motor is activated. When extended, the pipes within the multipiece telescopic system lift the TV.
The pipe is normally in the central position and is equipped with a standing foot, ensuring the stability of the whole structure. Alternately, U-designed pop-up TV lifts are still available on the market, although they are considered outdated. In them, a tubular motor moves the TV that sits on a platform upward out of a furniture piece. Whichever pop-up lift appeals to you, installing it does not require any serious technical skills. However, hiding your TV inside a cabinet will necessitate purchasing specialized furniture.
Their design is reversed compared to the pop-up lifts. These systems (aka ceiling lifts) lower the screen instead of raising it. Such a peculiar design incurs several complications. Firstly, quite a significant amount of space in the ceiling or attic to hide the screen should be at your disposal.
However, there exists a variation of this type called a flip-down screen which does not require upper floor space for it, just a ceiling niche, which makes it a prime choice for yachts and recreational vehicles. Secondly, such construction involves more expertise to install it, which practically rules out user installation.
Constructing a ceiling opening, getting a case for the TV ready and attaching it to the mechanism require high accuracy and care to prevent the TV from falling. Thirdly, a special motor and other elements designed for pulling loads are to be employed.
As a rule, they are more expensive than those used for pushing (featured in pop-up lifts), as they can assume considerable retention forces. As convincing the cons may sound, the look and technology of a TV that drops down is quite an impressive one should it suit your space.
Monitor lift systems
These systems are designed for smaller monitor sizes (between 15’’ and 42’’), mostly those of personal computers, and are commonly used in conference halls to save desk space. Sometimes, manufacturers produce monitor lifts with a display already fixed in its place.
The lifting mechanism is almost identical to that of the pop-up lift. The difference lies in the location of the motor and all electric components. In monitor lift systems, they are encased in a metal sheet compartment with the lift secured under the desk with screws. The monitor moves down into a slit cut out of the desk and is then covered with a brushed steel plate.
When a control button is pushed, the cover plate folds into the lift and lets the monitor rise into the position. In its end position, the monitor can be electronically tilted to customize to the users' requirements.
Wall panel lift systems
This one has arguably the widest range of design that can be adjusted to any automatically changing wall panel. Some operate on guide rails and cable hoists while others employ belts and grooves. Whatever the difference in construction may be, all basically perform the same type of motion. A flush wall panel fixed in front of the real wall moves inward and then is lifted or lowered (depending on its location) at the push of a button, making way for the TV that has been placed behind the panel.
Finally, the TV set moves forward to take the place of the panel until it is level with the real wall. Optional design features may allow the TV to be turned or swiveled in the direction necessary for further use.
Picture lift systems
These too make use of a TV’s wall position. However, in this case, the TV is installed in a wall niche behind a picture. Naturally, systems of this kind come in different sizes to fit the dimensions of various pictures. The installation of the system involves bracing, clamping, or screwing the rear picture frame to the aluminum frame of the lifting system. Pushing a remote-control button moves the picture up or down to get access to the screen. In some more elaborately designed models, picture lifts are furnished with the screen swivel option.
The design of these devices is simple. Similar to any flat-screen wall bracket, the swivel system is fixed (usually with screws) to some vertical surface, be it a wall, a cabinet or a piece of furniture. It can be swiveled either to the left or to the right according to its direction of mounting. As a result, you can watch the TV from several positions and angles. Moreover, some models include the option of programming the exact degree of the viewing angle. To this effect, swivel systems can be combined with the above-mentioned devices.
Lifts with articulating monitor arms
These systems are also mounted on vertical surfaces of furniture cabinets and partition walls. However, their construction contains one or more rails and drives, allowing sideways extension from the surface they are fixed to. It is also possible to furnish the articulating monitor arm with the swivel function. Thus, when extended, the arm can be swiveled in the direction you wish. Seats in the room may be arranged at will, as the initial position of the screen can be altered to the user’s requirements.
Practically speaking, these are not TV lifting systems but projector lifting systems. However, it is similar enough to be considered in this list and may be of benefit to those look for larger screens. Systems of this type, typically made of ultralight aluminum, fall into two equipment groups. The first consists of projector lifts built into tables or other pieces of furniture where the projector rises vertically. The second, which is more widespread, encompasses projector drop-down lifts vertically lowered from a suspended ceiling.
Drop-down models come in different versions, from super-flat, to stage projector lifting mechanisms that can carry several hundred kg loads and can rise to five meters. In the latter case, stable equipment guides are imperative. Projector lift systems are typically operated by a tubular or other kind of electric motor and the platform where the projector sits is lowered via chains or belts.
In most types of lifting systems, the TV set is installed using the VESA Mounting Interface Standard. If this standard is not applicable to your TV, special adapters are available on the market.
TV Lifts Line Up
How to Choose the Right TV Lift
Choosing the right lift for your TV is not that tricky, but there are some important points to consider before you make the ultimate decision.
- The first thing to remember is that you should buy a TV set before acquiring the lifting system, so that in selecting the latter you can have benchmark figures to start your calculations with. The figures required are the mounting hole dimensions of your TV. Since most lifting systems feature VESA compatible mounting brackets, you should ensure your TV is VESA compliant also. As most major screen brands follow this standard, it should not be a problem. The VESA standard contains two numbers (for instance, 300 mm x 200 mm), the first of which indicates the width and the second the height of the mounting hole locations. If your TV’s standard is smaller than the numbers on the lifting system, this combination should be suitable.
- Another intricacy connected with VESA standards are the center positions on the back of the TV. They are not as uniform as the previously mentioned parameters, but they will ultimately determine the cabinet height (for example, TVs by Sony have non-standard VESA centers). This will, in turn, determine the correct stroke (the lifting height of the TV), so that it completely rises from the contraption it is hidden in. The stroke can be restricted to meet your requirements but should always exceed the vertical dimension of your TV.
- The weight of your TV is an important factor that will impact your choice of TV lift. Lifting systems typically come with the weight limitations indicated on them as your guideline. However, since modern TV manufacturers go for ever flatter (and consequently lighter) screens, it is likely that you won’t have to worry about overburdening the mechanism.
Your TV set parameters must be the starting point in your decision making. The second important consideration is the type of lift you would like to have. Opting for the best TV lift type, while is influenced by personal preference, also needs to factor the following points:
Where you intend on place the TV lift will determine the type you require. Lifting systems installed in (or against) the wall, in the ceiling, or in your bed are all quite different and have varying requirements and capabilities. For instance, if you are going to opt for a swivel lift, you must ensure there are no impediments obstructing the radius of your device.
Do you want your lift to be ceiling-based? A drop-down lift might be the choice for you. However, if you do not have the ceiling space to cater for this, you may need to change this to a flip-down lift. Opting for a cabinet or piece of furniture to hide your TV? Design decisions can be based on the furniture’s positioning, with possibilities of leaving certain angles unfinished if they are going to be hidden.
For instance, if you intend to locate the TV lift cabinet against the wall, it may have its back unfinished as it is not going to be visible. These are just a small sample of thoughts to consider, with numerous locational factors that need to be taken into account prior to deciding on your TV lift.
The space your TV and TV life will use is of crucial importance. The size of your TV lift cabinet may be dependent on what you are going to store in it; perhaps you do not just want a cable box or DVD player stored with the TV set itself, but some books or other small items also. In the latter case, your choice would be an against-the-wall cabinet containing shelves or drawers just for this purpose. A TV lift footboard would not work as an optimum means of storage, as it is built into your bed. Typically, smaller in size with little room for maneuver, only AV components can be stored in them.
It is advisable to have some manual control of the lifting mechanism in the case of a power failure and the system is jammed.
This is not regarding the actual TV lifts, but rather the cabinets containing them. If you want a traditional design, you may fancy exquisite molding and inlays on the cabinet. If a modern style cabinet appeals to you, you may be attracted by a simpler design with sleek and clean lines. Whether it is traditional, modern or transitional, the TV lift cabinet should be consistent with your vision of the place it is to be installed in. After all, it is your room, so everything in it should cater to your taste.
Ultimately, the correct choice of TV lift depends on a number of factors that need to be seriously considered and planned prior to purchase.
Motorized TV Lifts
Modern Applications of TV Lifts
Traditionally, a TV set is considered a necessary part of a living room, be it a regular TV or hidden and equipped with a lift. While this still applies, the modern approach to media and technology encourages homeowners to be creative and make any room accessible to news and entertainment. Modern designers and manufacturers offer a whole range of solutions to install your TV lift.
TV lifts for bedrooms
These TV lifts can either be housed in separate cabinets standing at the foot of the bed or incorporated into the very footboard of the bed. The latter case can be a preferable option as the whole bedframe (headboard, rails, and footboard) will have a uniform design.
Apart from a ready-made bed with a built-in TV lift, you can order a customized bed that will fit into the interior design of your bedroom. Deciding on this type of TV lift, you should give careful consideration to the material of the bed frame.
Plastic boards or laminated MDF may not be a desirable surface for your bed. All-wood cabinets and bed frames will last infinitely longer and will be a healthier (although pricier) choice. If you already have the bed but still wish to watch your favorite shows lying in it, there is no sense in replacing it with a new one having a built-in TV lift.
An under-bed TV lift will be your choice in this case; the lifting system stores the TV set under your bed. The screen is protected with a flap that opens when it rises and closes when it is concealed. This option has two advantages to it. Firstly, you do not have to worry about the choice of cabinet as it requires none. Secondly (which results from the first), you will have more free space in your bedroom, which is important for small spaces.
TV lifts and fireplaces
TV lifts situated above fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular. Speaking on electric fireplaces only, your TV can hang above it and slide down to the mantelpiece at your command. Moreover, such a solution seems to be a winning design.
Fireplaces tend to be the focal point of a room’s design, with the same said of TV’s. By hiding one behind the other you marry function and fashion and eliminate a focal point clash. A real fireplace excludes this option as the heat it produces will destroy the sensitive screen and all electronics. Electric fireplaces function differently; they employ either a forced fan or infrared quartz. In the former, a silent fan warms the air in the room by blowing over heated coils.
The latter uses infrared light to warm the surfaces it reaches rather than the air around it. Yet neither type of heat will affect the cabinet where the TV is housed. The installation of a fireplace TV lift needs expert installment and many considerations to be taken into account before proceeding.
Kitchen TV lifts
Fond of watching TV while doing the dishes? Or perhaps you like to cook following video instructions and recipes? Then this innovation is for you. There are different ways to position the TV lift, starting with a kitchen counter (from where it would rise) and finishing with the wall cabinetry (from where it would sink). More sophisticated models offer a swivel mechanism that will allow a 360-degree viewing from wherever in the kitchen you are!
The solutions described above can be rather expensive depending on the combinations you opt for. If you want to have a modern, innovative TV lift that will not make a hole in your pocket, a DIY TV lift is a worthwhile project. Furthermore, a DIY TV lift is your only option if your TV’s size or installation area don’t fit the standard parameters.
A DIY TV Lift Guide
Nowadays, with a broad range of available tools and DIY electronics, making a TV lift is quite achievable. The tools you need include are as follows:
- a measuring tape
- a level
- a circular saw
- a utility knife
- a framing square
- a stud finder
- a drill with bits
- a wrench and socket set
- a paint roller
- screws, bolts, washers and lock nuts
- one piano hinge
The most sophisticated component for your lift is a linear actuator.
Select the correct linear actuator. While doing this you must remember to get one with a minimum weight capacity 50% greater than your TV weight and at least one or two inches longer than the TV height. To make the installation and wiring easier, choose an actuator with a built-in limit switch.
Install the actuator. Ideally, it should be positioned behind the TV on the wall to prevent the dislocation of insulation
Create an operable door. The piece of plywood can be used to make a cover over your TV. The piano hinge will let it open and close when the TV rises or sinks.
Use another piece of plywood to make a mounting plate between the actuator bracket and the TV. A cardboard template will help you to have all the precise measurements made and transferred to the plywood.
Install the TV on the mount. Fix and secure it with the bolts, washers, and lock nuts.
Finish up by removing the mounting plate to sand and paint it. That done, re-mount your TV and make sure all bolts and screws are tightened. It is also important to tie together all cords and cables to prevent them from getting into the way of the mechanism when it works. With the preliminary planning, your custom TV lift project may be completed in a day.
Today, an ever-increasing number of users have a motorized TV lift cabinet installed in their homes. It is an excellent way to make a high-tech innovation compatible with your interior design. Still remaining an ultramodern and chic device, TV lifts are not nearly as privileged as they used to be, getting more affordable and accessible over time.