The television has crossed the confines of the living room and found its way to every corner of modern homes. This has propelled us to find room for it in places that previously seemed unlikely or unachievable. Modern technologies have made it possible to place television sets in kitchens and open-air terraces, to install them in cabinets and bedroom frames, and even hide them behind fireplaces. This is all done through the installation of an automatic TV lift.
What Is a TV Lift?
A TV lift stand, or TV lifting system, is a mechanical system powered by electricity and used to move a television set vertically or horizontally out of (and into) ceilings, partition walls, or furniture such as retractable TV cabinets. The advantages of implementing this mechanised system lies in its ability to optimise one’s space, protect the device from potential harm such as from dust, moisture, or playful children. A TV lift system may also allow for one to maintain a certain setting in one’s space, for example a vintage parlour style, without compromising it with a modern piece of technology.
Until recently, TV lifts have been regarded as a luxury commodity saved for fancy houses, dapper apartments, and conference halls. Today, however, the overall project costs of installing a TV cabinet with lift mechanism are deemed quite reasonable due to 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 drop down TV lift, they are becoming more available and more popular each day.
Parts of an Electric TV Lift
Due to the vast varieties of television sets, there is no standardized type of a TV Lift. Accordingly, implementation is completely dependent on the template of the mechanism. There are, however, a few common characteristics shared across various types. The principal part of the appliance is naturally the TV lift mechanism, consisting 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 as well. To set the mechanism into motion, a remote control for TV lift is typically used.
Functioning of an Electric TV Lift
Outwardly, it is very simple. You enter the room, press a remote-control button and voila! You television reveals itself. As a failsafe to missing remotes, most lifts are provided with manual operation buttons. Alternatively, one could opt for the manual crank option as opposed to the remote control. Having such a contraption will join the environmentally minded community as one would consume less electricity. Moreover, plying the crank can be seen as a workout. There are also new cutting edge designs that break from the traditional two-way motion. These have the ability to swivel the screen in either direction, ultimately providing the user with 360-degree viewing.
Such constructions are 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 retractable TV cabinets located against a wall or a window. In the latter case, however, the rotation range will be limited. The lifting mechanisms of these devices are mostly designed to operate loads between 5 and 100 kg. Naturally, you cannot exceed the maximum burden, otherwise the motor will fail to raise your television. However, it is also recommended to load it at least to the minimum capacity indicated to avoid extra noise which could produce usually 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. It is thus vital to check the measurements of a TV Lift and ensuring it matches that of your set before purchasing it. 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. 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 tell-tale sign that some obstacle is hindering screen movement.
Types of TV Lifts
To determine what automatic 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 also available, 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 constitute purchasing specialized furniture.
Also known as ceiling lifts, these systems lower the screen instead of raising it. Such a peculiar design incurs several considerations. Firstly, quite a significant amount of space in the ceiling or attic to hide the screen should be at your disposal. A variation of this type exists, namely the flip-down screen which combats this large requirement. This model does not need upper floor space, merely a ceiling niche. This makes it a prime choice for yachts and recreational vehicles. Secondly, such construction involves more expertise to install, ruling out user installation.
Constructing a ceiling opening, getting a case for the TV, and attaching it to the mechanism requires high accuracy and care to prevent the TV from falling. There is also a special motor and other elements designed for pulling loads that must be employed. As a rule, a drop-down TV lift is more expensive than those used for pushing (featured in pop-up lifts), as they can assume considerable retention forces. The overall look and technology of a TV that drops down is quite an impressive, however, making this type rather appealing.
Monitor Lift Systems
These systems are designed for smaller monitor sizes, between 15’’ and 42’’. Mostly used for personal computers and in conference halls, 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 then 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 options and 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 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. 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 swivelled in the direction necessary for further use.
Picture Lift Systems
Also making use of the television’s position on the wall, this design uses 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 aluminium 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.
Similar to any flat-screen wall bracket, the swivel system is fixed to some vertical surface, be it a wall, a cabinet, or a piece of furniture. It can be swivelled either to the left or to the right according to its direction of mounting. This allows for viewing 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 thus, allowing for sideways extension from the surface they are fixed to. It is also possible to furnish the articulating monitor arm with the swivel function. Therefore, when extended, the arm can be swivelled in any desired direction.
Technically speaking, this is not an automatic TV lift system but a projector lift system. 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 aluminium, 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.
A drop-down TV lift model comes in different versions, from super-flat, to stage projector lifting mechanisms that can carry several hundred kilogram 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.
How to Choose the Right TV Lift
Choosing the appropriate television set is not particularly challenging, but there are a few important points to consider before making the final decision. Firstly, one must purchase a television set before acquiring a lift to avoid any measurement issues as stated previously in this article. 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.
Another intricacy connected with VESA standards are the centre 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. This will, in turn, determine the correct stroke to ensure the television 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. Lastly, 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.
These TV set parameters must be the starting point in the decision-making process. The second important consideration is the type of lift you would like to have. The following factors must be considered when doing so.
Where you intend on place the automatic TV lift will determine the type you require. Lifting systems installed in or against the wall, ceiling, or bed are all quite different and have varying requirements and capabilities. These requirements were all referred to in depth when examining the different types of lifts available.
The size of your TV lift cabinet would depend on whether or not one wants to store additional items in the cabinet along with the set.
It is advisable to have some manual control of the lifting mechanism in the case of a power failure or if the system becomes jammed.
This depends greatly on the taste of the user as it refers to the cabinet that will hold the set and lift. Whether it is traditional, modern, or transitional, the retractable TV cabinets should be consistent with your vision of the place it is to be installed in.
The value of space comes to the fore when you have none left. Having said that, compactness of a design is of utmost importance. Not only does a cluttered-up space bring in negativity, but also gives a bad impression to the viewers.
If you are using retractable TV cabinets for flat screens, the space would be measured in terms of height, width and even the depth. If you are using an in-ceiling fold-up lift, then you can free up more space by allowing 3 or 4 inches of overhead depth to allow for more space utilisation.
Lifts should ideally be made from good quality materials making them well equipped to perform the task at hand. In an ideal situation, TV lifts should be constructed from aluminium and stainless steel, to ensure they can handle the pressure of movement along with the weight of the television. Different lifts are designed with different quality materials, depending on the usage and the area of the fitting.
Last but not the least, is the cost of the mechanism. Though there are some models that leave a hole brunt in one’s pocket, buying an extremely cheap product might lead to issues in later use. For this very reason, a good TV lift should be moderately priced, and should suit everyone’s needs.
A DIY TV Lift Guide
Nowadays, with a broad range of available tools and DIY electronics, making an electric TV lift is quite achievable. We have given a list of required components and a brief overview of how to create a mechanism of hiding your TV and raising/lowering it from a cabinet below. For more in-depth instructions on your specific application, contact our customers support!
- Measuring Tape
- Circular Saw
- Utility Knife
- Framing Square
- Stud Finder
- Drill and Bits
- Wrench and Socket Set
- Paint Roller
- Screws, Bolts, Washers, and Lock Nuts
- One Piano Hinge
- Linear Actuator
Step 1: Select the Correct Linear Actuator
It is imperative to purchase 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.
Step 2: Install the Actuator
Mount the actuator to a sturdy surface and to your TV. If you are unsure about the correct angle or location, contact our engineering team! Ideally, the actuator should be positioned behind the TV on the wall to prevent the dislocation of insulation.
Step 3: Create an Operable Door
A piece of plywood can be used to make a cover over your TV. By creating a ‘piano hinge’ mechanism, it will let it open and close when the TV rises or lowers.
Step 4: Create a Mounting Plate for the Actuator and TV
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.
Step 5: Install the TV on the Mount
Fix and secure it with the bolts, washers, and lock nuts.
Step 6: Paint and Sand the Mounting Plate
Finish up by removing the mounting plate to sand and paint it. Then remount 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 hindering the mechanism. With the preliminary planning, your custom TV lift project may be completed in a day.
Remote TV Lift Control
Most TV lifts use a wireless remote system, in addition to a manual push switch. This way, you don’t have to raise the TV repeatedly manually. A remote control works on the line-of-sight principle, which means that if the remote cannot ‘see’ the component, it will not work. The set can thus not be hidden behind an object. Keeping this in mind, there are two ways a wireless remote control for TV lift can communicate with a receiver. Both steps are equally important and need to be kept in mind at the time of buying a TV lift.
There are two types of remote control systems, namely Infrared signals (IR) Radio frequency signals (RF). Since most TV lift remotes work on the IR technology, only this technology will be examined.
An Infrared Remote has a receiving eye, which needs to be placed in a visible location for the remote to pick up the signal. This sensor will further receive the signal from the remote control and transmit the commands to the hidden television set. Furthermore, there are two types of receivers available, the “table-top” version and the smaller, discrete “tear drop” sensor.
Additionally, a small device commonly known as an infrared transmitter is fitted into the front panel of your electronic devices. These emitters are attached to the device using adhesive and will rest directly on top of your Television. Hence, as soon as the remote button is pressed, the movement sequence shall commence. As stated before, IR system needs an unbroken line of sight to function smoothly. In order to facilitate the smooth movement and complete the circuit connection, a small device with a receiving eye, power supply and infrared emitters is plugged into the device in the furniture. Once the receiving connection is complete, the TV lift functions smoothly.
Today, an ever-increasing number of users have an automatic TV lift cabinet installed in their homes. This combination of high-tech innovation and interior design can have multiple placements from the kitchen to the bedroom and even atop electric fireplaces. It is an easy to install appliance operating with ease at the click of a button.