Review: OmniMount Play40 Interactive Wall Mount

Review: OmniMount Play40 Interactive Wall Mount

As the systems we play games on continue to evolve gamers find themselves locked in an eternal struggle to adapt and adjust to such a dynamic industry. This recent trend as left plenty of companies scratching their collective heads wondering just exactly where to go from next and how to provide a product that is next to all encompassing. OmniMount is on the cutting edge of that movement.

OmniMount Play40

My Favorite Position

 

Growing up I approached game playing with a rather mobile attitude. Whereas most people just plopped down on the couch and had at it, I was constantly adjusting and readjusting. Anything was fair game as long as it met two very vague criteria: I had to be able to see at least most of the screen and my controller cord had to be able to just barely reach. I was generally able to work with anything else.

I have vivid memories of chastising my babysitter’s eldest son for his insistence on laying down while gaming, proclaiming that he wasn’t as capable of focusing as me, who was plopped down cross-legged barely 3 feet from the giant wooden-framed TV occupying the majority of the corner floor space. There I sat for years until I graduated to a chair a fair ways away from the TV, but that soon grew tiresome and I migrated back to the floor; this time on my stomach with a pile of pillows crammed underneath me. Neck strain grew more and more prevalent as TVs left the comfort of the floor and made their way onto eye level stands, ultimately forcing me back into a recliner.

Since then I have experimented with an equally absurd amount of positions including a strangely calming and focused standing position, thanks in part to the Wii. But in all, I think it goes without saying that I never truly found something that worked because I was always a slave to one thing:

The position of my TV.

Poor TV placement

Relieving the Stress

Unfortunately, with the current trend in gaming, TV position is perhaps the most integral part of a solid gaming experience. Features like the Wii’s motion controller and the PlayStation Move both require very specific angles in order for a player to properly interact with the game, while Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect demands a ridiculous amount of open space just to function at the most basic level. To further add to the stress, 3D gaming and movies are essentially here to stay and with the end of those awful glasses nowhere on the horizon choosing the right spot for your TV is everything. All of these factors combine to create a veritable nightmare for arranging the ideal TV room and even worse, choosing a playing position

After I made the leap to giant, modern flat panel TVs, I found myself stressing endlessly over trying to map out the perfect arrangement for my ideal gaming station. Just when I finally figured out where to mount the TV and place the speakers I discovered that the couch doesn’t fit and before I  knew I was to square one. As a result, I ended up with a TV placement that was less than ideal.

Thankfully, OmniMount is here to alleviate a bit of the stress with the new Play40.

Go Ahead, ‘Play’ With Your TV

Tagged as an interactive action mount, the Play40 is essentially an articulating wall mount on steroids and singlehandedly eliminates the need to stress about TV placement. The thought process behind this mount is simple: encourage people to get up and interact with their TV.

Now, you may be thinking that staring all drooly-faced at your screen for hours on end is about as much action as your TV is going to get, but once you’ve bolted your TV to the wall on what can only be described as miniature, construction-grade crane you’ll be up and out of your seat in no time.

OmniMount Play40 Interactive Wall Mount

The Play40 is the first in an upcoming line of interactive mounts from OmniMountt and supports TVs ranging from 30 -55 inches. However, in this case it’s probably better to go by the 18-40lb weight limit rather than the TV size as flat panels tend to range in weight quite drastically.

Unlike traditional articulating mounts, which only allow for outward extension and minimal rotation, the Play40 offers an unbelievable range of motion. Using patented Constant Force technology, the Play40 is capable of precise movements requiring only the slightest of touches, all without the need to adjust any knobs, levers, dials, or pulleys.

The mount is capable of extending an incredible 24 inches from the wall and then retracting to a slimming 5.5 inches for a clean, ergonomic look. Additionally, the mount is capable of providing 20 inches of horizontal movement in both directions. That, coupled with the ability to pan 180 degrees, makes viewing your TV possible from just about any location in the room. However, what continues to blow me away about the Play40 is by and far the most unique feature I have ever seen in a TV wall mount: the ability to move a full 20 inches vertically.

OmniMount Play40 Vertical adjustment

Never before has a TV mount been able to do anything other than extend directly out from the wall simply due to the sheer weight of the TV needing to be supported by something incredibly solid and sturdy. That’s where the Play40’s Constant Force technology comes into play.

Now, that all looks fine and well on paper, but when it comes to picking out a TV mount, I can be very picky. Everyone knows how much I love bolting stuff to my walls, but I went through a healthy portion of TV mounts at the local electronics store before finally settling on one that fit the bill. That wasn’t before I made a light brite out of several walls in the house, though.

Both of my flat panels were already snuggly secured to the wall when I got the Play40 home and I had every intention of slapping it on the back of my 55” 3D LED, but after taking a closer look at the weight requirements of the mount and comparing them to the weight of my TV there was no way it would work. At barely a year old, my 55” clocked in at nearly double the maximum weight for this mount, so I resigned myself to replacing the mount on my nearly outdated 32”.

Anyone who has wall mounted a flat panel TV knows just how frustrating it can be, what with all the measuring, aligning, drilling, and all. A vast majority of the time is simply spent making sure that the center of the TV is at exactly eye-level, which isn’t as easy as one would think.

Caution to the Wind

Now, I will admit that I was a bit intimidated when I first took this thing out of the box as it is incredibly heavy and very sharp looking, but the whole process took less than 10 minutes, including deciding where to put it.

For the sake of reviewing this product I decided to throw caution to the wind and just eyeball where I wanted to mount this thing and see what happened. After all, this mount is capable of the most absurd range of motion possible, so why not put it to the test and see how forgiving it can be? Mounting only requires one stud, which is a bit nerve wracking simply because you could easily screw something up and not really know it, but thankfully things went off without a hitch.

OmniMount Play40 Interactive Mount

The mount is entirely VESA compatible from 200w x 100h to 600w x 400h and comes with all the necessary hardware and modifications to accommodate most TVs and in no time my 32 inch LCD was floating graciously in mid-air, two feet from the wall. When I first let go there was an initial dip due to the weight of the aging TV, but the Play40 features a multitude of adjustable screws to dial in precisely the right tensions needed to keep your TV suspended and moving effortlessly. After a few minutes of dialing in the screws I was pushing my TV around with nothing but my index finger.

I generally don’t make a habit of getting beside myself with excitement over something as simple as a wall mount, but I must have spent a solid 15 minutes pushing this thing to its limits and figuring out just how many different positions I could bend and rotate it into. The results were staggering.

Perhaps the most menial, but beneficial inclusion is the ability to adjust the horizontal level of the TV by 5 degrees after it’s been mounted. I can’t even begin to tell you how many shelves and picture frames in my house are crooked because of poor leveling.

The next logical step was for me to revert through all my childhood gaming stages and see how many of them could be properly accommodated by this mount. In all honesty, I was entirely unable to find a position outside of twisting myself into a pretzel, taping myself to the ceiling, and facing the opposite direction that this TV couldn’t adapt to. I was even able to angle it just right so that I could see it from another room. It’s that versatile

OmniMount Play40 Interactive Mount

The possible viewing angles are virtually limitless and my cavalier approach to slapping this thing on the wall didn’t matter one bit. I found myself bouncing from sitting on the floor to standing and back to sitting in a chair all without a single complaint. The TV itself honestly required but one finger to adjust in any direction so I didn’t even have to set down my controller to make the necessary adjustments. And when I didn’t feel like taking even one hand off the controller, I used my foot.

New Life into Old Titles

This mount actually inspired me to dust off the old Wii, charge up the Wiimotes, and take a trip back to WuHu Island. What I found there was a new sense of gameplay that was previously hampered by poor TV placement. If the interactivity and ease of use with the Wii is any indication, PS Move and Kinect players are going to absolutely fall in love with this mount as it provides the perfect solution to any angle issues. Being able to twist, adjust, and rotate the screen on the fly – with one hand nonetheless – made switching between standing and sitting a breeze; something that usually deterred me from fully engaging the Wii altogether.

Additionally, I can really see this mount appealing to the absolutely massive audience of Dance Central and Just Dance fans as well as Guitar Hero and Rock Band fans alike as the struggling to arrange everyone comfortably in front of the TV scenario is completely eliminated.

Even if you don’t care for motion controlled games, dancing titles, or self-induced headaches from 3D, this mount cannot be overlooked. There truly is something to be said for spending 8 hours plopped down in your favorite gaming spot and having the TV in just the right spot.

Overweight TVs Need Not Apply

I was really looking forward to testing this mount out with some 3D gaming because as many may know, that dreaded ‘sweet spot’ is the bane of all 3D TV owners and my favorite spot to sit and game just so happens to be exactly the opposite of ideal for my 3D TV. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, my TV was a bit too hefty for this mount, which I guess could classify as my one and only complaint about this product. However, after taking a tour of the OmniMount offices and learning more about the product and the Constant Force technology behind it, it’s understandable why these mounts sport a lower maximum weight compared to the nearly 200lb limit of my other mounts. Plus, with TVs getting smaller and thinner I doubt weight will be a deciding factor. For those of you who regularly make a habit out of exercising extreme caution when it comes to suspending a two thousand dollar TV five feet above the ground, OmniMount is set to release the Play70 shortly which will accommodate those heavier set TVs up to 70lbs.

Thoroughly Impressed

It’s rare that such a simple piece of technology tickles my fancy so, but the Play40 is hands down one of the coolest things I have ever bolted to my wall, and trust me, I’ve bolted a lot of stuff to my wall. The sheer interactivity and range of motion has to be seen to be believed and may even encourage you to replay some of those aging motion titles, possibly breathing new life into them once again.

If you’re looking to add a certain sense of style and an over-the-top cool factor to you entertainment setup, you definitely need to get one of these mounts.

The Play40 will retail for $299 and be available by the end of February.

Additional, a smaller version dubbed the Play20 will be available mid-March and retail for $129 while the massive Play70 is scheduled to drop sometime in April. No MSPR is available for that quite yet, though.

For more information about purchasing any of these mounts, check out the OmniMount website.

Score: 10/10

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