An “entry level” decent receiver (probably a min of $400) will most likely have analog -> digital video conversion, ie, all component and composite signals, will be converted to HDMI, therefore, you only require one cable running to the TV: HDMI, which will handle ALL of your video needs. The AVR will handle the audio. Highly recommended. I can turn on my AVR and switch to my input device (and sound field setting) by pressing only 1 button.
Wall mounting your flat-panel TV can make for a very stylish, clean appearance, especially when the wires are hidden. With pretty much all current HDTVs able to be wall-mounted, it’s a great project to tackle when you have some free time.
The first thing to consider when wall mounting is what kind of wall mount you want. They range from standard wall mounts that do not articulate in any way to ones that swivel, extend and can even be motorized and remote controlled. With the added articulation and features come a higher price, so it’s best to see what’s available and relate that to your needs before jumping in.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ll assume you’re going to go with one of the more common mount styles that are either fixed or tilt. The majority of mounts sold are of these types, but the basics of what we’re discussing here will still hold true for other types of mounts. I would only recommend fixed mounts for plasma TVs, as their image does not encounter brightness/color/contrast shifts from different viewing angles, but even then, it’s best to have a mount that at least tilts. With an LCD HDTV, I strongly recommend a mount that tilts.
Once you’ve chosen to wall-mount your TV, you’ll need to find a mount that is rated for the weight and size of the TV. This is very important, as you don’t want to take a risk with such expensive equipment.
You’ll need to decide where you want to mount your TV. Ideally, a TV should be mounted at eye-level, for a number of reasons. You want to minimize neck and eye strain when viewing the TV, and you’d like to avoid the TV’s image encountering color and contrast shift (with LCD HDTVs), or having to deal with reflections (plasma HDTVs and glossy-screened LCD HDTVs). Also, if you plan on concealing wiring, understand that this task will be much easier on an internal wall than an external one, because the insulation and other materials may be much closer to the drywall (how close varies quite a bit across North America), and might make for a tough task when trying to fish them.
You’ll also need to plan ahead as to where you want to keep your A/V equipment, such as your receiver, DVD or Blu-Ray player, video game consoles, cable or satellite box(es), etc. Knowing this ahead of time, and having a plan for how to neatly wire the setup will make for an easy job, and one that is well done. If you have a TV bench or credenza directly below the TV, you won’t need to remove your baseboard, but if you want to keep the area clear and move the A/V equipment elsewhere (perhaps on a rack, in a corner), you may have to remove the baseboard to run the wires.
When you’ve marked out where you want the TV to be mounted, it’s very important to make sure that you’re screwing into studs. I cannot emphasize this enough! Putting a screw or nail into drywall for a picture frame or even a light fixture might suffice, but it will never be able to hold a heavy TV.
Use a level or laser level to make sure your TV is mounted perfectly. In North American homes, much detail is paid to making everything as perfectly level as physically possible, so you wouldn’t want your mounted HDTV to appear crooked, because it’d be quite obvious!
Try to have at least two adults mount the TV, and ideally, one more to spot them. Once the TV is on the mount, connect all the necessary connections. If you’re concealing wires, I recommend that you connect all the possible connections at this point, so you don’t have to worry about it later. To be more specific, if your TV has four HDMI ports, and you’re only using one, I think it’s a good idea to run four HDMI cables, in case you want to use them in the future. The only scenario I think is excluded is where you might use an A/V receiver to switch and control all your inputs.