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We have been looking at a lot of houses with online real estate sites, and it seems about 90% have the TV mounted way up high above the fireplace, usually because the fireplace is in the middle of the wall with no adjacent wall space large enough for a good sized TV.
Do people really sit with their heads angled 45 degrees back staring up at these TV's? Our 55" TV is sitting on a table with the center of the screen slightly below eye level from a seated position.
One of our requirements for the next house will be fireplace in the corner (or no fireplace at all) with a large enough wall space in the living room for a 55-65 inch TV and floorstanding speakers on either side.
The TV above the fireplace is a terrible idea.
And, yes, we do sit with our heads angled up at 45 degrees to watch. (Well, not really!) In any case, the upward tilt of the viewing angle (whatever it really is) wasn't hard for us to get used to. However, our next TV will probably be larger still and will require a re-drilling into the wall for the mount - or else we may give in and go with a projection system.
I have a surround system, with floorstanders FR and FL and a smaller center channel which sits on a custom mounted shelf attached directly into the bricks of the fireplace. (The shelf also protects the speaker from the heat of the fireplace.) During the warmer months, I have the subwoofer below the center channel (in front of the fireplace). During winter, I have to move the SW off to the side.
I agree with you that a fireplace in the middle of a wall is sometimes a challenge to work around.
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