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What Is a TV Actuator?

By Alex Newth
Updated: Feb 26, 2024

A TV actuator is a device that is able to move a TV so it does not take up much of the room, and the TV can be concealed when users aren't watching it. Most TV actuator devices make a TV come up from a counter or from behind a desk, but there also are units that make a TV drop down from the ceiling. This can only be done properly with a flat-screen TV, because other sets are difficult to balance and weigh more. Installing a TV actuator can be done very easily; the actuator’s linear guards keep the TV straight while the gas spring and actuator move the TV. The gas spring, which supports the TV’s weight, must have the same stroke as the actuator arm.

With a TV actuator, it is possible to have a TV that can be concealed at any time. Most actuators are made to push the TV up and out from behind a surface, because this is much easier to install; it also puts much less stress on the actuator, because it only has to hold weight when the TV is popped up. Some TV actuators can conceal a TV in the ceiling, but there needs to be a hole in the ceiling for the TV, and there is a greater chance that the TV can fall and injure someone.

Large box-shaped TVs are not suitable for use with a TV actuator, because of the TV’s weight and size. These TVs are heavier than flat-screen models, meaning the actuator has to work much harder to lift and hold the TV. The TV's larger size means there also would need to be larger parts to hold the screen, and its shape would make it difficult to balance. This means flat-screen TVs tend to be the only model used with actuators.

The installation of a TV actuator is rather simple, and most people can do it without any trouble. Linear guards are placed on the sides of the TV to keep it straight, and the actuator is attached to the bottom-center of the TV. A gas spring also is required to hold up the TV.

Some TV actuator kits come with a gas spring, while others do not, requiring the user to buy one separately. The gas spring must have the same stroke, or amount of expansion, as the actuator. If it is too large, it will push the TV off the actuator; if too small, it cannot properly support the weight.

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