Due to the girth of tube televisions, every set stood on its own accord without assistance. (An assistant was required when you had to lift it.) But today’s flat-panel TVs aren’t as proud. They either need to be anchored to an included stand or optionally mounted on the wall. Some flat-panel TVs ship with the stand attached, and it’s up to you to remove it if you decide to make the TV wall mountable.
The problem is that the consumer can’t tell from the manufacturer’s specs whether the stand (also called the base) will be attached to the TV or simply included in the box. A smaller TV is more likely to have its base in place where it should be than a larger TV. The reason is partly due to geometry—a disassembled base fits a slimmer carton. Also, putting you to work is cheaper for the manufacturer than adding another station on the assembly line. So, don’t be surprised if a little home assembly is required.
Before pulling the TV fully out of the box, check to see if the base is attached. If it is, you’re ready to move the set to its intended tabletop. If not, you should put the display—screen down—on a soft surface like a rug. Leave the film protecting the glass in place at first.
To make reading the instructions smoother, first make sure that you’re on the correct page of the manual. Many manufacturers include a booklet that covers multiple models, so without looking closely, you can’t be sure that the first page with assembly instructions actually applies to your particular set. Once you’ve matched your model number to the appropriate set-up page, line up all the parts that came in the box on your work surface so that you can match them to the pictures of all the included parts. (If something is missing, make sure that nothing was left in the box.)
Though it would be nice if every manufacturer included all the tools you’ll need, it's more likely you’ll have to retrieve your own Phillips and flathead screwdrivers. You’ll typically attach the stand to a slot at a midpoint on the lower back of the display, though there may be an intermediate piece that you attach first. Once all the screws are tightened and the base feels firmly in place, you can right-side the TV. If there’s an extra piece remaining and you’re not sure where it goes, it may be a cover that fits over the stand’s slot in case you wall-mount the TV instead.
Now, you’re ready to insert the included batteries in the remote, plug in the power cord, peel the film from the TV and attach your source components. If you’re expecting a visit from the cable guy, well, hopefully you have a good book to read in the meantime.