What is a VESA mount?

Dear readers, are you ready for a long story? In order to answer the question of “What is a VESA mount,” you really need to understand a little bit of history. Along the way, you’ll have to get to the question of what “VESA” is. You’ll also probably want to get to the question of “why do I care” and the answer to a lot of it will be “I don’t care, but it’s still kinda interesting.” Ready then? Buckle up.

The origins of VESA

Set your mind back to the late 1980s. Back then, pretty much all computer standards were rolled out by IBM. Unfortunately, they were slow in responding to what people really wanted, which was a monitor that could display more than 640×480 resolution. (For reference, that’s roughly the size of ONE ICON on your phone.)

And so was born the Video Electronics Standards Association, VESA. It was created by monitor maker NEC. You might not have heard of NEC if you’re under 40, but believe me their monitors were top of the heap back in the 1990s. You either had one or you wanted one. In order to sell better monitors, NEC needed better graphics cards. In order to have better graphics cards, they needed to create a video standard.

So VESA created the first PC color graphics standard that didn’t come from IBM. It was called “Super VGA” and it’s still part of Windows today, if you look for it. The resolution was 800×600 which seemed like luxury back in the day.

Success leads to…

VESA’s early success led to them trying to create new standards for just… about… everything. Let me tell you, pretty much every standard they’ve tried to create has failed. Some last a little while, some never take off. They tried their hand in hardware, creating the “VESA Local Bus” to enable faster graphics. A few computers had this for a few years. It’s gone now. They’ve tried to standardize several connectors to replace the old VGA connector, with absolutely zero adoption. They did get some traction with the DisplayPort standard that you’ll still find on some laptops, but that was never a serious contender. Everyone wanted HDMI and just got whatever adapter cable took them from DisplayPort to HDMI.

Even the worst player in the league sometimes hits a homer

After striking out more times than you can count in its first 10 years, VESA finally developed something people wanted. In 1997, they rolled out the Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI). A grand total of zero people in history call it that. They call it the VESA mount.

That’s right, they created a set of standards for those four holes that are the back of pretty much every TV or monitor. Although they created tons of options, as you can see from this diagram:

…pretty much everyone uses the center one, labeled “C” above. There are two sizes of mount, one for screens heavier than 50lbs and one for lighter ones. That makes it easy for manufacturers to get on the same page when creating TV and monitor mounts.

Lovin’ the mounted monitor

Using VESA mounts, monitors can come off the desk and be mounted on arms. TVs can be put on the wall. It’s incredibly useful and it’s really easy to buy something and know it’s going to work for your device. I wouldn’t have expected something this useful from VESA given their track record, but as I’m fond of saying, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

If you are tired of that TV or monitor taking up space, consider mounting it with one of the many products we carry from VMP and Mount-It. You can feel confident knowing it will work with the mounting holes on the device you already have. If you have questions about mounting or about anything else, call the experts! The number is 888-233-7563 and we’re here during East Coast business hours. You’ll reach a tech in our Detroit-area corporate offices who can answer your questions and even take your order!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.