Mounting the Kinect camera on your TV using a generic GPS car kit


So I got the XBox 360 Kinect on launch day, and assumed it would come with some sort of mount to put it on top of the TV, but it didn't. Supposedly, it works just sitting on the base in front of your TV as well, but my experience using it for a couple days says that it definitely doesn't work well sitting below the TV. At home I have barely the 7-8 feet of clearance needed between my couch and monitor - setting the camera below the TV just didn't work. I read that if you mount the camera up high above the TV you can gain a few feet of clearance, so last night I started to figure out what to do to mount it.

I don't know if you've noticed, but all the Kinect mounting kits aren't available for sale yet - either on Microsoft's direct site, or on Amazon. I pre-ordered the Kinect "wall-mount" kit for $15, but it won't ship for a couple more weeks.

Checking out the images of the Kinect TV mount, I was struck by how it looks like a tripod. So the first thing I did was dig out my video camera tripod to see if there was a good way to set the Kinect camera on top of it without it falling over. If you haven't seen a Kinect camera in action yet, it actually has a small motor in it which moves the camera around a bit, so it has to be on a level, stable platform.

While I was digging around in my gadget box looking for something to attach the camera to the tripod, I ran across a universal GPS car-mount kit that I bought this summer for a camping trip. I actually never really used it, because the TomTom GPS I got at the same time had its own mounting stuff which worked great. The extra generic kit had a bunch of attachments for iPhones, iPods and various other gadgets, so I decided to hold on to it in case I wanted to use it for something else.

So! Looking at it, I realized that it was *perfect* to mount the Kinect camera with. The first thing I did was use the sticky base plate that came with it, and attached that to a space behind my TV. (You can see in the pictures below). This thing is obviously made to stick to any oddly-shaped dashboard and not move, even in the a hot sun, so it's solid. Then I took the curved bracket with the industrial suction-cup and attached it to the base plate. Again, it's meant to hang upside-down, so being only slightly tilted, it's also solidly attached. I could probably lift my TV up using it as a handle - seriously.

The last part was trying to figure out which of the attachments best suited the base of the Kinect. The GPS kit comes with several sticky squares which you can use in case nothing else fits, but I discovered something even better! The iPod nano adapter's plastic molding fits the base of the Kinect *perfectly*. Seriously, it's exactly the right dimensions and sits tightly. If it was a little wider, it'd be like it was made for it. To make sure it had a bit more stability, I put some of that removable sticky putty on the bottom of the Kinect base.

It's awesome. Seriously, the look of the whole unit is like it was made to sit there. And the curve of the mounting arm means I can place it towards the back of the TV, giving just a few more valuable inches of space to the whole thing.

The results are that the Kinect works 100x better than before. Also, the snapshots it takes are much nicer as well, as they're not distorted from being taken at such a low position. It's a fantastic solution if you ask me. If you happen to have a Kinect and want to mount it before the official, more-clunky, mounts are available, this is the way to go. I'm going to test it for a few more days, but I think I may end up cancelling the wall mount kit as this thing seems to fit the need.

More pics below.


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