How to install a flat screen tv without showing the wire clutter

vidyaramSeptember 24, 2010


I have seen some houses where the tv is installed over the fireplace and the cable box, satellite receiver, dvd player are all in a closet or cabinet in a corner without the wire clutter. I will have my tv on a wall and can have a tv cabinet under the tv itself or in a corner cabinet. I don't want the clutter to be shown in the room. I am meeting with a whole house audio video installer for my new construction and want to be prepared because I am clueless on this subject. I am not very interested in the whole house audio but if I could have one DVR shared by multiple tvs in the house, it will be great.Please give your suggestions

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You run conduit (non-metallic flex conduit, AKA 'smurf tube' for the common blue color) from the equipment to the TV inside the walls.

The entire thing needs to be done carefully to comply with the electric code though.

Things like power cords are NOT allowed in conduit.
The TV's power receptacle must be in the wall behind the TV.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:24AM
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As brick stated, smurf tube is the way to go. Lowes and Home Depot often don't carry any larger than 1" so you may have to go to an electrical supply company for 1.5" or so. 1" is too small for HDMI.
We have a TV inset above the fireplace (electrical outlet is there) and I just nailed a box onto the same stud that the electrical outlet box is on. Ran the smurf tube from this box to the side of the fireplace where my built ins are going. Have a box at this location that will have the HDMI plate mounted once everything is complete.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 12:25PM
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Here's a pic of mine after the drywall and built-ins were in. The box on the right side of the left built-in is for the HDMI and the larger one in the middle is for 7.1 surround.
I don't think I have any pics after the wires were installed but I'll doublecheck.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 12:35PM
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Don't worry - your low voltage person will know how to deal with all this.

Smurf tube is far cheaper than other options. The more clean install is HDMI jacks in the wall. The really bad thing about what some LV guys do is 1 HDMI jack. Well - most people have DVD and cable box - you can switch it in the built in but that requires another piece and isn't as nice as changing the input on the TV. Everyone has different needs so I'd really recommend smurf tube (esp 1.5 in). Feeding the wire later is a bit of a pain however.

You need IR repeating but that is a whole another can of worms.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Be aware the hdmi standard is not static so the conduit method is more future proof. I also ran a conduit all the way back to the main LV box as well as conduit from attc to cellar.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Hi all
Thank you so much for the very clear explanations. Would this be very expensive if the installers do? Could this be done as DIY at all?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 3:52PM
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If you are the least bit familiar with A/V stuff I would do it yourself.

The HDMI plate on the built ins that I referred to is a double HDMI plate with one cable going to the TV inset and the other going to the back patio. I got the HDMI plates for $10 each, a 15' HDMI ($10) and the 40' HDMI ($20) off eBay - see for their take on cheap cables. The single outlet boxes are about $.50 at hardware stores.

If you even think you may want surround sound or whole house audio in the future, now is the time to run the wires. It will be 100 times easier and cheaper to do it now even if you don't use them for awhile.

As far as the number of sources feeding the TV, I am buying a A/V receiver with "HDMI switching" which consolidates 4-6 HDMI sources into 1 cable going to your TV. This is a great option to look into.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 4:20PM
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I would def recommend running conduit. The cables for TV seem to change every 5 years (S Video --> component --> DVI ---> HDMI).

And also, seriously, why does everyone want their TV over the fireplace? Last time I checked, no one likes to sit in the front row of the movie theater. Why spend a small fortune to install something in the wrong place? The TV should be at eye level when you are sitting down. Seems foolish to spend thousands installing speakers, etc, if it's not in a comfortable place to watch.

There was a thread a while back about features that will look dated (or scream 2000-2010) in a few years... Flat screen over the top of the fireplace should be at the top of the list. Just because you CAN put it there, doesn't mean you should.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 6:13PM
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In a room like above, and this is your house, where would you put the flat screen? It looks like a great place to me above the fireplace! It has to tilt down towards ground to be comfortable for your neck-that is all that is necessary!

I have the above set up and it makes me crazy, my remote won't work through the cabient doors, so I have to leave them open. Looks like I will have to set the cable box on the counter next to fireplace. Any other ideas?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 7:10PM
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You would make one of the builtins have room for the TV on the side. Tilting does not alleviate the height problem.

You need either RF or an IR repeater system to close the cabinet doors. There is a $50 IR to RF system that works great for me (battery as transmitter system).

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 7:59PM
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archson, thanks for being such a jackass and degrading my brand new home!

What makes you think we'll be "sitting in the front row of a movie theatre"? This room is about 25' deep and we won't be sitting right underneath the TV. It only takes a small 5 degree tilt or so at the right seating distance.

People put a TV above a fireplace because (1) it looks good (2) it works and is a good use of space (3) and it would be ridiculous to put the fireplace over the TV! Use a little discretion next time you post a message.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:45PM
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"People put a TV above a fireplace because (1) it looks good"

In their opinion. There are others, myself included, that think it looks silly and makes the TV too much the focus of the room.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:26PM
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To be honest, the ideal viewing position for a TV is to have the center of the screen level with your eyes when you're sitting in your viewing position.

However it may well be that some people don't watch much TV and for the little they do, the decorative position over the fireplace trumps viewing comfort. That's what I always assume when I see a TV mounted in a high position, such as over a fireplace.

It would be a great location for having something like Disney's Earth playing in the background. Personally I would have a hard time sitting and watching for any length of time, though.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 10:49AM
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@ aduncan81: Please don't take it personally. I'm sorry if I offended you. I understand some people really like this arrangement. I personally find it pretty uncomfortable, no matter how big the room is.

I really wasn't intending to degrade your home, but rather ALL homes w/ TVs over the fireplace. There are other more elegant solutions.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:13PM
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Add me in to those who don't like the TV over the fireplace. In the room shown above I would have moved the fireplace to the corner and used the new enlarged space for a large built-in for TV, components and storage/display.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 11:24PM
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"To be honest, the ideal viewing position for a TV is to have the center of the screen level with your eyes when you're sitting in your viewing position. "

Yep... and you can count ME in with those that think it doesn't look good either.

But hey, it's YOUR house. You can do what you want!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 8:09PM
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On the install... I installed in-wall rated HDMI cables (some 100ft long, but yes, over 25 ft and you'll need a signal booster) and Cat5e cables for distributing TV and an IR repeating system. I used for my HDMI cables, and the Cat5e I got from a big box store. As mentioned, the HDMI plates are inexpensive on ebay, and they even sell the ones that boost the signal. I had horrible luck trying to use smurf tube, but leaving a conduit with some string inside might help. I wouldn't worry about HDMI being replaced anytime soon, even though S-video is not the best anymore, a great number of TVs and most components still have it as an input/output.

On your Whole House DVR... Dish and Direct TV already do that idea, but it wasn't out when we were setting everything up.

Our Sat Boxes are very far away, so we're keeping the DVD/Blu-ray close to the TV. In the Home Theater, with everything in one spot, we use an Amp as the HDMI switcher, and a Harmony One remote to control everything, it's extremely easy to program (via computer).

On the Fireplace TV comments, I'm in with the TV above the fireplace. I can't remember the last time (in any house) that I watched TV in a sitting upright position. Whether I was laying on the couch or kicked back in a recliner, the TV a couple feet up is so much better for my neck than at sitting eye level. Aestitics aside, it's the right location for my lifestyle... and without built-ins around our fireplace, we use the mantle for the DVD/Blu-ray player.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 10:08AM
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Add another for NOT putting the TV over the fireplace. I had our plans changed from there to putting the fireplace in the corner and the TV at eye level in the center of the wall with bookcase shelving on the other side of it to balance out the fireplace. I have enough neck problems without adding to them by having to look up to the TV. But to each their own~~

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:48PM
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How did this thread turn into a "TV-over-the-fireplace-haters" party? The OP's question had nothing to do with TV placement, but rather hiding the wires whether their electronics were underneath the TV or in the corner.

Vidyram, I hope the info I gave and the few others that were on topic were helpful. Have you had the meeting with A/V installer yet? I could not find any pictures that I took before the drywall went up, sorry. I'll be happy to answer any other questions you may have.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:15AM
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Hi aduncan
Thank you checking with me! I had a deadline for yesterday and didn't cehck the boards. I haven't signed up for notifciations too. I happened to check the boards and saw this in the first few pages.
The information which you guys gave me was very useful. The installer also suggested the same thing and a IR repeater/finder so that we could use a remote in front of the TV while the setup will be hidden on the other side of the TV in the office room. We don't have a closet close by and he gave this suggestion which I liked. He suggested to add ethernet jacks in a couple of places in the house and gave me suggestions for a speaker bar to be placed on top of the TV. He said that it will be thin so I don't have to worry about the looks. He suggested using a sling box to view the video content from the DVR. But that could be used for viewing the content only on a computer not on a tv. I could go to the route of satellite connection with multiple DVRs for that. All in all, it was a great meeting. He hasn't given me the quotes yet though! I can decide what I want then.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 1:06PM
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One word of warning---if you install the TV screen in a different location than the components, it will take you awhile to get used to aiming the remote in the opposite direction of the TV...and your house guests will NEVER figure it out (if I'm any indication anyway, haha).

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:57AM
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Another option is to have glass on the front of your cabinets, then you don't have to worry about the repeater.

As for the TV over the fireplace conversation, I think it is a rude to veer the conversation off into telling the OP that it is horrible idea. There is a difference between trying to be helpful, and criticizing. Where you put your TV is an individual design decision, not something that is right or wrong. There are many designers who put the TV over the fireplace for design symmetry, and with a lower mantle and a tilted TV the viewing angle is stilly correct. This may be a bit rude now on my part, but in defence of the OP and aduncan81 who graciously shared pictures of their home, having the TV placed in built-in�s next to the fireplace makes me shudder due to the lack of symmetry, and the result of having most of the furniture placed incorrectly in relation to the TV.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Lack of symmetry vs. neck pain. Hmmm...

If you really want to put something of design over a fireplace, a TV wouldn't be the 1st thing that comes to mind that's for sure.

But vanity will always hurt I guess.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Again, let's keep this helpful for the OP.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:25PM
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2 years later, I'm sure they've moved on & so will I.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Hilarious, I didn't even notice that it was an old post!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:55AM
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LOL I'm so sorry I bumped this! I must have stumbled across this post when doing a search and not realized it was SO OLD. WOOPS!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:15PM
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