Thursday, May 15, 2008

How to Wall Mount a Flat Panel LCD TV - Part 3: Installing HDMI Cables

(This is part 3 in my series on wall-mounting a flat panel LCD TV......part 1).

The key to any great flat panel installation is to hide the cables in such a way that you only see the TV. This is the most challenging part of the flat panel lcd tv installation. To do this, you will need to accomplish 3 tasks.

First is to install a new electrical outlet directly behind where you will be mounting an lcd tv. I'm no electrician, so I'll provide a link here to a site that helped me out. If you are unsure about how to do this, please hire a professional. I was able to run a new wire up from an existing outlet directly below where I installed the tv. This was an easy solution because the outlet was inside the same stud bay.

Second is to run an HDMI cable from the location of your receiver to the LCD or Plasma tv. I use Directv, so it was necessary to use a receiver box, but if you have basic cable you may be able to run the coaxial cable directly to your LCD depending on the tv. By running an HDMI cable from a receiver, I am able to maintain a lot of great features like HD DVR.

The best location in my house for the receiver was in the unfinished basement. I found a nice spot for the receiver and then ran a 45 ft CL2 rated (In-Wall Installation) HDMI cable (see part 2) up through the floor and directly into the center of the drywall on the main level where my tv would hang. The directv receivers have a built in RF remote that easily passes through walls and floors so I did not lose any remote functionality by installing the receiver in the basement and I saved myself a lot of work.

Its important to measure very carefully and mark all of your studs inside your wall where you will mount your tv. A stud finder is pretty much essential for this job. Find a location on the wall where you want to mount your TV and mark all of the studs that are in the vicinity of that location. You will need to install your tv mount on the studs, but you will install the new outlet and hdmi cable box between the studs. In my configuration, I installed the tv mount on 1 stud with the new outlet directly to the right of the stud and the new hdmi cable box directly to the left of the stud.

Once I located the spot on the wall for the HDMI cable, I took an electrical box and drew an outline around it. I then used a drywall saw to cut through the outline. In the lower level I drilled up through the floorboard directly below the section of the wall where I cut out the drywall hole. I then dropped a string through the drywall hole using a washer for weight. From the lower level I pulled the string through the hole, tied it to the HDMI cable, and then pulled it up the wall using a string. I threaded the hdmi cable through the electrical box and then left about 15" of slack hanging outside the wall.

The most difficult part of this job is measuring properly. Make sure you are directly below the proper spot when drilling through the floor.

Part 4 will finish this series with installing the wall mount and hanging the lcd tv.

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