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How to Hide Wires and Cables from Your Wall-Mounted Flatscreen

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: So you finally got that flat-screen TV that you’ve always wanted and you’ve got it hanging right where you want it: that perfect, prime spot for viewing, right up on your wall.

    TOM: Yes but what do you now do with all those dangling cords and wires? Tom Silva is the general contractor for TV’s This Old House and he’s faced this problem himself and has some tips and tricks to magically make all that mess disappear.

    Welcome, Tommy.

    TOM SILVA: Hi, guys. Nice to be here.

    TOM: Now, this is one of those problems that you really want to – it kind of ruins the whole point of having a flat-screen TV, you know? It’s very clean, it’s very crisp, it’s very modern but then you have this mess of wire.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, with a mess of wire hanging down underneath, it looks terrible.

    TOM: So what are some ways to hide those cables?

    TOM SILVA: Well, there’s a couple of ways. Basically, you could punch a hole in the wall right behind the TV and another one down below the table or whatever it’s at, right near the outlet, and snake the wire down through there.

    TOM: Down the channel of the wall.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, if you have a – yeah.

    TOM: But what if it’s a brick wall or something you can’t do that to or if your wife is saying, “You absolutely will not be cutting a hole in my wall”?

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, that happened to me, actually. I wasn’t allowed to do that.

    But anyways, yeah, there are actually chases that you can face or screw to the wall. It’s …

    TOM: Now, what’s a chase?

    TOM SILVA: Well, you’re making a chase, I should have said.

    TOM: OK.

    TOM SILVA: It’s basically a little channel that you screw or even two-face tape to the wall. And then you run your wires into that little chase and there’s a little piece that you can clip right on it to hide the wires.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And those you can paint, right, to match your wall color and they virtually disappear.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, they virtually – you’re right. And they’re very hard to see because they disappear.

    LESLIE: Yeah, they do.

    Another thing that I’ve seen done, if you’re lucky enough to have a closet on the back side, is you can run your components through to that back-side closet. However, your remote control then doesn’t operate as effectively as you would have liked.

    TOM SILVA: No, you have to get one of those little things – the wires that you glue to the TV right onto the remote sensor – and then that will pick it up there.

    TOM: Because that’s one of the wires that hangs out.

    TOM SILVA: But again, that’s just – it’s another wire that – yeah.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Now, you actually had a creative solution for this involving a threshold that I saw that you gave a reader of ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, I basically had a threshold that I basically put a channel in it.

    TOM: Now, a threshold is for a door, typically, right?

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. Well, we used – like I said earlier, I’m a Yankee.

    TOM: You have to do it everywhere.

    TOM SILVA: Whatever I can get off the shelf, I will use.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: But yeah, basically an oak threshold, I think it was, and I put a channel in the back of it or a dado and hide the wires with that. You can actually make – you can take it – if you have a table saw, you can take any piece of wood and miter the three pieces and make your own without a dado blade.

    TOM: Channel it out.

    Now, any tips for running those wires safely once you’ve actually decided what your cord-management system is going to be?

    TOM SILVA: Well, you want to make sure that you don’t have the electrical wires right next to or against the wire that’s bringing all the data to. Because sometimes, you can get interference with that, so you have to be careful of that.

    TOM: OK.

    TOM SILVA: So you want to try to separate them, so you don’t want to have the pieces – you don’t want to have that channel too wide.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: If you’re just getting it into a wall cavity, that’s another thing you don’t have to worry about it that much.

    You also want to make it so that you leave enough slack in the line so that if you have to turn the TV, you don’t pull the thing out and then you’ve got to say, “Why isn’t it working?”

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: And you’ve got to take the TV off the wall, in some cases, just to get to it.

    And you want to make sure that nothing is rubbing; you don’t want to wear a wire. So if the TV gets moved a lot or a table or something gets moved into those wires, you don’t want them to rub.

    TOM: A little trick of the trade from the radio business: label both ends of your cable.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yes, yes. And another thing that’s very important: don’t lay them underneath a rug.

    TOM: Oh, yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Because you’re going to step on that rug. You’re walking on that rug and believe it or not, you’re wearing on those wires and you can get electrocuted, cause a fire.

    TOM: Cause a fire, yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah.

    TOM: Good advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    TOM SILVA: My pleasure.

    TOM: We’ll be thinking of you the next time we watch the big game on the flat-screen TV, because we’ll watch the game and not the wires.

    TOM SILVA: There you go.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings, some great step-by-step videos and of course, informative articles on this project and others, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by Home Depot. Home Depot, more savings, more doing.

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