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Hiding Flat Screen TV Cables

Posted by on July 31st, 2012

So on Monday we shared our experience mounting a flat screen TV to a wall. Today, we’re going to show you how to hide the TV’s cables to get a totally sleek look. This is the second TV we’ve done this procedure to at Mike and Dana’s house and this version seemed to work better than the first, which used a slightly different product. In my opinion, this modification isn’t very difficult to do and can probably be done by anyone with a little bit of DIY experience.

We last left off with the TV hanging on the wall to test the bracket out. It had to come down in order to hide the wires. To hide these cables, Mike bought a Powerbridge from Best Buy.  (This current model is no longer available from Amazon, but you can try Option 1 or Option 2 as they are essentially equivalent).  This device consists of two plastic boxes that get inserted into the wall. One will be located behind the TV and the other will go behind the TV stand. Between the two, the wires will be run in the wall for the power and whatever audio or visual cables are required.

In order to install these two Powerbridge boxes so you don’t see them, we need to make sure we’re putting it behind the footprint of the TV. Before we took the TV off the wall, we marked the perimeter of the TV with a couple of post-it notes. The boxes will need to stay within that area AND since the Powerbridge box is fairly large, it will need to sit roughly in the middle of the area between two wall studs.

We used those magnetic wall stud locators we discussed in our last post and then marked our wall with the wall template that was provided with the Powerbridge. We needed to mark the wall for both the top box and the bottom. The bottom was pretty much directly below the top box and low enough to be out of view behind the TV stand.

With the templates marked, Mike used a drywall saw to cut the openings for the boxes. You need to be careful whenever cutting into a wall so you don’t actually cut into a gas line or a power cable.

After the holes were cut, Mike inserted the top Powerbridge cable and fished it through the wall. This was apparently an exciting moment for him. The boxes stay in place by pop out wings that are tightened with screws. Very simple. Before we connected the bottom box, Mike pulled through a couple HDMI cables.

The power cable that comes with the Powerbridge is connected with a unique click together fastener.  We actually needed to fix it before we made that connection as one of the wires was visibly detached, but that wasn’t very hard.  After you snap the connector together, the cable slack gets stuffed into the wall and the bottom plate gets tightened to the drywall.

The photo above shows it all completed. The Powerbridge comes with an additional cable to plug into a nearby outlet that gets run to the bottom box.

All told, it took a little over an hour to get this project done. Mike and Dana really like the new look and Lisa and I are considering it for our family room at some point.

Any upgrades coming to your TV? Cut any holes in your walls lately?

***Full disclosure:  Lisa and I are members of Amazon.com associates.  If you purchase a Powerbridge, we get a small kickback.  If you’re interested in joining Amazon Associates, go to Affiliate-Program.Amazon.com ***

Posted in Drywall,Electrical,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Mounting a Flat Screen TV

Posted by on July 30th, 2012

One of the perks of moving into a new development two years ago has definitely been the wonderful neighbors we’ve met.  Since the neighborhood is fairly small, it’s been pretty easy to meet all of them, which is a big change from when we were living in the city.  We regularly hang out with a bunch of them, especially in the summer.  A lot of them have very young children, so we’re excited that our daughter will have friends close by to play with.

Another perk to having great neighbors is getting them to help you with home improvement projects!  Case in point:  Mike and Dana (M&D) are neighbors from down the street and they asked us for some help hanging their flat screen TV set.  Of course we agreed.  They even sweetened the deal with free dinner beforehand (as if they had to).  Dana made a great chicken dish.

I know Mike doesn’t consider himself terribly handy, but I think he would agree that mounting a flat screen TV is not very hard and could probably be done in under an hour.  It definitely adds a sleeker look to any room and can help eliminate TV stand clutter.  Plus, all the cool kids are doing it.

We started by clearing a spot behind the TV stand and then marking the center of the wall.  M&D wanted to get the TV as close to the center of the wall (left to right) as possible.

The mount Mike chose is a Sanus model and he bought it from Best Buy, but he’s pretty certain you can pick one up cheaper from other vendors, like monoprice.com.  The mount is essentially a three piece design with two brackets that get fastened to the back of the TV and a larger bracket gets mounted to the wall.  The bracket comes with the necessary fasteners and gets lagged into the wall studs.  The manufacturer also supplies molly bolts in case you don’t want to or can’t mount the bracket into a stud.  Call us crazy, but we both thought that hanging a nearly 100lb plasma screen TV to the wall without hitting the studs was a bad idea.  Molly bolts are nice, but let’s save those for hanging artwork.

Once we knew where the TV was going to be centered, we tried to find the studs.  We literally had three different stud finders and they weren’t really working very well.  There was also a LOT of lousy stud finder jokes.  A LOT.  Luckily Mike had picked up this magnet stud finder set from Lowes.  I’ve never seen this before, but it’s a brilliant idea.

Stud Finder Magnets

This package comes with a few small, but powerful magnetic, plastic disks.  These disks can be dragged across a wall until they ‘grab’ a drywall screw or nail.  If you find a drywall fastener, you essentially find the stud.

magnetic stud finder

Now that the studs were located, we centered the mount on the wall, leveled it off and then marked the walls for our lag bolt holes.  Mike then got drilling.  He only drilled two holes to start.

When the left holes were drilled, we put the bracket on the wall then leveled it off.  With the bracket leveled, we drilled the right most holes and tightened the bolts into the wall.

With the mount secured to the wall and the brackets attached to the TV, we lifted the TV up to make sure it went on okay.

Success!!

Next up, we are going to add a special outlet box system to completely hide the TV’s cables.  We’ll discuss hiding those wires in the next post.

Do any of you have your TV’s mounted to the walls?  Would you like to or do you prefer it on the stand?  We don’t have ours up yet either.

Posted in DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , , ,