Hey guys, so I am planning on moving my TV from a TV stand on one wall in my living room to mounting it above my (false/electric) fireplace. Unfortunately this is way more complicated than it sounds and I'm looking for any input or insights from the experts
Let me start off by saying I'm not new at this by any means, I've wired the house for Ethernet and centralized the power supply and network interface for my DirecTV setup, and I work in IT/data center ops in my alternate life. I'm just kind of banging my head against the wall, so to speak, about how to do this particular job as cheaply but more importantly as cleanly as possible.
First, the equipment:
50" Samsung Plasma TV, about 4 years old, so it's not particularly thin. 75lbs, 4 HDMI inputs, optical only for audio output
Samsung bluray home theater in a box. Anynet+ between this and the TV, optical only for audio input.
DirecTV Genie DVR (main box, not a client box)
Wii (with a Wii to HDMI adapter)
A stack of vintage video game systems (about 4 or 5 old RF, S-Video, or Composite sources)
I also already have a 4x2 HDMI matrix from Monoprice as well as a set of HDMI over Cat5 baluns (the set that require two cables and are powered at the receiving end) leftover from a previous since abandoned plan to distribute living room sources to my bedroom.
Next, the wall:
The fireplace is an electronic unit, so there is not a real chimney (that I know of) and the neighborhood does not have gas, so it's not even intended to have gas logs. The living room has a high ceiling. In the attic, the "floor" of the attic is at the point that the angled raised part of the ceiling starts, so I have access to the wall of the ceiling above the standard height. The problem arises in that there is a plywood "box" behind the raised part of the ceiling where the fireplace is. In other words, if you look at the image, in the attic, I can stand behind the green part and drop things down the wall, but the red part is blocked completely between the external wall and the inside of the living room all the way to the roof.
(green area I can stand behind in the attic, red area is blocked in the attic, orange lines are studs according to my stud finder)
When I bought the house, the builder had planned on people putting their TV above the fireplace. As a matter of fact it was the only place in the living room with a pre-existing RG6 drop. I ended up putting the TV elsewhere and put pictures above the fireplace (hence the 3M strips). The builder put an electrical outlet, an RG6 drop, and a telephone outlet (kind of strange). The telephone wiring was kind of weird too. The RG 6 homeruns from each location to outside, but the telephone is daisy chained Cat5 (or 6, don't know for sure) from each outlet to the next. This means I have two Cat5/6 cables dropped to this location.
The problem with this, is, that they are in the middle of the inaccessible part. They were obviously put in before the drywall and snaked sideways (in the picture, they enter at the red dot). Not only this, but they are stapled in the wall, so I cannot tie off to one end and pull it out.
SO, here's the problem: I need to get at a very minimum one HDMI, one optical digital audio, and three speaker wires (front right, left, and center) to this location. I think I should just be able to use the HDMI over cat5 baluns for HDMI (which I already own). For the digital audio from TV to receiver, I was going to do optical to coax conversion, RCA to F-connector, get the run to my receiver, and then F-connector to RCA and coax to optical conversion. (this bit would cost about $30 in adapters from monoprice). I'm at a loss of how to get the speaker wires down. I suppose I can run them around the baseboards, but that will be less than elegant.
My other option, which I have been considering heavily but am reluctant because my equipment is not going to be right next to the fireplace, is a cable tray running along the baseboard, up the wall, and behind the TV. I can match the paint perfectly (I have the color code for sherman williams) but this is a last resort, I think.
At this point I'm not worried about the number of sources, or even the format of those sources. I am not above buying a bigger HDMI matrix switch and composite to HDMI converters to get everything into HDMI and then into a single HDMI.
Any input from the peanut gallery? Did anyone actually make it this far through my post? Is it clear as mud? I'm happy to answer any questions anyone has, and I'm more than grateful for any input anyone has.