Wiring for hidden A/V equipment in pre-built house - Need Advice! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I just moved from an apartment to a house (pre built). I'm rebuilding all my audio/video equipment from the ground up. This is the first "higher end' system I've setup... replacing a 42" Panny plasma and 5.1 satellite surround sound system.

The above picture is the room I'm working (TV/stand is going to be replaced).

Equipment list:
  • Panasonic 65" VT60 - wall mounted
  • Onkyo 818
  • Ascend 340SE for LCR - with stands for LR
  • Ascend 170 for surround
  • Klipsch RW12
  • PS4 PS3, I was getting ahead of myself!
  • XBOX 360
  • Local cable DVR box

If you see the glass doors in the picture, there is a room on the other side of the wall the TV will hang on. My plan is to put all the A/V equipment in that room. So along the wall with the TV will just be the LR 340SE on stands, center 340, and possibly the sub.

Here's where my questions come in...

I want to make the wiring as clean as possible. I plan to run everything thru the Onkyo and a single HDMI to the TV. These are all the wires that I need to run thru the wall between the TV and the A/V equipment:
  • speaker wire - 5 speakers total - ability to add 2 more
  • RCA for sub - ability to add second sub
  • USB hookup - for gaming controllers, at least 2
  • HDMI - should I go ahead and run 2???
  • Power cable for TV

Now what is the easiest/cleanest/less maintenance way to run the wires thru the wall? Most likely you will be able to see where the wires run into the wall in the A/V room (not a big deal) but where they come out of the wall on the TV side will be hidden by something like a table or the sub/center speaker. These are the options I am considering...

Wall plate from Monoprice http://www.monoprice.com/products/department.asp?c_id=105 I would most likely build my own keystone wall plate since I want USB as well. The wall plate would use banana plugs for all 5 speakers (plus 2 for future), RCA hookup for sub plus one extra and 2 USB. If I go this route, should I make 2 wall plates, one for each side of the wall? Will quality degrade if I do this?

If I use a wall plate on only one side, I could use a brush plate for the other side like this http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-Single-Brush-Plastic-Wall-Plate-White-87697/202699197?N=bm8mZ1z0zugq#.UdLO5fmkqL1 but I doubt it's big enough for all the wires.

I guess my other option is just use a brush plate on both sides of the wall since I don't really care what it looks like since it's hidden on the TV side.

Now that was for all the speaker stuff. The HDMI and TV power cord will go through their own hole since it can run hidden from directly behind the TV. I want to power the TV from the same surge protector as everything else located in the AV room. Is the brush plate on both sides the way to go?

For HDMI, I'd love to use a wall plate but I think I read that HDMI signal can decrease or not even work if it passes through many connectors. I am planning on using Redmere cables from Monoprice. Any issues here? Can I run just the Redmere from the Onkyo to TV and standard HDMI cables everywhere else? Any benefit to running Redmere everywhere?

Any suggestions or other options???

Few other questions:
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 08:02 AM
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Do NOT run the power cable through the walls. That is against fire code... Use a PowerBridge or similar product to accomplish this, it will also give you a scoop plate for other wires.

http://www.powerbridgesolution.com/avsspecialorder.html

Arlington Industries has nice grommets (www.aifittings.com), and also a line of recessed TV Box units that help with all this. I'd recommend using one of these in conjunction with the inlet side of a PowerBridge.

The Next Gen remote extender is great.

Jeff

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post #3 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 08:56 AM
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Get two of these and put one on each side of the wall.
Or cut, frame and trim a boxed opening similar to a projection window to be used as a cable pass through if you need more space.

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post #4 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 09:51 AM
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Right, so I just performed a very similar build except I also did whole house audio but your one room is similar to my main viewing room. You will have a substantially easier time given the head end's proximity to the tv versus mine being 40 feet away from the tv. I will comment on the Redmere cables. I'm not seeing the need for them given the very short run that you are dealing with. I'm running 40 foot regular/inwall hdmi's with perfect results and am right at the cusp for needing redmeres. Also then do you need IR or an RF extender? What do you have that is RF? I only needed an IR inwall receiver and appropriate cat5 wiring to the head end with the eyes for each piece of equipment. Do your Xbox remotes work without line of site? I know there are some challenges using extenders with an xbox with several youtube videos showing the home made solutions. We actually took the opportunity to remove the xbox from the main viewing room and put it into the secondary tv room dedicated to the kids as the adults don't play xbox. I've contemplated running an hdmi from the secondary tv room's xbox to the main large tv for the select times we'd allow the kids to hog the main room tv playing video games. Not sure the remotes will work as they apparently have a 30 or so foot range.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 10:00 AM
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At any wall based speaker locations you can either pass the wire through a small grommet or you can use something like this at every speaker location:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10425&cs_id=1042503&p_id=3324&seq=1&format=2

For my front speakers, I actually cut a slit in my carpet right where the wire was to come through and ran the wire straight up into the speaker so it is completely invisible. Center channel is wall mounted in my case, so wire is hidden there as well.

I like the scoop plate listed above from Monoprice. It works well and gives a nice clean look to any cables which are passing through the wall.

14 gauge speaker wire makes a lot of sense.

Since this looks like it will be a difficult run, you should run 1 or 2 HDMI cables and at least 3 cat-6 cables to your TV location. The HDMI is nice for today, but the cat-6 cables should help cover you for stuff you may need in the future.

You will also want to research the newest gaming systems and what type of connections they may require to the consoles. Kinect, for example, only can use a specific extender (I believe), so be aware of some of those limitations which may arise. Perhaps pull an extra piece or two of cat-6 just in case.

Seems like you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do which is a good thing. Speakers are all pretty straightforward.

For a recent installation I put all the equipment into a basement rack, then just put a Blu-ray player in the office (similar to what appears to be your office location) and added an auxiliary HDMI & audio input on the wall below the TV for 'quick' connect sources.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 10:04 AM
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Regarding electrical - I was surprised at how inexpensive it was to hire an electrician to install the box behind my TV. Basically he charged $60 / hour plus parts. In my case the parts were less than $10, so the total bill was $70 and I didn't have to worry about code. It's easy enough to do it myself, but the electrician did it in half the time.

For connections through interior walls that are behind the TV, I like to use something like this recessed wall plate. It gives you the flexibility to feed whatever you want without having to re-key everything.

Is the room in the back finished or unfinished? Here's another idea if you are somewhat handy. We did this in our old house with about $50 of wood and paint. The speakers were mounted low because we would occasionally set up a projection screen that filled the upper half of the wall. The shelving that extends into the other room was easily turned into a bench on the other side of the wall.

We considered hiding everything in the other room, but the IR/RF was a pain and it would have been inconvenient to go into the other room to change games / discs, etc... Also those aren't typical in-wall speakers. They are regular speakers hiding behind some monoprice speaker grilles.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Do NOT run the power cable through the walls. That is against fire code... Use a PowerBridge or similar product to accomplish this, it will also give you a scoop plate for other wires.

http://www.powerbridgesolution.com/avsspecialorder.html

Arlington Industries has nice grommets (www.aifittings.com), and also a line of recessed TV Box units that help with all this. I'd recommend using one of these in conjunction with the inlet side of a PowerBridge.

The Next Gen remote extender is great.

Jeff
Thanks, didn't realize it was against code. I'll look into this kit (or possibly an electrician to install a new one by the TV).
Quote:
Originally Posted by walterappleby View Post

Get two of these and put one on each side of the wall.
Or cut, frame and trim a boxed opening similar to a projection window to be used as a cable pass through if you need more space.
Awesome! I think this is the way I'll go. Cheaper/easier and again no one will even see it. I may go with the 3 gang.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkust View Post

Right, so I just performed a very similar build except I also did whole house audio but your one room is similar to my main viewing room. You will have a substantially easier time given the head end's proximity to the tv versus mine being 40 feet away from the tv. I will comment on the Redmere cables. I'm not seeing the need for them given the very short run that you are dealing with. I'm running 40 foot regular/inwall hdmi's with perfect results and am right at the cusp for needing redmeres. Also then do you need IR or an RF extender? What do you have that is RF? I only needed an IR inwall receiver and appropriate cat5 wiring to the head end with the eyes for each piece of equipment. Do your Xbox remotes work without line of site? I know there are some challenges using extenders with an xbox with several youtube videos showing the home made solutions. We actually took the opportunity to remove the xbox from the main viewing room and put it into the secondary tv room dedicated to the kids as the adults don't play xbox. I've contemplated running an hdmi from the secondary tv room's xbox to the main large tv for the select times we'd allow the kids to hog the main room tv playing video games. Not sure the remotes will work as they apparently have a 30 or so foot range.
I thought about using a Redmere cable just so it was easier to fish through the wall. But I only need 6ft or so.

I don't have anything that is RF. Unless I'm mistaken, the RF transmitter I linked to only turns your remote into an RF remote so it can pass the signal through walls and where the signal is picked up is an IR blaster pointed at all the equipment. Is there a better way to do this? I think the XBOX remotes do work without line of sight but I also want the ability to use the USB hard wire. But that would require about 15 ft of wire which I think is too long for USB.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtus View Post

Regarding electrical - I was surprised at how inexpensive it was to hire an electrician to install the box behind my TV. Basically he charged $60 / hour plus parts. In my case the parts were less than $10, so the total bill was $70 and I didn't have to worry about code. It's easy enough to do it myself, but the electrician did it in half the time.

For connections through interior walls that are behind the TV, I like to use something like this recessed wall plate. It gives you the flexibility to feed whatever you want without having to re-key everything.

Is the room in the back finished or unfinished? Here's another idea if you are somewhat handy. We did this in our old house with about $50 of wood and paint. The speakers were mounted low because we would occasionally set up a projection screen that filled the upper half of the wall. The shelving that extends into the other room was easily turned into a bench on the other side of the wall.

We considered hiding everything in the other room, but the IR/RF was a pain and it would have been inconvenient to go into the other room to change games / discs, etc... Also those aren't typical in-wall speakers. They are regular speakers hiding behind some monoprice speaker grilles.

Did the electrician just install a power outlet behind the TV? If so, did you do anything for a surge protector? This could be another option for me instead of the one in the first response above.

The room behind the wall is just an office and I like what you've done with your room with the recessed speakers and shelves. That may be too much work to tackle right now and not sure I want to cut the wall up that much. But I'll keep it in mind for the future.

Thanks everyone so far for the responses! I already have a better plan than I originally had before this thread!
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S T I G View Post

Thanks, didn't realize it was against code. I'll look into this kit (or possibly an electrician to install a new one by the TV).
Awesome! I think this is the way I'll go. Cheaper/easier and again no one will even see it. I may go with the 3 gang.
I thought about using a Redmere cable just so it was easier to fish through the wall. But I only need 6ft or so.

I don't have anything that is RF. Unless I'm mistaken, the RF transmitter I linked to only turns your remote into an RF remote so it can pass the signal through walls and where the signal is picked up is an IR blaster pointed at all the equipment. Is there a better way to do this? I think the XBOX remotes do work without line of sight but I also want the ability to use the USB hard wire. But that would require about 15 ft of wire which I think is too long for USB.
Did the electrician just install a power outlet behind the TV? If so, did you do anything for a surge protector? This could be another option for me instead of the one in the first response above.

The room behind the wall is just an office and I like what you've done with your room with the recessed speakers and shelves. That may be too much work to tackle right now and not sure I want to cut the wall up that much. But I'll keep it in mind for the future.

Thanks everyone so far for the responses! I already have a better plan than I originally had before this thread!

As for the IR repeater I used a Sewell in wall version from Amazon. I think it was like $30 and simply put you wire a cat 5 cable from the face plate, through the wall to wherever your equipment is and the cat 5 then connects to the other component in the repeater then you simply connect the little repeater eyes aimed at or directly on the component. It looks very clean and professional and works perfectly.
As for the power outlet behind the TV...I installed the outlet/cut the hole, etc and wired it within 30 minutes at most and I am a corporate executive not an electrician. I became a master with a fish tape, coat hanger and piece of rope with a weight on the end and wall patch mesh and mud. The code for this is specific and not difficult to follow along. As for the surge protector for the tv at first I installed a nice, flat panel specific recessed outlet but quickly realized that the monster cable surge protector won't reach far enough into the outlet as I didn't have the surge protector when I installed it. I simply swapped it out for a normal outlet.

Honestly the biggest pain in the butt was placing the tv mount on the wall in the perfect spot and height. I used the kind with full range of motion and you really only get one shot to do it correctly and so I went slow having not done it before. BTW Monoprice has really cheap wall mounts.

I am absolutely insane about everything being perfect and looking as though I hired a pro for every aspect of the whole house audio and main viewing area. If you saw the steps I had to go through to do whole house audio in my existing construction you would be amazed. I'm thinking most people would have passed on WHA. Keep in mind the whole single cable connection from the tv to the AVR is a bit of a fallacy when you start getting into extra zones where you need to ultimately start utilizing Digital Audio Converters to get your digital sources to work with other zones including the tv if it has no analog out. Lots of caveats and considerations there.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-02-2013, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S T I G View Post


Did the electrician just install a power outlet behind the TV? If so, did you do anything for a surge protector? This could be another option for me instead of the one in the first response above.

The room behind the wall is just an office and I like what you've done with your room with the recessed speakers and shelves. That may be too much work to tackle right now and not sure I want to cut the wall up that much. But I'll keep it in mind for the future.

Thanks everyone so far for the responses! I already have a better plan than I originally had before this thread!
There are two versions of the wall plate that I mentioned above. Here's a link to a version that includes a built-in surge protector (not sure how good it is, but it's probably better than nothing).
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-08-2013, 08:18 AM
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I prefer to keep the cables on the other side of the tv while spending a lot less money in the process. Therefore a cable wallplate outlet is about $2 a regular 15 amp outlet is a dollar, the outlet plate is 30 cents and a Monster flat panel tv surge protector is $14. You can run your cable through it as well (of course there are arguments against that).
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