Now that you have purchased a new flat panel TV (LED, LCD or plasma) you'd like to make sure it looks its best. Here are some tips on what to look for when installing it and concealing the cables:
Location: Find the most desirable location on the wall where the TV will be installed. Sometimes rearranging the furniture will help ensure you find the best spot for your new TV, since it will most likely stay there for the long run, or at least until it is upgraded.
Electrical power source: Plan ahead to determine where will the TV receive the electrical power it needs to operate from. The best way to resolve it is to run brand new wiring and install en electrical right behind the TV set. Having an adequate existing electrical receptacle nearby helps solve the issue, as the new wiring can be attached to the existing electrical branch if it is capable of supporting the electrical requirements of your TV set. Most of the time you'll tap into the same outlet where the old TV set used to plug into. An electrical power kit can also be installed and it will do the same job as a permanent electrical branch circuit. Power to the outlet should be cutoff by first locating the breaker that feeds the circuit. Using a tracer will speed up the process. You may find some labels or notes left behind by the the home builder identifying the proper assignment of breakers. Always verify TWICE that no power is present on the electrical outlet before doing any operation. Using an electrical tester or test lamp is always a good way to make sure no voltage is present. Test both receptacles, as sometimes one of them is operated by a switch. IF in doubt, or uncertain of your skills, then refer to a qualified electrician for this step.
Scan for wood studs: All homes, regardless of the method used to cover the interior walls, do have a skeleton made up of wooden studs which hold in place the entire building and support the ceiling, second floor, if any and roof, not to mention the most important of all loads: it's residents. you can expect to find the studs 16" apart from each other, center to center. To find a stud, use as a reference an existing electrical outlet which is (or at least should have been) attached to the stud closest to where you plan to mount the TV; Use a stud sensor to determine the exact location of the stud. By moving the stud sensor in a sweeping motion left to right up against the wall just above the electrical outlet, you'll be able to pinpoint its location and place a mark (use masking tape and a pencil). Now you can measure 16" to the left and right of the newly found stud and mark two more of them. Use the two studs that most closely fit your ideal location for the attachment of the bracket that will hold your TV. Double check with the stud sensor to be positive the studs are in fact there.
Find out if there are fire blocks present: A fire block is a section of a stud installed between two vertical studs when the house is being built. You may find fire blocks at a height of about 36" to 48" of the floor. The fire blocks may or may not be present on that specific location. You are better off if no fire blocks are present, other than that you'll have to bypass them, which involves opening up the wall, drilling two holes through it and feeding the cables, then patching up, texture and patching the wall to make it look untouched.
Install TV hangers to TV and pre-fit bracket: TV brackets vary in price and design, but most of them feature a set of metal pieces which attach to the rear of your TV via specially sized screws and washers. once you have installed those two pieces try out the wall bracket by attaching it to the hooks located on the two metal pieces mentioned above as if it was already mounted on the wall. Take measurements from the bottom of the TV to the upper bracket mounting holes to determine the distance (let's call it "X"). Now determine the height you want the TV mounted off the floor once installed. (as a reference, most people's choice falls between 40" and 44", with 42" off the floor being the most chosen). In such case, add 42" to distance "X" and it will be the total height "H" of the bracket mounting hole as measured from the floor. It's assumed you already located the two studs needed for the mounting of the bracket, so just drill a pilot hole at the right height "H" making sure as you drill that the drill bit is being driven into the stud, preferably centered (it's hard not to notice the difference between stud and no stud). Remove the drill, use one washer and one of the supplied bolts and attach the bracket to the wall loosely. At this time hold the bracket horizontally and make sure is level. Make a second mark on the other stud and once more drill a pilot hole for the second bolt. Now tighten up both upper bolts making any necessary adjustments to keep the bracket level. Drill two more pilot holes and attach two more bolts for a total of at least 4 bolts and washers. (each stud is holding one upper and one lower bolt).
Cut off holes on the wall and feed cabling: A rectangular hole of appropriate size is to be cut close to the existing electrical outlet (some 3" to the side), and at the same height off the floor. One more cut out has to be made just below the newly installed TV bracket, and a third cut out next to it (this last one will house the electrical box and outlet). Feed the cables into the bottom hole and fish them inside the wall, exiting on the upper cut out, the one below the bracket. Distribute the cables as needed and install low voltage rings and them wall plates to give the installation a finished look.
Finishing up the installation: Hang up he TV onto the installed bracket, hook up HDMI cables, RCA component cables, optical audio output cable, any other cables you ran and then lock up brackets to keep the TV from collapsing (two screws are usually to be tightened up, or a metal bar is to be inserted through some slots, some other brackets are self locking, consult your documentation). Adjust tilting mechanism if any and then hook up your electronic equipment. Test operation.
Tools you need:
Parts and supplies:
The aforementioned procedures are intended for the do-it-yourself type of person who has some experience in electrical work and is handy with basic tools.
IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WORKING WITH CABLING PLEASE CONTACT A LOCAL CONTRACTOR OR ELECTRICIAN
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This article by http:www.HDalacarte.com a Home Theater and TV installation contractor located in Los Angeles California
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