How To Hide Your Satellite Receiver, Bluray/ DVD & Games Console
If like me you hate seeing wires and there are some many required for some TV set ups, one of the best ways of doing this is to hide your AV equipment away so that you can’t see it. You can install your AV equipment like your Sky box, games console or DVD/ Bluray player away in a cupboard or under the stairs so that you hide the TV cables and don’t have to look at it or the cables connecting to it. This is perfect for wall mounted TV set ups as it can remove the need altogether for a AV cabinet or AV shelf to put the equipment on and can be a real space saver. Also perfect if you have children and pets as there is nothing for them to grab a hold of.
Before you go ahead and put your TV into a cabinet or cupboard away from sight. There are a few things that you need to consider first:
1- Where you will install the equipment
2- How the AV equipment will connect to the TV
3- How you will control the equipment when it’s hidden away
4- How easy it will be to get to the equipment.
5- How many TV’s that will be connected to the AV equipment
Where To Hide My AV Equipment?
When quoting for AV set ups and TV wall mounting installations I often get asked, where can I hide my TV equipment? My answer is that it can go wherever you want it to. You will obviously need power wherever you choose to install to this to so you may need to spur off of an existing ring main or install a trailing socket, either way I do not advise doing this yourself unless of course you know what you’re doing. Good places to hideaway things like Sky boxes are within existing cupboards/ cabinets or in new ones. Under the stairs cupboard, in wardrobes, airing cupboard providing that these are not too hot! You could even if you wanted to install all of your AV equipment in your loft, I wouldn’t advise this however as it’s not typically the easiest place to get to. When deciding a place to hide the kit away as much will depend on the layout of your home as to where to hide it away. Unless you wish to undertake a large amount of work you will want to keep cable routes and lengths to a minimum where possible.
Connecting To Your TV
Once you have decided on your position that you intend to hide the Audio Visual equipment away you will need to think about how what TV leads & cables you will need to connect to your TV and what route you will need to take to get these to your TV. If you’re lucky like me, where you choose to install your equipment will be immediately near your TV. All on my TV, CCTV & networking equipment is in a data cabinet in my under stairs cupboard and my TV also mounts onto the opposite of this wall. The wall is a stud wall so I was able to just drop the cables inside and pull them out either end. It wasn’t so easy getting the cables to the bedrooms etc however.
I have written an earlier blog on ‘What cables do I need for my TV?’, so you may want to stop reading here, go check that out and then come back to this. In essence the cables that are most commonly used for TV set ups these days are:
HDMI cables – Satellite receivers, games consoles, Blurays & DVD (compatible), AV receivers & others types of PVR’s like Virgin Media boxes and Freeview boxes.
Optical Audio Cables – Sound cable for surround sound setups, AV receivers & amplifiers and soundbars.
Phono Cables – For connecting to equipment that is not HDMI compatible
USB cables – For connecting digital multimedia to your TV, like to be able to view pictures and videos.
Coaxial cables – TV Aerials, satellites cables, can also be used for some audio systems
Network cable – Wired internet connection, video and audio when used with appropriate equipment like HDMI over data cabling.
HDMI Cables – Most Common
Most equipment that you will need to your TV will be done via a HDMI cable. So you more than likely need to route a 2 or 3 of these. I recommend installing spare cables to future proof the set up. HDMI leads and other types of cables can be purchased in a variety of lengths. Common lengths are 3m, 5m ,7.5m, 10m and 15m but you can also get longer or shorter versions. Where the HDMI lengths are greater than 7.5m I recommend spending a bit extra on the cables and getting a good one. This will ensure that you get a good TV picture. Where installing HDMI cables beyond 15m you may need to install a HDMI signal repeater to “re-clock” the signal or instead consider a a HDMI over Cat 5/6 extension kit as these can serve greater distances than standard HDMI cables.
Coax & Data Cables
I advise also install a one of two coaxial cables and data cables between your TV and your AV equipment even if you do not intend to immediately use them. For the sake a few pounds/ dollars for the cables it’s definitely worth pulling these to future proof your set up.
Obviously if you are going to be installing something like a Sky box that needs connecting to an external antenna like a TV aerial or a satellite dish you will need to get coaxial cables between you antennas and where the AV equipment if going to be installed. You will also need a data cable between your internet router and your AV site if you wish to provide a wired internet connection. You could move your router to this position also which may not be a bad idea as you could hide away this equipment too but this may effect your WIFI coverage and may mean that you need separate access points to provide extra WIFI coverage. Alternatively, you could use powerline adapters to provide a wired internet connection to this position.
Controlling TV Equipment That Is Hidden Away
Obviously once the equipment is hidden away you’re going to want to be able to control it. There are a couple of different control systems that are used with most AV equipment remote controls. Infra-red and Bluetooth. Unless you want to keep opening the door that you AV kit Is installed behind or having to pop out of the room to control your TV equipment.
The infra-red remote that most people are familiar with, you point the remote at the TV or piece of equipment that you wish to control and press the buttons, you won’t see it obviously but there are infra-red bursts that come out of the remote that correspond to certain functions on your TV. If anything gets in the way of your remote and the TV the TV will most likely not receive the command and will not respond. So when hiding your equipment away you need to take this into consideration. There a few different solutions but the most common would be a infra-red emitter and receiver system where a discreet infra red remote eye in position in front of the TV so that it can receive the commands for the AV equipment with a connecting cable, usually a coaxial or data cable feeding an infra-red emitter that sits in front of the AV equipment. The same eye, emitter and cable can be used to control numerous pieces of equipment. It can be tricky sometimes setting the infra emitter right that sits in front of your TV equipment as you will most likely need to test a few places before sticking it down.
Instead of using light frequencies so control the TV equipment, Bluetooth uses radio frequencies much lower down on the spectrum. The advantages to this that the signal is not affected so much with things in between your remote and the equipment so you don’t have to point the remote to the TV. Providing that the remote is within the proximity of the TV and AV equipment it will receive the commands that you press on the remote. This means that a lot of the time no special attention needs to paid to the controlling of the equipment as even within a cupboard or enclosed area the remote will still work. For this reason I do not recommend installing equipment that is to be controlled over Bluetooth with a metal enclosure or data cabinet as you could prevent the wireless signals from reaching the equipment. Bluetooth is starting to become more common with things like Sky Q and games consoles like Xbox & PlayStation opting for a Bluetooth remote. The downside of Bluetooth remotes is that obviously if you’re outside of the wireless range of the controller it will not work and you may need extra equipment to help you do so. In situations like this an infra-red control system operating over a cable would have a distinct advantage.
Controlling Sky boxes Hidden Away
For many years Sky boxes have had their own control system that operated over the RF2 output on the rear of the Sky box. This applies to nearly all early Sky boxes, Sky+ boxes and most of the Sky+HD boxes. Some of the later ones required an add on i/0 link modulator but the principle is still the same once set up. The RF2 control system removed the need for a infra-red emitter to be installed in front of the Sky box and provided a wired coaxial connection that would power the remote eye that is installed beside the TV. This set up was primarily for setting up a Sky playback system so you could watch your Sky box in other rooms but can also be used for controlling a Sky box that is hidden away.
The same RF2 connection could also be used for providing a picture to the TV but I wouldn’t advise this as it is in an analogue quality only and will not look good on your new flat screen TV. I advise only using it for the control mechanism that it provides and instead opt for a HDMI connection.
Sky Q boxes did away with the RF2 connection altogether as the multi-room set up is wireless. You can still on most Sky Q boxes use either an infra-red remote or a Bluetooth remote. Obviously if its within range then the Bluetooth will be fine. Otherwise you will need a infra-red emitter and eye setup like the Remote link plus or Triax Tri link.
Getting To The Hidden AV Equipment When You Need To
I advise installing the hidden AV set up in a position that allows ease of access when required. There are multiple reasons behind this and this is why I suggest hiding your set up away in the loft as it’s not easy to access. If you have a DVD, Bluray or games console you’re going to need this to be easily accessible so you can put the discs/ cartridges into the thing! This will become less of an issue over time with people choosing to stream and download content more and more. Most games consoles these days allow a game to be purchased and stored onto the internal hard drive, so no need for a disc altogether. You obviously also want the equipment somewhere that you can access it in case it stops working for whatever reason, like when it freezes and the only way to get it going again is to turn the power off, leave it for a few mins to discharge the capacitors and turn back on again.
How Many TV’s That Will Be Connected To The Equipment
If you intend to hide your TV kit away and have it accessible on more than one TV. There are many approaches that can be taken in order to achieve this. This becomes a home distribution system and you need to think about relying the audio and video and how to control it on all TV’s. This becomes a home distribution system and can get quite complicated if you wish to distribute HDMI signals around your property. You may require HDMI amplifiers or matrix switches. This is quite a topic on it’s own so I’m going to save it for a later blog.
Hiding Equipment Behind The TV Itself
If you’re lucky the equipment that your trying to hide will be able to fit behind a wall mounted TV itself. To be able to do this you will obviously only be able to hide equipment that is small enough to be able to slot behind your TV. If it isn’t you will need to stand the TV away from the wall slightly to allow it. Many TV wall mounting brackets come with plastics stand offs and longer bolts that allow you to do this. The same result can be achieved with a few penny washers.
I wouldn’t advise hiding something like a DVD behind the TV as your would need to get discs in and out of it. Also things like Sky+HD boxes and AV receivers are never going to fit also. But things like the new Sky Q boxes, especially the Sky Q multi-room boxes are very low profile and can often just be slotted behind. You can actually purchase a wall mountable slot purposely made for Sky Q boxes to be able to slotted behind the TV. Other pieces of equipment that are easily concealed behind the TV are Apple TV boxes & Smart TV sticks, like a Now TV stick or Amazon Firestick. These can also usually be powered off the USB connections on your TV so no need to install extra power cables.
Once thing that is important when slotting AV equipment behind wall mounted TV’s is that the remote control works. Not a problem for things like Google Chromecast where it’s controlled via a Smart Phone App and items that connect via Bluetooth or radio frequency. But if your equipment is infra-red controlled you will want to fit it so it’s closer to the edge of the TV with the infra-red sensor. If you have white or lightly coloured walls this helps as the infra red will bounce around off the walls which will help it ultimately reach the equipment.
Hiding AV Equipment Questions & Answers
If you have any questions about hiding away your satellite receivers, PVR's, disc players, games consoles and sound systems please post your questions and comments in the blog comments section at the bottom of this blog. I will help you where I can but please be aware that I am a very busy person and may not be able to respond as fast as you would like so please be patient. Please do not call our telephone lines, these are reserved for customers only and we do not offer over the phone technical support. Please also do not e-mail or fill out our website contact forms as again these are intended for customers use only and you will either not receive a response or receive an automated one asking you to post your question the blog comment section of the blog that you have read. By doing this everyone reading the blog at a later date will get the benefit of the question asked and the answer given.
Until next time,
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