Wall mounting your flat panel TV creates a nice touch for a living room or home theatre room. There are some challenges a home owner will face in order to do the job right, such as providing a hidden power outlet for the TV and hiding the audio and component cables that need to run back to the cable box or home theatre system. If these are beyond your expertise, you may need to hire a professional to do these tasks.
If you want to take on these tasks yourself, here is how to do it in a nutshell.
First, make sure you have a wall that you can get power to. Find an outlet you can tie into and that provides a reasonably clear path to run power inside the wall to the new outlet location. You may need to cut 4-6″ holes in your drywall for access at strategic locations, then patch them up later. In most cases, you don’t need to run the wires inside of conduit, but check your local building codes to find out before proceeding.
Next, install an “old work” electrical box in a location behind the TV. You may want to used a recessed box, which recesses the outlet an inch into the wall to allow clearance for some of the narrower flush mounted TV brackets. Now drill holes in the studs if necessary using a long flexible drill bit that is made for that purpose, and run your power from the source outlet through the studs to the new outlet inside the wall.
Run Audio/Video Cables
Now you are ready to run the component and audio cables to the cabinet that will house your cable box or home theatre system. Manufacturers recommend a 12 inch minimum separation between power cords and video cables, so plan accordingly.
First, cut access holes in your drywall as necessary to run 1″ minimum PVC conduit to act as a “cable chase” for your video and audio cables. Make sure you have enough room inside the conduit for all the cables you will need. Purchase a length of conduit and the appropriate bends to go from a box in the back of the TV to the cabinet area. You will need to assemble this cable chase using your access panels cut into the drywall, and secure the entire assembly to the studs using plumber’s strap metal.
Next, you can patch up your walls and put professional covers on the boxes where your cables come out. Now, run a wire pull (also called a fish tape) through the conduit and measure how long your cables need to be. Purchase the appropriate cables, and tape them together so the connectors are not bunched up together. Remember, you’ll need to fit this bundle of cables through a pretty small tube.
Run your wire pull through the cable chase again and attach your cable bundle to the end. Black electrical tape works great. You’ll also need some conduit lubricant to make your cable pulling a lot easier (don’t use WD-40 with black electrical tape, it will dissolve it and make a mess). Now pull your cable bundle through the wall from one side to the other, and you now have all the electrical connections you need to make your wall mounted flat panel TV function.
Attach Wall Mount Bracket
The last step is to attach a wall mounting bracket to the wall and hook it up to your TV. There are different sizes and models available, but most are universal and fit all TVs within a particular size range. Instruction for attaching them to the studs in the wall and to your TV should come with the device. Just make sure to follow these directions, because most flat screen televisions are heavy and must be mounted directly to studs. You cannot use drywall anchors.
Get assistance to life your flat panel television onto the new wall mount, and congratulations! You now have a professional looking home theatre room.