Help Hiding Components in Bookcase
What's the best way to get A/V signals across a room?
July 12, 2012 by Grant Clauser

Marco from Texas asks:

I have a flat screen LCD mounted on the front wall, and I want to put all my components in the back of the room in a bookcase with doors. Is there a way to do that with my components in the back of my room and TV in front. If there is how do I connect it? Wired or wireless?

Here are some options:

This is a great question. Hanging a TV on the wall makes for a neat, clean display, but then you still need to figure out what to do with the components. You have a couple of challenges and options.

First, you need to figure out how to get the audio/video signals to your TV from across the room. The simplest and most reliable way is just to use long cables—if you’re using HDMI (and I assume you are) you’ll need to get a better-than-cheap cable. Some of the lower-priced cables are fine when your connection distance is three meters or less, but for the length of the room you’ll want to get something a little more robust. If it’s a very big room (or your components are actually in a separate room) there are systems (from Gefen and others) for converting the HDMI signals to CAT5 and back again. If it’s an average-sized room of about 20 feet, then a good-quality HDMI cable will work.

The best option would probably be to run the cable under the floor, but depending on your construction, that might not be possible.

Since your bookcase has doors, you’ll need either IR extenders placed outside the doors (Logitech makes one that works with their Harmony Remotes), or an RF system from a company like URC or Control4.  Those systems will require professional installation and programming.

Another option would be to use a wall-mounted shelf (such as this one) to put a component or two on the wall directly under the TV. While your components will still be out in view, you won’t have to worry about long wire runs or remote control issues.

If running a long HDMI cable doesn’t work for your home, then you might want to look into a wireless transmitter. I’ve tried a few, and they seem to work as described. One that might fit especially well for you is the IOGEAR Wireless 3D Digital Kit. The transmitter allows you to connect two HDMI sources. If you have more than that you should run all the HDMI cables through an AV receiver first, then one HDMI out from the receiver to the wireless transmitter. The wireless receiver at the TV end will also send your remote control signals back to the transmitter and your source devices, so even if your bookcase doors are closed, you can still control you sources with the original remotes.

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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