The Family Room Wall

One of the major annoyances in my house was the wiring that went from behind the TV around the wall into a media niche. With flat screen TVs being, well, flat, the niche would have made the TV difficult to see. So I resolved to do four things:

1. Put an antenna on the toof for TV and run the coax through the attic into the outside wall, to have it reappear behind the TV.

2. Install a 'media panel' that would hand the OTA TV coax, and the various inputs and outputs between TV and a new digital receiver-amplifier, via a second media panel inside of the niche, where the receiver will be located.

3. Wire the wall for AC power so that I can jumper from the outlet in the niche, through the wall to a connector behind the TV. Which then would remove all but some speaker wires from view.

4. Run an Ethernet wire from my office through the attic to the Family Room wall, to emerge at the same place where the antanna cable was to drop down.

So, after finally installing the antenna on the roof, that I had ordered a year ago from amazon, I ran the coax through the attic to the edge of the roof. And then, not much went right. The hole for the wire needed to enter the wall where the roof met the base of the attic. Impossible place to drill. Next, bringing boards into the attic to place across the rafters for me to lie down on, I ended up falling backward out of the attic opening which gave me some serious down-time because of a badly sprained wrist. I had cought myself with the left hand and brpke my fall. However, that resulted in my installing an attic ladder, which ended up being incredibly helpful later on.


You have to start somewhere, after I had the antenna installed, it was down to cutting holes for media panel and power plugs behind the TV. It all started so simple.


I had pushed a wire up into the attic, so that I knew where to bring the coax and the Ethernet wires. You're looking at the top-plate of the wall, that is a 2x4 that runs atop the wall studs. Since I could not drill from the attic, I had to drill through from the bottom up.


Borrowing a special drill bit from an old contractor who was working in the house next-door, I was able to get the hole large enough to run both of the cables through there, only to run immediately into another 2x4 the was horizontally in that wall. So I needed to cut yet another access hole and drill through that one from below. I had to get the wires to the larger hole behind the TV.


Success! And no more 2x4 impeding progress.


That wonderful drill-bit I borrowed, attached to my Bosch high-torque drill. Meanwhile, shopping Sears clearance bin, I found three such cutting tools, this size and two of them even larger for $0.97 each.


I connected the TV to the roof antenna, then climbing back up on the roof, using a compass and the directions given on antennaweb to the TV broadcast towers, I slewed the antenna around, and, with great satisfaction, watched 'This Old House'. Perfect!


Next came the power outlet. Done and done with 12-2 wire. The other end of that installation is around the corner in the media niche. Also, I ran the Ethernet cable there. Yes I know, there was another little problem. I took care of it.


Another quick test, to make sure the Mexican channel weather girl looks as perfect as possible.
She proudly did.


A test of the new power connector, and no more big black cables running around the corner.


Then it was back into the attic to drill a hole from the top, this time, into the wall of my office. I used the same electrician's trick again, drilling a small hole in the ceiling above where I wanted the outlet and sticking a wire through that I used as a guide in the attic, to help me know where to drill. Here is the finished office room outlet.



After some research of how to build the media cable, running from Lowe's to Radio Shack, to Home Depot, to Frey's, and endlessly checking amazon, I started to get a handle on it and bought and ordered the necessary parts from all of those sources. This is about 85% of the parts.


A neat trick (learned from a reviewer on amazon) that saved about $30 for a Toslink (optical audio connection) was to order two inexpensive Toslink pass-through connectors from amazon and two of these modular inserts and blank Keystone blocks. Then I dirlled those blank Keystone blocks and epoxied the connectors in.


Then I fed the cables, tied together, through the wall from behind the TV into the niche. I also bought an extension cord, btw, and a separate power plug, to make a jumper power cable - which has a plug on each end.


And here is how it looks behind the TV now.


And in the media niche.




And that little project is behind me as well. I also repainted all of the wall areas and around where the holes had been cut and reclosed.




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