You’re a new homeowner and want to host a housewarming party for your family and friends. So, you’ve got an enormous flat panel and all the devices to get the party started. The only issue is, you’ve got a mess of cables behind your entertainment system, and you need everything to work seamlessly. Many home AV systems look sharp up-front, but when you look at the back, it’s a mess of cables and wires.
We’ve put together a simple 5 step solution to tidy up your home entertainment system. (CLICK HERE to watch the video – 1:50 min.)
1. Get your cables RIGHT!!!
One of the main reasons folks have an untidy home theater is a result of using incorrect cables. It’s critical to possess the correct types of cables for any entertainment center. Take a glance at your home AV system and notice if some cables are in strange positions and bent, putting stress on optical, component, or HDMI connectors by pressing them against the wall. Also, check the ports on the back of your TV, receiver, or game console. If you are bending the cables or they are placed in an unusual position, it’s time to fix that before any more damage is done.
2. Add an HDMI Switcher
How many ports does your TV have? Are you switching ports often to change from the cable box to a game console to a DVD player and back to your cable box? If this is the case, it may be time to purchase an HDMI Switcher.
An HDMI switcher can switch between game consoles, DVD players, cable box, Apple TV or any other source device connected to the switcher. The output of the switcher will be connected to the back of your TV and opening up the other ports. There are various types of switchers, and we advise doing your homework before making a purchase. A good rule of thumb is knowing how many source devices like game consoles and DVD players that you have. Also, knowing the distance from the switcher to your TV is critical because there are simple HDMI switchers out there or long range switchers that employ HDBaseT technology to reach long distances.
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3. Separate Power from your AV cables
Many home AV systems typically have a stand, rack or AV cabinet where all devices are stored. Of course, there’s going to be a whole bunch of cables going different directions, and we will have a solution for that momentarily. For now, we want to focus on the cables that run power. A great way to manage your cables is to separate the A/V cables from the power. Dividing power to go one direction will help with the sheer bulk of cables you need to go through if you need to swap a particular cable for a test connection. Now, just grab a surge protector and divide them from the things you want to be ON always from the things that can easily be powered off.
4. Label your cables
This next step would seem like common sense to many people, but it’s not as common as you think. Label the cables connected to the TV, receiver, consoles, DVD, and any other gear you may have. Label makers are very inexpensive and can save the hassle of wasting time trying to figure which cable is which if you need to unplug or plug one of them. Label both ends of your cables with a cable type and the device it’s connected to. Doing so will conserve time from looking at the connector, and you’ll continuously grasp which end to disconnect to draw out a cable you want to replace or test.
Last step, but definitely not least is organizing all those cables. Once you have the right cables, labeled them, and have the proper gear for your home entertainment system, the final step is to line it all back as seamless as possible.
-Disconnect and clean everything
-Organize your cables by endpoint on the floor: As we mentioned earlier, your power cables will be going one direction to a surge protector, while all the other cables will most likely go to your TV or switcher.
-Connect power cords to your power strip
-Connect the cables to their end point
-Shorten cables: Shorter cables are easier to manage and tuck away.
-Wrap like cables together. Most likely you’ll have a few HDMI cables from source devices like a DVD, game console, cable box, etc. Stack these units together and wrap the HDMI cables together bc they will all connect to your HDMI switcher. Do the same with your power cords.
-Connect Devices: once everything is tied up and cleaned, your entertainment center should be looking much better. Plug in all your devices and slide them in your entertainment cabinet or rack.
It’s always a great idea to take a little time to organize that mess behind your TV. Whether you are adding a new device or you need to replace a cable, take 5 minutes to make sure everything is where they should be. A clean set-up is always easier to maneuver around if you have any technical issues and less overwhelming.