For most people with a home theater system installed in their house, the cables are one of the biggest logistical challenges. The cords and cables for all the various components inevitably become a tangled, jumbled mess, making it nearly impossible to change the configuration of your system or any of the components. Most families don't put in the time to organize and hide their cables to improve the aesthetics and safety of the home theater room. With just a few simple changes, your home theater cabling mess can be easily cleaned up and put under control.
All of the components in the home theater system have a power cord that must find its way to a wall socket, surge protector or power strip. To keep the power cords neat and tidy, use a label machine to identify the cord before you plug your home theater components in. This will help when you need to know which plug to pull to move your speaker system or to replace your DVD player.
To clean up the knots and clutter caused by the constant wrapping and unwrapping of cables around each other, start by unplugging everything, including the cables that connect each component to the others, and separate them out. Figure out exactly where you want each component to go, and then set them up again and neatly run the cables without twisting them around each other. You may need to write down reminders for where everything goes if you are not accustomed to setting up the theater. Use twist ties or zip ties to the cables every foot or so when there is more than one cable running in the same direction to keep them from becoming tangled and out of control. This same organization can be applied to the power cords that lead to the same power outlet.
If your home theater is set-up such that some of the cabling must come out from behind an entertainment cabinet or floor speakers, it is recommended that some sort of cable hide be used to ensure that these cables do not become snagged by people walking by or grabbed by small children or pets. To keep power cords out of view and safe from tampering, use a cable hide designed to run along the wall and keep your cables protected and covered. These cable hides can be great for anywhere that your cables hang out in the open. If you are building your home theater from scratch, you can ask the installer to build the cabling into the wall or molding of the room in much the same fashion. You will not have to worry about tripping hazards or about your new puppy chewing through your power cables if the cords are neatly hidden and out of the way.
Your home theater speakers provide another potential problem, since you might want speakers around the room with speaker cables becoming a huge problem. To keep this problem down, the best option, though complicated, is to run the wiring for the speakers through the walls. This prevents them from dangling or getting in the way, and if you have the necessary tools and skills, you can run your speakers just about anywhere in the room.
Cleaning up home theater cabling does not have to be a chore. With some simple changes and proper storage, you can have a clean looking, safe home theater room for your family.
~ Ben Anton, 2007
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