Grandpa Webb's blog

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Wires? You’ll find them behind the gutter

Who is this Grandpa Webb?Our TV – the one with the built-in blue line – used to sit on a glass table with two shelves. The top shelf held the TV, and on the shelf underneath was the DVD recorder/player that I got as a special offer when I bought the TV, a digital recorder, a video cassette recorder (VCR), and four controllers – one for each piece of kit.

At the back, and easily seen through the dusty glass shelves, was a hopelessly jumbled mess of cables, plugs, transformers, extension sockets and other stuff required to connect and power the four boxes of technology.

Wouldn’t it be nice, said grandma one day, if we could hide all those wires, get rid of that glass table, and put the TV on the wall?

Wires are mostly hidden behind this piece of plastic gutter. Painted black, it's held on by small patches of Velcro.It happened that the local Sony Centre was offering all sorts of deals on TVs and accessories, (I didn’t know then, but the shop would close down two days later). I negotiated a demon price for a Vogels wall-mount for the TV. According to the salesman, it would hide all the wires, and at the same time allow the TV to pivot and tilt, and be pulled away from the wall — useful if, like ours, your TV sits in an alcove.

When the next door neighbours were out, I hammer-drilled four holes in the party wall and fixed the wall-mount. To simplify things we decided to dump the DVD and VCR recorders and buy a new, smaller Bluetooth DVD recorder. But we still needed four electrical plugs: one for the TV, one for the digital recorder, one for the Bluetooth player and one for the HDMI switching unit. I fixed a block of six sockets to the wall, out of sight, behind the TV.

Did I mention the HDMI switching unit before?  Ah, well, you need one of these if you don’t have enough HDMI sockets on the TV. Ours, six years old, had one, but we needed two sockets, one each for the digital recorder and the new Bluetooth thing.

Look: no wires in sight (well only one).The switching unit acts like a set of points on a railway track. Plug the unit into the TV and plug the Bluetooth and recorder into the switching unit and it chooses the appropriate one. It also comes with its own remote controller.

Having sorted the wiring, all I had to do was hide it. But there wasn’t enough space for my 11 cables within the unit, because some of them had to be doubled-back because they were too long. I emailed the manufacturers asking if they did a larger capacity storage unit, but they didn’t reply.

“What we need to hide all these wires is something like a piece of plastic guttering,” said grandma in a flash of genius. I discovered B&Q sells two metre lengths of square-section guttering that is almost the right size. Sprayed matt black with car paint, and held in place with little patches of Velcro, it hides almost everything.

All I need to do now is to think of a use for a spare five-foot length of square plastic guttering…

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