How To Build A Cable Run
Plan ahead and build a permanent cable run to handle those future wiring jobs
Install a permanent cable run to help you ferry cable when you need it and avoid the difficulty of running expensive cabling through your walls.
Its surprising how many people finish their home theater but but forget to plan how to wire their speakers and other components. A great way to get around this problem is to install inexpensive PVC tubing inside the walls to help you run wiring from one spot to another.
An RPTV to projector upgrade is a good example. With your television sitting at the front of the room, you may not have to worry too much about getting a set of HDMI or component cables from your A/V deck to the TV. A projector, however, has to sit at the back of the room. Pre-wiring about 20 feet of high-quality HDMI cabling will run you about $100. Thats alot of money if you're never going to use it.
Instead, you can install a cable run by running a 2 inch wide flexible plastic tube from the bottom of the wall behind your A/V deck up through the wall and into the ceiling. The other end of the cable run would terminate in the ceiling at the back of the room. Use plastic clips to fasten each end fo a stud so it stays put. Install a small wall plate at each end to allow access when ready. To deal with 90 degree turns, you wouldn't want to use elbow joints because thats too tight a curve. Instead, bend the piping over a foot or two (a sweep).
To make running the wire within that tube easier down the road, you could take the time now and run a piece of string through the tubing. When the time comes to run your cabling, you would tightly tie the string to the cable connectors and, at the other end, gently pull on the string until the cables pop out.
For even more convenience, you could tie both the cable connectors and a 2nd piece of string. When you pull on your first string, the cables and the replacement string for future use gets sent into the tube. When the cables appear at the other end, just cut off both strings and wrap the replacement string around a thumb tack to hold it in place.
A tube with an internal diameter of 2 inches should be fine for most applications, but you could also use a thicker flexible tube in case you're going to be running multiple types of cable; HDMI and composite, for example.
You can do the same thing for other types of applications, such as satellite TV cabling. This is especially handy if your home theater is on the north side of your house while your dish would have to be mounted facing the south. This is an option you have if you don't want to run the cable around the outside of your house.
Though you can use regular PVC tubing for your cable run, there are a few manufacturers that make specially designed systems for just this purpose. Two such companies are WireTracks and Wire Trak USA.
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