AV Education on RHT
Installing LCD TVs Everywhere
Written by Bryan Dailey
Why is it that the best ideas always come in the bathroom? From the first moment I laid my eyes on a small wall-mounted LCD TV on the wall above the urinals at a high-end golf course in Las Vegas several years ago, I knew that someday my dream home was destined to have TVs like this in the bathrooms, too. When I first dreamed up this idea, even the smallest of LCD TVs were well over $1,000 and the picture quality was marginal at best. As prices have fallen and the quality of the picture of most LCD panel TVs has gone up, the idea of having several rooms with wall-mounted TVs began to creep into my mind as well.
Having moved into a new town home a few months back, I decided I would have things pre-wired for my harebrained scheme should I decide to actually go through with putting a TV in every bathroom and one in the kitchen. As the prewire was happening, it became quickly apparent that I would not only need the AV wires including coax as well as any other connections such as S-video and RCA connectors wired back to a location where I had source components, such as a DVD player and satellite receiver, but I also needed power. I had extra outlets installed at all of the points on the wall in my home where I would be putting LCDs.
For the first few months after the construction was completed, I simply took pieces of artwork and covered the outlet boxes that framed the holes that had been cut for the wire. I then took plastic safety caps that are used for keeping little childrens fingers out of electrical sockets and covered up the unused outlets and then put artwork over the unsightly covers on the wall. It would be most unwise to cover an exposed outlet with artwork that has any kind of flammable backing, so use utmost care and consult a professional electrician for any matters involving electrical outlets. For this installation, I had the help of the local audio/video sales and installation company Audio Concepts based in Long Beach, California.
Since my project was new construction, I was sort of at the mercy of the subcontractors who were building the home. The location of items, such as the towel bar in my guest bathroom and the medicine cabinet in the master bathroom, was already predetermined. In the master bathroom, the space between the closet door and the medicine cabinet was just wide enough for a 15-inch LCD display to be mounted. In the guest bathroom, the wall space allowed for as much as a 17 or 20-inch LCD, but the size of the bathroom is such that a 13 or 15-inch display would be a better fit and not dominate the room. While it seemed like a simple process to throw up the wire and outlet during the prewire, much to my chagrin, when I toured the home during the walkthrough at the end, the towel bar had been mounted in such a way that the LCD would have to be mounted about a foot too far to the left. In my mind, I had wanted to have the TV in perfect alignment with the towel bar but the way that the studs in the wall lined up, this was simply not meant to be.
There are two simple solutions to this problem, with one being easier then the other. The easiest, but not the most attractive solution, would be to remove the towel bar and patch and paint the holes that were left behind, then remount the towel bar to the wall in a perfect alignment with where the TV was mounted. This will work aesthetically, but the chances of the towel bar being attached where the studs in the wall are placed are essentially zero, so you would need to use very strong drywall anchors. Otherwise, a strong tug on the towel bar will pull it right out of the wall.
The other and more attractive solution to the problem would be to remove a large section of drywall, move the outlet and connection wires over to a stud that is closer to the center of the towel bar, then put a large two-foot by six-foot block running between the studs, so the TV mount can be drilled and mounted anywhere on it, rather than be forced to have to mount it on a stud that wont necessarily be in the center of the towel bar. All this being said, I currently have one TV that is slightly out of alignment with the towel bar and I have to decide for myself which option I want to go with for correcting the situation.