Last Friday I finally realized one of my biggest home project dreams: having all of my wires and TV components completely hidden behind a cabinet. For years I’d been getting closer and closer to having better cord management systems, but I always stopped short of having all the wires completely hidden from view. In my last apartment I had a fauxdenza that housed my TV, but all the components (cable box, Apple TV, etc.) were inside, so I had to leave the cabinet door open any time I wanted to watch tv or change a channel. I realize that in the grand scheme of life this is not a real problem, but it was one that always bugged me and made me feel embarrassed. I was never embarrassed of my TV (Daniel summed up my feelings about TV perfectly), but I hated having something that looked nice but wasn’t actually functional. Enter: the IR Repeater.
Julia remembered that her parents had some sort of system installed that allowed them to control their TV and music (with a remote) through a close cabinet door. I did some googling and discovered that there were several systems, called IR Repeater Kits, that looked fairly easy to install and would allow me to finally tackle my cord hoarding situation. I ordered this one online ($49.99) that allows you to control up to 8 devices while their hidden behind a cabinet or wall (up to 6 feet away, depending on the brand you use).
Outside of the whole fauxdenza movement (which I still can’t quit), this system is the most exciting- and functional- change to come to my house in ages. All of our cords are now inside the cabinet and we just aim our remotes at a tiny “eye” that sits on top or below the TV. I know I don’t normally talk about tech products here, but this one is just too wonderful not to share. Here are some details to know and consider before installing:
- The issue I ran into was locating the IR sensors/eyes in each device. These are the infrared dots inside your cable boxes, etc. that interact with the remote. You may have to fiddle around with the placement of each sensor until you find the right spot (the flashlight trick didn’t work for me).
- The new IR eye that goes on top of your TV still has a cord attached to it. We drilled a hole into the credenza behind the TV so we could pull the wire into the credenza and make it “disappear” as much as possible.
- To keep things extra neat, try using a paddle bit to make a hole in the bottom of your credenza so you can drag an extension cord into the cabinet and hide all the plugs inside.
- To give all your components enough breathing room, try mounting your router or other small boxes to the wall/back of the cabinet. We did this to give our cable box more room.