Friday, May 18, 2007

Organizing Cables

Last weekend we decided to fix some audio-visual problems--a few months ago the power to our surround sound and the subwoofer died. We've been listening to TV and movies through the speakers on the TV. Blechh! We're not audio freaks but had gotten used to our pretty decent surround sound setup.

One of the biggest challenges in this project that took all weekend, was keeping the cables in back neat. We introduced a new component into the mix, a receiver, that would be a central hub for the Media Center PC, satellite box, Xbox 360 and Wii. This is not very many components.

We systematically hooked everything up, grouping related cables together and coiling them so they didn't touch the floor, for vacuuming purposes, and to make sure you couldn't see the cables underneath the entertainment center. And yet, it still looked like this:
I've thought for a while that it might actually be impossible to make something like this look neat. If all cables were going from one general area to another general area, it could be neat. But this is never the case unless you're in some server room where things are daisy-chained together.

One improvement over previous similar projects included the use of little girls' hair beads, the figure-8 shaped rubberbands with two beads on them. These are perfect for holding coiled cables, better than twist-ties or unmodifiable rip-ties or expensive Velcro ties. I must give credit for this idea to Geralin Thomas, a colleague.

I guess I'm just glad that I rarely have to really see the back. The front looks like this:There are decorative trays on both sides of the center speaker to hold remotes and game controllers. The very few components are at the bottom. DVDs and games are in the chest on the left. Subwoofer's under the table on the right. And the umbrella at the top hides our HD antenna. We can close the doors to hide it all when people come over, since we don't tie our self-worth to the quantity of technology and media we can show off (heh, heh, we tie our self-worth to how well we can hide our technology and media).


Geralin Thomas said...

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for the link. Glad you like the tip about *hair marbles*

Your readers might also want to try a this tip; I've been doing this for clients who position the backs of their computers to a doorway (visual: spaghetti-like wires dripping off a desk are the view as you enter.)

Use a chandelier cord cover to bunch all the wires together. The covers come in a variety of colors and fabrics.

Chandelier covers are scrunchie, tube-like fabrics that cover the chain on lighting fixtures.


Anonymous said...

I use these great mini cord organizers I found at a home show in my town. They also make large units for extension cord cables. Works great & I don't have to fight with the tangled mess anymore!

Kerry Crocker said...

I've seen these before and they look like they'd work OK but they are exorbitantly priced. I would have had to spend over $150 just to do the entertainment center project.

I spent about $1.99 on the hair marbles. If it were cables that we had to access more frequently, it would warrant spending more.