A flat panel TV above your fireplace is very cool until you try and hide the cables.  The fireplace prevents running the cables straight down the wall and the stud framing prevents running the cables laterally inside the wall.  If your fireplace is on an interior wall, you may be able to go up the wall, however, that doesn't work on exterior walls.  The top plate of the wall blocks access to the attic and the roof prevents drilling down from above.

The typical solution is to cut access holes in the walls and run the cables.  In our older home, the walls are wood paneling which has been covered in heavy wallpaper and painted.  Not an easy thing to repair without obvious blemishes remaining.  A second option is to use the mantel to hide the cables and that is the option I chose.  To my amazement, this worked very well.

This instructable will show you how to use a board, a hinge and a magnet to run cables down to the floor (left of fireplace).  I also discuss alternatives to accomplish the same thing without using a hinge.  Hopefully, this will provide you with some good ideas for your home.

FYI.  I love this new 50" Panasonic plasma smart tv.  Under $1000 and the picture is fantastic!  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00752VKW8/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

Step 1: How this works

This picture shows how the cables are hidden in the mantel piece.  The hinge on the old barn wood opens a door for access to the cables.  The cracked and worn nature of the wood makes the door virtually invisible as it appears to be a split in the wood.  There are other ways to accomplish the same effect without using a hinge and I'll discuss those options as we go along.  

Before you decide to install a TV above your fireplace, it is advisable to place a thermometer above the mantel and make a fire.  Monitor the temperature over an hour or so and make sure it does not exceed 90°F.  If the temperature remains below 90°F, it is safe to mount a TV above your fireplace.  It is also advisable to check your local codes for running cables.

You will also need to use a stud finder and mark the location of the wall studs.  The wall stud locations will determine where you will make the wall holes for access.  This is especially true for the hole near the edge of the fireplace as this is a common place for a single or double stud.  In my case, there were 2 studs to the left of the fireplace which I had to drill through but that wasn't really a problem.  
<p>Did you have any problem mounting your TV above the fireplace? Did you hit hardyboard or anything like that?</p>
<p>No it was paneling over studs. Mounting TV was straightforward </p>
<p>Thanks!!! you article is very useful but I have a question in my mind can I also use the &quot;<a href="http://www.sfcable.com/1018-SF-55.html" rel="nofollow">recessed media box</a>&quot; near the fire places to hide all the cables ?? as I thinks that the hole and the cables doesn't look good in your living room. Please advice me regarding this!!!</p>
<p>I think that would work great. It would look better than my holes;)</p>
<p>Thanks for sharing the use of magnets to guide the string behind the wall. This will come in handy for some projects we have planned.</p>
Many people install tvs like this, but you'll get a stiff neck with it that high. It's generally accepted that a tv should be close to eye level of your normal viewing position, (typically sitting on the couch). My 42&quot; tv is on a pivoting wall mount(so I can reach the ports) and is centered at about waist level. I built a wooden coffee table sized cabinet that fits under it with 6 shelves for all the AV components.
Snaking an appliance AC line cord through a wall cavity is a violation of the National Electric Code. See NEC article 400-7, uses not permitted for flexible cable. You can snake the low power wiring but you need to install an AC receptacle behind the TV. There are low profile specialty boxes made for this purpose. Probably not going to burn the house down but it is an unrated, probably Chinese made, cable run behind a fireplace - just saying...
Thanks for the heads up. I thought that was pretty shaky myself but wanted to get the TV up. Super Bowl deadline. Exactly why I left that extra pull string.
I REALLY like the idea of using strong magnets to guide strings through walls. I have always used a duct tape on a coat hanger wire for short wire rune, but this could be useful in tricky and unusual situations. I second the importance of leaving at least one additional string in the wall along with the wires you install since you will invariably need to install other ones in the future. I have been able to use only ONE string when pulling multiple wires since I always make sure that the string is at least twice the length needed on the &quot;non-pulling&quot; end. I pull that string through and then attach the wire to be pulled mid-way along that extra long string. Once the wire pulled through and then disconnected from the string, the string can then be pulled back through the first hole to allow for other wires to be pulled through the same way. When you are finished with your wire pulling, leave the &quot;extra long&quot; string in place for future use.
That's an excellent technique. Thanks!

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