Instructables
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
 
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Thanks!!! you article is very useful but I have a question in my mind can I also use the "recessed media box" 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!!!

kentdvm (author)  davidjohnson877 months ago

I think that would work great. It would look better than my holes;)

mr_marte8 months ago

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.

sharpstick1 year ago
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" 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.
bfarm1 year ago
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...
kentdvm (author)  bfarm1 year ago
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 "non-pulling" 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 "extra long" string in place for future use.
kentdvm (author)  ckoehler19041 year ago
That's an excellent technique. Thanks!