Cable Management Made Easy

Regardless of how well organized people’s homes might seem, if you peek behind their TVs you’re likely to find a mess of cables, mismatched wires and overloaded power strips. If this describes your own situation, it’s time to take charge. Here are a few practical solutions to help you tame the tangle.

Think visually

The quickest way to manage your cables is to assign each cord a specific color based on its use. Although there is no official standardized code for identifying interconnects, most industry professionals rely on the following system: white for left channel audio, red for right channel audio and yellow for composite video. For component video, the signal designation is green, blue and red. But with the flexible Cable IDs available at The Container Store, you’ll have eight colors to pick from, giving you the freedom to organize your cables in whatever system you prefer. Best of all, you can use dry-erase markers to label each one accordingly.

Measure up

Chances are, you wouldn’t use a 100-foot garden hose to water a single houseplant, so why use an 8-foot cable to connect devices that are a mere 8 inches apart? Beyond adding to the unsightly mess, needlessly long cables run the risk of signal deterioration, which can lead to a dramatic loss in audio and image quality. So exchange lengthy cords for properly sized ones, based on your own needs.

Ohio-based AV accessory company TechStar manufactures an impressive number of hard-to-find lengths, offering greater adaptability than most big brands provide. With more than 13 incremental lengths to choose from, you’ll have no trouble selecting the right-size cable for the right job.

Ties that bind

If your AV cords are in a confusing disarray, using cable ties and Velcro wraps can swiftly declutter any situation. Sometimes referred to as zip ties or bundlers, cable ties come in many styles and types, each with the same general purpose: to streamline your cables so they run in a secured direction.

Easy-to-use nylon ties are available in a variety of thicknesses and colors, so you can visually coordinate separate paths depending on your needs. Velcro wraps make unexpected adjustments simple, while clips, clamps and fasteners offer creative solutions to virtually every problem. Finally, to protect your cords from nature’s harsh elements (or from your dog’s teeth), you can form-fit neoprene sleeves around cables to provide safe and convenient coverage.

Go wireless

The surest way to manage a problem is to eliminate it altogether, which is why DISH’s Wireless Joey receiver is the quickest way to remove the jumble of cables tucked behind your entertainment center. By syncing the Wireless Joey with DISH’s Hopper 3 DVR, you’ll instantly enjoy wireless TV programming on different sets anywhere in your home. Whether you prefer watching movies in the living room, sports on the backyard deck, or rolling a portable set from room to room, you’ll stay wirelessly connected to all your favorite shows, no strings attached.

A helpful trim

How many times has this happened to you? You’re stuck with a massive length of thick coaxial cable instead of the 3-foot amount you actually need. Rather than coiling it like a python and hoping that no one will notice, take matters into your own hands and trim the excess using a professional-grade Coax Installation Kit, available at Home Depot. Perfect for ambitious DIY-ers, this four-piece set features a multi-cable cutter, a coaxial trimmer and a compression crimper that makes attaching the 10 F-connectors included with the kit fast and easy. Just don’t be surprised if your friends and family ask you to trim their cable next.