Cable Conundrum

wrocki

Novice Member
I’ve seen similar questions on the forum before but they were a few years ago and technology may or may not have moved on.

I’m replacing a TV in a flat which is wall-mounted, and all wiring is inside the wall.

The problem is there is no aerial cable in the wall. Only mains power, HDMI and SCART but both of the latter are now damaged.

The other end of the HDMI and SCART cables come out at skirting level in an alcove about 1.5m below and 2m to one side of the tv end on the wall and right next to a wall plate with live Sat and TV sockets next to a 13A power socket. Although both ends of the cable come out of the wall through a box about 70mm square with brushes around all four sides, between there they seem to be buried in the plaster rather than in conduit since there’s no movement pulling on either end of either cable. Either that or the conduit has too many angles in it to pull through.

The signal for the old TV ran from a Sky box connected by the HDMI lead but the TV end of that is now broken off. The SCART is similarly damaged but at the other end.

The new TV is a Hisense Roku R50A7200GTUK but, unlike the app on my Android smartphone the Freeview Play app installed on the smart TV needs an aerial connection to play live TV from a Freeview EPG.

The flat is used for holiday lets and needs to have straightforward access to the regular terrestrial tv channels preferably from an EPG like the Freeview one.

My understanding from googling is that neither of the old SCART or HDMI cables can be used to carry a tv signal so my options seem to be:
  • Run a 3 or 4m length of white RG6 from the alcove along the floor and up the wall to the tv. It works fine but looks bad now and would need to be secured with cable clips or conduit to be safe which would look even worse.
  • Get the broken end of the HDMI lead repaired and connect a cheap Freeview or the old Sky box to an HDMI input on the Hisense TV renamed to TV and hide the ‘Live TV’ icon on its menu. My understanding is that repairs to HDMI cable are not easy.
  • Get something like a Chromecast or Firestick that can cast output from a Freeview Play app to an HDMI port on the Hisense TV.
  • Buy a different TV that has a native Freeview Play app or other access to live terrestrial tv through an EPG. Do any of the latest Android or LG TVs have that? When I bought the Hisense I didn’t realise there wasn’t an aerial lead in the wall.
  • Chase out a channel in the wall and bury new leads but the flat has only just been redecorated.
What would be the option favoured by AV experts on this forum? Any other suggestions I’ve not thought of? I tried an amplified internal aerial on the wall behind the tv and the signal was too weak.
 

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mikej

Well-known Member
Do you already have an external aerial that you know works well enough for a reliable Freeview reception ? If so, I would just run coax to the new TV as neatly as you can. It'll be the cheapest option available to you and provide a simple solution for renters, with no extra boxes/remotes or reliance on using apps. If the skirting boards are white, you could use white coax and white clips or hide it in trunking if you think that would look neater. Use a good quality, foam-filled satellite-grade coax - not RG6.

Edit - having just seen the extra photos you've since added, there would have been a lot less cable visible if the previous owner had mounted the original TV at a sensible viewing height rather than halfway up the wall ! I can see your issue with aesthetics a little clearer now. Would a vertical section of white micro trunking (located central to the TV) not be OK ? It is a rented house (and not your own house) after all.

As for HDMI cable repairs - I've never known of anyone do that, but a quick Google search reveals products like this (just as an example) do exist if you wanted to try it. I'd imagine you'd need to be pretty confident of being able to identify the correct connections though and reviews of that particular plug suggest that isn't always easy. You'd also need to make sure that one of your new TV's HDMI sockets would accommodate a much larger DIY plug like that. If that cable is as old and cheap as it looks from your photo then I wouldn't bother going down this route, personally. It might not be particularly future-proof either, depending on how long it's been there.
 
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wrocki

Novice Member
Thanks Mike,
yes running some white coax from the wall socket in the alcove along the skirting then up is my option #1 and does work fine except i haven't clipped the cable to the skirting yet because it does look pretty ugly and i wondered if anyone could suggest an alternative even if that involves buying another new TV but i'd rather stop short of digging holes in the wall
 

[email protected]

Well-known Member
Chop the plugs off the SCART and use that cable to try and pull through the RG6. If there's a bit of wiggle room, it's worth a try and you aren't losing anything.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
Thanks Mike,
yes running some white coax from the wall socket in the alcove along the skirting then up is my option #1 and does work fine except i haven't clipped the cable to the skirting yet because it does look pretty ugly and i wondered if anyone could suggest an alternative even if that involves buying another new TV but i'd rather stop short of digging holes in the wall
But is it actually possible to watch the Freeview channels 'live' via their respective apps and/or the Freeview Play interface over an internet connection only anyway ?

I don't know for sure but I would have thought that if you want the ability to watch live Freeview TV with EPG access, then you're going to need an aerial connection, in which case an alternative TV isn't going to solve the problem.

If you do go down the trunking route, then the smallest micro trunking seems to be 12x8mm which might not look too bad along the top of the skirting board. You'd need to check that it would accommodate coax though and both the external and right-angle bends might be an issue, as the good quality, foam-filled coax won't like being bent through too-severe of an angle. I hate to say it, but you might actually be better off with a cheap supermarket-bought 'fly lead' in that respect ! You may get away with this for a relatively short run, provided the signal at the socket is good enough.

D-Line micro trunking is another option that may look more aesthetically pleasing than the conventional square stuff. Just make sure you can get hold of the external and right-angle connectors you'll need.
 

wrocki

Novice Member
Thanks for the replies

Yes @BossC i guess it would be worth a try to properly chop the ends of the HDMI and/or SCART and try and use one of them to pull a coax cable in either direction. Getting a new end on the HDMI seems to be a non-starter in any case and not ideal because I'd still need to connect a box in the alcove. I must say it seems resistant to pulling in either direction at the moment but worth one more try.

@mikej yes I agree some small as possible profiled trunking would look better than bare cable and clips along the top of the skirting. Then it's just the vertical length up to the TV that's going to be annoying and maybe I can find something tall to stand on the middle of the table below the TV to hide most of it!

I have a feeling that's what I'll end up doing because i too am not convinced that any smart TV, even one of the android ones, will have a freeview app that will give you an EPG and access to live TV any more than the Hisense one does. I was wondering if someone on here might have an Android one and know for sure...
 

wrocki

Novice Member
I've just noticed the Wire free TV thread below which suggests 'a wireless hdmi dongle' may at least reinstate what I had before the hdmi cable was damaged.

I didn't even know there was such a thing however a quick google finds this on Amazon which
  • is quite expensive,
  • would mean leaving the old sky box or a new freeview play one in the alcove plugged into the aerial socket and power outlet and
  • some of the recent reviews suggest it's not 4k and may be a bit of a flakey solution.

So not ideal for a rental property.
 

redwoz

Novice Member
Hi, could you not lower the T.V. to the recommended height ? As @mikej says it's way too high (the centre of the screen should be level with your eyes in your seated position for watching the TV). If the wall is only emulsion paint on plaster it would be easy to fill the old holes with fine filler then sand & touch up. Once lowered there won,t be much cable on view.
The fact the old cables won't move will be because the wall has been chased, the cables put in & then plastered over (maybe with some scrim tape). If you can get the old cables to move you can remove the plastic head from a 'new' scart lead, making a note of where the pins go, then attach it to the old cables & pull it through, having said that you might be able to get one HDMI lead through in place of the existing two leads (this last bit is presuming you don't lower the TV).
Hope you get it sorted.
 

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