While TVs continue to get thinner and more beautiful and soundbars are making surround sound more discreet, the components we connect to them—our cable boxes, Blu-ray players, game consoles—have largely remained dull black or silver boxes. And there are still all those ugly wires to manage.
There are easy solutions, and they don't involve hiring a home theater installer, drilling into your walls or any other costly or messy steps. If you're simply looking for a way to operate your components while they're behind the closed doors of your media cabinet, an inexpensive IR blaster will relay your remote's commands while your gear stays out of sight.
IR Blaster Only
Just looking for a way to operate your components while they’re behind closed doors? You can get an external remote sensor like the Sewell InjectIR. It plugs into the HDMI cable on your TV and sends commands from your remote back to your components.
Price: $54.95 on SewellDirect.com or Amazon
If you already have everything hooked up, Sewell has a discreet battery powered IR repeater, called Ghost IR, that you can easily retrofit into a cabinet. Stick the blaster on the inside of the cabinet in line with your components. Then run the flat wire out of the cabinet and stick the receiver on the outside. It's as simple as that. The battery will last for 18-24 months and is easily replaceable.
Price: $38.95 on Amazon
Multiple Components and/or Multiple TVs
The IOGEAR Wireless 5x2 Matrix video has five inputs—one component (red, green, blue and stereo audio) and four HDMI-—making it the best option for streaming content from old DVD players and other older HD components you may own. You can hook up components via an HDMI cable to a TV in one room and stream to a wireless HDMI receiver in another room. And, you'll get Full HD 1080p resolution. The transmitter has a range of up to 100 feet.
Price: $399.95 on IOGEAR.com, $285.99 on Amazon
If you have components that you want to stream to more than one TV (so you can use one cable box for both the living room and bedroom), the IOGEAR Wireless 5x2 Matrix Pro will do the trick. Like the non-Pro version, this transmitter has five inputs, but with the ability to work with up to four wireless receivers. Plus, it has a greater range: it's capable of sending a Full HD 1080p to receivers up to 200 feet away.
Price: $699.95 on IOGEAR.com or $519.91 on Amazon, additional receivers are $249.95 on IOGEAR.com or $179.95 on Amazon
One Source, One TV
If you have one component you connect with an HDMI cable and want to stream it to more than one TV (so you can use one cable box for both the living room and bedroom), the ActionTec My Wireless TV 2 is the most economical choice.
Price: $176.71 for a pair
[couple watching TV via Shutterstock]