If you are building a multi-console games room then one of the problems you are likely to encounter is cable clutter. There’s no getting away from the fact that running so many games consoles is going to necessitate an awful lot of cabling. To mitigate this situation, it is a good idea to route as much of the cabling through trunking, under your rack/unit or just generally anywhere where it’s out of sight and out of the way. One way to help with this is to use wall plates. Wall plates provide a connection so that cables can be routed through cavity walls, under furniture or through trunking, meaning cables that were cluttering up your setup or, even worse, the floor, can now be safely hidden out of harms way.
It is possible to get wall plates to accommodate SCART, Component, VGA, HDMI, S-Video and analogue audio. This covers most of the kinds of connector you will need when setting up your games room. Some wall plates require the internal connector to be soldered, though if you don’t fancy doing this there are quick connect plates available too. The picture above shows one of the quick connect SCART plates available from Nexxia. As usual, SCART plates are easily available in Europe, but are somewhat more uncommon in the USA. The quick connect plates allow you to plug a cable in the front and then simply plug a cable in the back too, basically acting like a cable extension/coupler device.
If you’re planning on mounting the plates into furniture, keep in mind that you will need a relatively deep back box. SCART connectors in particular are pretty bulky, so you will need to hacksaw away part of the back box in order to get your cable into the fitting. I house my consoles in a custom built rack with slide out shelves. To fit the wall plates, 45mm deep dry lining / plaster board boxes were used. The picture below shows the plates fitted into my unit:-
Here’s a close-up of a component video plate and an analogue audio one. The plates here were from the UK based Keene Electronics. It may be possible to get these two plates combined into one from some retailers.
Notes on usage
Really there’s very little to say about using the wall plates. The quick connect versions are as simple as can be. Remember that the longer the cable run is, the more likely you are to encounter problems and/or signal loss. Use only high quality cables throughout. Interestingly, the SCART wall plates do seem to affect the signal. SCART has always been relatively difficult to work with and when connecting certain consoles through the SCART wall plates there was a degradation in the picture or a loss of the picture entirely. To mitigate this, always use a powered switch with a signal booster at the end of the cable run. In this setup there was absolutely no difference between using the wall plate and connecting the cables directly, even with close scrutiny of the picture.
The wall plates from Keene and Nexxia make for an elegant, professional way to reduce cable clutter. They can be combined with other cable management solutions (e.g cable trunking) and are easy to install. If used correctly they do not degrade picture quality either. Definitely worth considering when planning your games room/gaming setup.