Covering for TV stand doors?
October 26, 2009 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the process of getting an entertainment unit built. Instead of glass, I'm thinking of putting something over the doors that would be dark (to hide the LEDs), allows my remotes to work, and still allows decent airflow. Any suggestions what would work here? Speaker fabric? Screen door mesh? Something else?
posted by Tilon to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
You can get "remote extenders" that re-transmit IR signals from a receiver to inside an opaque cabinet. So then you can just wood or whatever you want. here's an example.
posted by GuyZero at 4:21 PM on October 26, 2009

A remote uses an LED to transmit, so anything dark enough to cover the extremely bright blue LEDs that are in style now is definitely going to interfere with your remote. I would choose a dark material that the LEDs *can* shine through, then cover each LED with a bit of electrical tape, which will be hidden by the dark doors.
posted by pocams at 4:37 PM on October 26, 2009

You can put any thin cloth (allowing for interesting patterns or decorated prints) and see if some signal still gets through. My friend had a scarf-like print design, and I could see the LEDs flashing through every so often.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:38 PM on October 26, 2009

Most (all?) remotes use IR LEDs, which probably transmit at 980nm, so you want a material that blocks visible light and transmits IR. Here is one such plastic. It's black, as you would expect but transmits IR above 800nm. Searching for 'IRT acrylic' will find you a bunch more.
posted by pombe at 4:47 PM on October 26, 2009

I have a stereo by my bed that has a crazy bright display screen which I cover with a folded silk scarf - even through 4 layers of silk, the remote still works. It looks nice, too, so give silk a try.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:18 PM on October 26, 2009

I've seen smoked glass used for this purpose in mass-produced entertainment centers.

You can test if a material will let IR through by pointing a remote at one side, and a cheap digital camera on the other side. Cheap digital cameras don't have IR filters, so the remote LED will appear very bright white when transmitting.
posted by miyabo at 5:41 PM on October 26, 2009

Fabric alone will sag. Fabric could be glued to chicken wire or hardware cloth as a backing for support. If the room is sleek, then use something lowkey; you could probably find a nice remnant at a fabric store, or repurpose a decorative pillow. if your couch came with pillows and you don't use them, there's some fabric. I like the industrial look of hardware cloth, and it can be painted. I put small pieces of black electrical tape over all the leds on my electronics; they can be absurdly bright.
posted by theora55 at 7:22 PM on October 26, 2009

Speaker cloth and similar meshes will not allow adequate ventilation for most equipment cabinets. What you want a set of holes, the bigger the better, situated in the bottom of the cabinet toward the front, and a second set through the back of the cabinet, as close to the top as possible. This will create a convective air current that is directed up through the stack of equipment and then out of the enclosure, where a closed cabinet with opaque cloth over the front allows for almost no air flow at all. Try blowing gently on a piece of speaker cloth while holding your hand up on the other and feel how much breeze actually gets through when you're forcing air at it, then imagine how much will get through if you're relying entirely on convective flow and whatever drafts are happening in the room. Build the cabinet with ventilation in mind and use an IR repeater with the door material of your aesthetic choice.
posted by contraption at 9:43 PM on October 26, 2009

er, holding your hand up on the other side.
posted by contraption at 9:45 PM on October 26, 2009

Most mobile phone cameras respond to IR as well as visible light. So if it looks opaque to you, but you can see through it using your phone camera's viewfinder, it should work with your remote.
posted by flabdablet at 11:57 PM on October 26, 2009

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