What Are the Different Types of Home Theater Wall Plates?

T. Carrier

Home theater wall plates serve as the base for a home theater system's wiring. They help keep wires functional and sorted. Specific types may be categorized by structure, such as classifying by gang number or outlet design. In addition, these devices may have different connection types, like high definition multimedia interface (HDMI). Material composition may serve as another means of classification. As an example, several different types of metal may be used to create the plates.

A HDMI® cable.
A HDMI® cable.

A media room or home theater seeks to simulate a big-screen movie theater experience in the home. Some common components of media room decor include large-screen television sets and surround-sound, high-quality stereo system. All of the electronic components, like speakers, require a thorough wiring system. Home theater wall plates help maintain this wiring system.

RCA cables, which may be needed to connect to a home theater wall plate.
RCA cables, which may be needed to connect to a home theater wall plate.

General types of wall plates come in a variety of designs. For example, a wall plate that has room for one major connection is known as a single outlet plate, whereas two major connections constitute a duplex outlet plate. Wall plates that have the circular openings needed for audio or video connections are called coax plates. Combination plates may have different outlet designs on one plate, and may therefore be a more prominent representative in home theater wall plates.

In addition, wall plates may have several outlets lined up in rows. Each outlet setup is called a gang, so a home theater wall plate may be further categorized by how many outlets it contains. Wall plates may thus be known as 2-gang, 3-gang, and so forth.

Types of home theater wall plates may also be classified by the connections they support. Certain wall plates support both audio and video wire connections. For example, 5-speaker plates allow multiple speaker wires to be connected to the plate's front and back in order to provide surround sound. HDMI wall plates support high definition digital connections. Other types of wall plates and associated connections range from video graphics array (VGA) cables to Radio Corporation of America (RCA) cables.

Another variation in types of home theater wall plates lies in the composition. Thermoplastic is one preferred material because it is durable, light, and easily maintained. Various colors can also be used for plastic wall plates. Other types of material home theater wall plates include various types of metal like copper, stainless steel, and brass.

Home theater wall plates may either be functional or decorative in nature. Functional varieties must meet compatibility standards, and they are often screwed into the wall, such as binding post wall plates. A wall plate intended primarily for aesthetic purposes, on the other hand, might have blank inserts and intricate designs and be made of materials like stone, wood, or ceramics. Decorative varieties might also be screwless, so that adapters are attached to the wall before the wall plate itself is attached.

A VGA cable, which is used with some home theater devices.
A VGA cable, which is used with some home theater devices.

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