How to build a motorized Slide-out TV

DIY Motorized Slide-Out TV: Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Own Hidden Entertainment System

Drawing of a typical Cabinet showing how a sliding TV system should work.

Introduction: A motorized slide-out TV is the perfect addition to any modern living space, providing a sleek and convenient way to enjoy your favorite entertainment without sacrificing aesthetics or room functionality. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of building your hidden entertainment system using an electric linear actuator and heavy-duty drawer slides.

Different ways to build a slide-out TV

There are a number of different ways to build a slide-out TV mechanism. In this post we will focus on just one method, but as you can see from the video below there are others too. 

Materials and Tools Needed:

  1. Electric linear actuator - We recomend something quiet with a long stroke to match the width of the TV with a little extra to spare. These two Actuators below both have stroke options of up to 60" max. this should be enough for a 70" TV.  For something larger you would need to amplify the stroke using a lever type connection method  Long stroke Linear Actuator or  Long Stroke Track Actuator
  2.  Heavy-duty drawer slides - These are what connect the TV to the cabinet and make everything slide effortlessly. It's important to order Slides that have the same or longer stroke than the Linear Actuator you use. Our Heavy duty drawer slides can go up to 60" in extension.
  3. OPTIONAL Bearing slides. If you need a longer stroke than 60" OR, if you prefer to use a Heavy duty Linear Bearing slide system instead of linear drawer slides then these are for you. With a max length of 84" they can also hold about 750lbs of weight.   
  4. Plywood or MDF board - This is to connect to the back of the TV mounting bracket to the Slide rails and also the moving part of the Actuator.
  5. TV Mounting bracket.  - These TV mounting brackets are universal, they connect to any tv size. 
  6. 2-channel Remote control. - Assuming you want the Slide out TV to be remotely operated. 
  7. Power supply - to power the Actuator and remote control

Step 1: Measure and Plan

First, measure the dimensions of your TV, including the depth, width, and height. Add a few inches to each dimension to account for the frame and any additional clearance. Sketch out a plan for your slide-out system, including the location and dimensions of the platform that will hold the TV and the tracks that will be used to slide it in and out.

Important notes:

  • The width of the TV is the most important dimension. The Stroke of the actuator needs to match and possibly be a little longer than the width of the TV so that when it extends the tv is fully clear of the cabinet it popped out of. Also note, the total length of the Actuator is going to be longer than the width of the TV, THEREFORE it is important to make the cabinet wider than the TV and the length of the actuator. 
  • The stroke of the Lilnear Actuator needs to match the with of the TV. The actuator stroke is the part that slides in and out, that length is how far it slides in and out. 
  • The Slide rails also need to match or be longer than the stroke of the actuator. If the rails are too short the Actuator will want to try and keep pushing and will eventually break something if its not allowed to move its full extension.   The only way to solve the problem of limiting the Actuator stroke is to use an external limit switch in the slide out tv mechanism, to stop the actuator from extending its full stroke.  You can view our external limit switch kit here. This is an easy way to automatically have the Actuator and the TV stop at a certain spot if desired. The product page will explain how to connect this kit to your system.

Drawing of a Cabinet showing how a sliding TV system all connects. 

Drawing of a Cabinet showing how a sliding TV system should work.


Drawing of a Cabinet showing a sliding TV system in its closed position

Drawing of a Cabinet showing a sliding TV system in its closed position

Step 2: Construct the TV connecting plate

Using the measurements from step 1, cut pieces of plywood or MDF to create a connecting plate for your TV. The connecting plate is screwed onto the extending arms of the 2 drawer slides, it is also where the end of the Actuator arm gets connected. 

Step 3: Install the Drawer Slides

Attach the heavy-duty drawer slides to the back of the cabinet. inside of the TV frame, aligning them with the planned location of the slide-out platform. Ensure the slides are level and securely fastened with screws. Test the slides to make sure they move smoothly and can support the weight of your TV.

Step 5: Attach the Electric Linear Actuator

The Actuator needs to be fully extended first, and the slide-out also needs to be fully extended. The end of the sliding rod from the Actuator should be connected to the far end of the MDF connecting plate. This is what will do the pushing and pulling.   In an ideal world, we would want to connect this in between the two linear bearing drawer slides, so that you get an even pushing and pulling force ever time. However, it's can be a little of a space constraint to locate the actuator in this position, hence why we created the drawings above to show it connected below for clarity. In reality, it can connect at the top, middle or bottom. 

The fixed end of the actuator gets connected to the back of the cabinet.   Also note in the drawing we added some 2x4s of wood. This is to create space for the actuator inside the cabinet. 

Step 6: Wire and Test the System

Follow the wiring diagrams, using our wiring diagram generator, depending on what you are connecting. You may just want to use a remote control, but you may also want to use a switch as a back up too. The choice is yours.

Alternative Actuator connection for a Slide-out TV

Motorized slide out tv mechanism

It is possible use a Track actuator to slide the TV in and out. A track actuator is different from a regular Actuator in that it has a carriage that slides in and out, instead of a rod that slides in and out.  These actuators are very different from each other and it is really a personal preference for which you decide to use. 

Conclusion: Congratulations! You have successfully built your own motorized slide-out TV using an electric linear actuator and heavy-duty drawer slides. Enjoy the convenience and sleek appearance of your hidden entertainment system, impressing friends and family with your DIY skills. If you would like to send us your pictures and videos, we will gladly show them on our website. 

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