One of the claims of Philips TVs is its Ambilight technology, a lighting system that illuminates the back of this device, creating an atmosphere that helps enhance the viewing experience offered by the TV. Now alright What are the options for achieving this ambient lighting system?
In this one buying guide, you will find how to get a TV with Ambilight technology or, failing that, with LED lighting systems to create mood lighting behind the television.
The first option is the most obvious: a Philips smart TV, since the Dutch brand’s televisions hold the exclusive patent for this Ambilight technology.
Ambilight offers us a a greater capacity for immersion in cinematographic content thanks to the controlled light in real time emitted by the LED diodes housed in the frame of the TV, more precisely on three sides of the device.
This lighting system projects colored lights similar to the broadcast content thanks to an algorithm that has evolved and refined over time.
The result is that let’s take a better look at the chromatic scalesespecially in low ambient light. As it comes out of the TV and not the exterior lighting, this lighting does not affect the picture.
This technology is present in the mid and high-end Philips models, which we can see in the OLED and LCD proposal of this 2020.
Some notable models compared to the price are last year’s Philips 55OLED754 (1,098 euros), the brand’s simplest OLED with a 55 ”panel and wide compatibility with high dynamic range (HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10 +), with integrated Dolby Atmos, Alexa and Saphi sound as the operating system.
Other options are this year’s Philips 50PUS7855 / 12 (499 euros), with 10-bit 50 “VA panel and OS Saphi or last year, the Philips 50PUS7304 / 12 (520 euros) and the Philips 50PUS7354 (509 euros) Both in the mid-range with 50 ”panels with direct LED backlighting and also with wide HDR compatibility (HDR, HDR10, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision), Dolby Atmos sound and Android as OS .
The second and best option for enjoy the official Ambilight system with any TV It is supplied by Philips through its lighting devices. We’re talking about the recently launched Philips Hue Play gradient light strip, an LED strip to be placed on the back of TVs between 55 and 75 inches (from $ 179) so that it can be used with any TV. Of course, to use it you will also have to buy the bridge (49 euros) and the Hue Sync Box (249 euros).
This LED strip is different from other strips that were already present in the Philips portfolio thanks to the fact that it is specially designed for TV to achieve the immersive experience of Ambilight. How does he do it? He uses his possibility of lighting in different colors (16 million no more no less) individually realization by adapting to the content of the screen.
And is that until now they were available in the form of LED strips (sold by the meter) for exteriors in white and multicolored, but lighting together and not individually, with Philips Hue Lightstrip White and color ambience (121 euros) . As in the previous case, a bridge is necessary.
Philips Hue Play bars placed behind the TV
For simplicity and versatility, the best alternative to the Philips Hue Play gradient light strip (which goes on sale October 6) are the Philips Hue Play (120 euros), elongated light bars that can be placed vertically. or horizontally in the back of the TV and that, with the bridge and the Hue Sync Box, we can synchronize the light with music, movies and video games. Of course, each bar will light up again in a single color.
Like the rest of the Hue family lights, we can also control them with Alexa, Google and Siri voice assistants and from the corresponding app.
This option allows enjoy your own Ambilight with a small project with Raspberry Pi moderately easy, fast and more affordable than the original Philips system.
To achieve this, you need a Raspberry Pi, which will be the brain responsible for performing the action of changing color depending on the content, and a Lightberry pack, available for TVs up to 70 inches diagonal that comes with everything you need. Another option, considering how difficult it is to find this pack today, is to separately purchase an LED strip, an LED converter to connect the lights to the Raspberry, a power supply and some fasteners (which we can purchase separately).
Finally, we will need a distribution of XBMC and an add-on to control the LED strip, among the most popular are Hyperion or Boblight.
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After placing the LED lights on the back of the TV with Velcro (starting from the lower left corner), we will connect the Lightberry cable plus the controller to the Raspberry Pi and install the add-on. Although it can be done from the terminal, it is more user-friendly to opt for distributions such as Raspbmc, Openelec or Raspbian.
Smart RGB LED Strips
The most affordable option and far from the Ambilight experience is the installation of a connected RGB LED strip that allows us to change colors through the mobile phone or voice assistants. The most rudimentary use a simple remote control for this.
Of course, in all cases it is about “manual” and non-automatic color variations depending on the content of the TV. With this noticeable limitation, it is clear that this is a basic approach that can help us experience that feeling of ambient lighting and that in some cases where the colors vary little, for example when watching a football game, they provide an acceptable experience.
The first thing to do is to attach the RGB LED strip to the back of the TV and connect it to the power supply. In the case of a connected model, we will also have to download the application and configure it.
In this range of options, one of the most complete alternatives is the Lifx Z-TV (65.95 euros), available in different lengths and in any case, and this is one of its best assets, offers eight color changes per meter. The pack includes a tape meter + controller + power supply + plug and connects via Wi-Fi
Lifx Z-TV Bulb, White
Garza Smarthome LED Strip
Also with Wi-Fi connectivity, this Garza LED strip (44 euros) is controlled from the mobile, tablet or Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing lighting in different shades of white and RGB with programming patterns. They come three meters and it is IP65 being strictly speaking an outdoor strip
Garza Smarthome-LED Strip WiFi CCT + RGB 24w IP65 of 3 meters Intelligent and programmable, change of intensity + tone + color, control by voice and application, Alexa, iOS, Google, Android, 24 W, white
Xiaomi Yeelight Aurora Lightstrip Plus RGB
The Xiaomi Yeelight Aurora Lightstrip Plus RGB (29 euros) is a connected LED strip 2 meters long to adjust what you want from the app by changing the light and intensity from the app, Google Assistant and Alexa.
Xiaomi Yeelight Lightstrip Plus
RGB Led strip 10m VITCOCO
More affordable and basic, at least in terms of connectivity, this 10-meter LED strip from VITCOCO (24 euros) is controlled from the remote control. It comes with 300 LEDs which we can change in color, brightness, intensity and create patterns, providing a wide range of options.
10m RGB Led Strip, VITCOCO 44 Keys IR Remote Control Strip Lights, 300 5050 LED RGB, for Halloween, Christmas, Ceiling, Wardrobe, Bedroom, Bar Decoration
Govee LED TV strip
With a length of 2 meters sufficient for televisions up to 55 inches, the Govee strip (12 euros) is controlled both from the mobile phone and from the remote control, offering 16 million customizable colors and with the ability to create scenes. Qualitatively it is far from the original Ambilight, but for this price it is a low cost alternative to get closer to the experience.
LED TV Strips, Govee 2M USB LED Strip with APP, 16 Million Colors DIY 5050 SMD, RGB LED TV Lights Backlight with 7 Stage Modes for 40-55in HDTV / PC Monitor 4pcs x 50cm, 5V
Ambilight DIY, mood light for TV
First of all, what is “Ambilight”? Literally, we could translate this Anglicism by “Bright atmosphere”, or “Ambiance light”. This principle was invented by the Philips brand, founded in 1891 in the Netherlands.
In order to stand out from the competition in their television industry, Philips released this innovation in 2007. The goal is to provide visual comfort and a unique cinematic experience.
The television, equipped at the time with CCFL tubes and since then with LEDs, can light up against the wall with the color displayed on the screen, by zones. Thus, the screen is drowned in a diffuse light spot, which allows the human eye to perceive a less great contrast between the TV and its environment, and thus avoids eye fatigue.
First of all, the technologies of the time (and the cost!) Made it possible to equip 2 sides of the TV, then 3, then 4 (still rare).
More than an aesthetic side, it is a real visual comfort and a great immersion in the film / documentary / game / slideshow you are watching.
So NO, this is not a gadget!
Why (and how) to do it yourself?
Already, my TV is not a Philips, and it is out of the question to reform a TV that suits me perfectly, to buy another. “Buy”: there is also this notion of cost. I fully understand that Philips sells this feature well (there were costs for R&D, prototyping, communication and marketing, etc…). But having the abilities and skills to do it myself, then it seems natural to me to turn to this DIY solution. Especially since the result will be at least as good, if not better than what Philips offers, in the sense that for a much lower price, I will be able to benefit from LEDs on all 4 sides, and with a density of diodes. much more consistent. And also: if my TV breaks down, either I replace it with one of the same size (if I can’t fix it of course), or with a bigger one, in which case it will be easy to adapt the system to adding diodes …
It is also important to know several things about the way we consume TV:
- we don’t watch TV, in the strict sense of the term (no TNT or box broadcasts) because we rarely like the programs, and above all: we are never ready for the start of them.
- so we watch what we like in replay, VOD or video platforms of any type, at the time that suits us.
- we therefore have a computer instead of the DVD player, the display of which goes directly to the TV, and the sound to the HiFi system. In front of the TV is a wireless keyboard and mouse. Thus, the sound and visual quality are optimal, and Ambilight makes perfect sense.