How it works ?
The Lightpack is composed ofabout thirty leds distributed in groups of three leds. The leds of the same group of 3 are not independent: they will display the same color at an instant T. Finally, we find the power supply and the led controller which will be the link between the computer and your 10 groups of 3 LEDs.
What you should know about the Lightpack is that unlike the Ambilight which is integrated into the TV, the Lightpack does not work without a computer. It will turn on the leds on your TV / screen depending on what your computer will display there. There are solutions to be able to use the Lightpack on any HDMI source but be aware that you will not be able to do without your computer because it is he who takes care of the image analysis.
On the processing side, the role of your computer is therefore critical.” analyze in real time the edges of the image in 10 zones which represent your 10 groups of LEDs. Basically, the computer calculates the average color in each of these areas before sending the result to the led controller which will take care of the ignition.
So much for the theory. Now let’s get down to practice and installation.
A quick parenthesis before starting:
By abuse of language, I will call here the product of which I speak the Lightpack when it is actually an imitation in my case. As you will see below, the lightpack looks less like a DIY thing than mine. When I invested in this project I was still a poor student and at that time between the Lightpack at 150 € and a Chinese copy at 50 € I had to make the choice that suited my wallet. I’m not pushing anyone to buy a copy. If you can afford the original, you won’t be disappointed. The overall quality of the original product is really way above it. For example, I had to extend the cables with a soldering iron because they were too short to reach the edges of my screen. Lately I had to change the food because it was hissing. Finally, it seems to me that I am not using the original USB cable otherwise my screen would have to be placed on my tower (30cm of cable is short). It would all have been different with the real lightpack. Note on the other hand that the lighting result remains very good even at this price (as you can judge) and that the installation and use of the software are identical to those of the Lightpack.
What’s in a Lightpack
This is what the Lightpack out-of-the-box:
The composition of the Lightpack
So you notice three important components:
There are also some accessories to facilitate the passage of cables as well as a USB cable to connect everything to your computer.
Finally, the back of each led bar is equipped with a powerful, double-sided, 3M tape for installation on your screen.
Lightpack: installation on the screen
The installation is particularly easy. Just install the leds on the edges where you want them. Think about it before you tape them. There are quite a few different configurations. For example if your screen is hung on a wall, you will put as many LEDs on the top and on the bottom. Whereas, if it is placed on a surface, you will put few LEDs at the bottom and more at the top because the visibility under your screen will be limited.
A support that allows you to move the LEDs: the velcro
With experience, I have noticed that the double-sided tape solution is really not suitable. The leds should not move and if you made a mistake you are good to add tape and have fun cleaning the dry glue.
Velcro tape around the edges of the screen
If you want to test different configurations or, as I have already explained, if you move your TV, your configuration may no longer be suitable. It is therefore likely that one day you will want to try or change the placement of the LEDs. This is why, in my case, I installed velcro strips all around my screen as well as on the led bars. Result, I am free to move my leds as I see fit and to change my configuration if necessary. Finally if I move my screen I can quickly remove the entire system.
Sounds silly, but trust me, it’s not just an improvement, it has helped me a number of times.
Install the controller
Placing the controller in the center of the TV
If you have a real Lightpack, you can very well put the controller in your TV cabinet because the controller is in a box. In my case it is a bare card and therefore it is not really a viable solution. In any case, the best solution is still tohang your controller directly on your TV. Indeed, your controller has no reason to be moved anyway and it is relatively light. It should be placed as close to the center of the TV as possible to ensure that the distance between the controller and the edges of your screen is not too great.
For once, I did not put Velcro, I directly taped my controller with double sided tape on the back of my TV. It is light and should not come loose: in two years, it has never moved.
If you took my advice you should have velcro on your leds so you can easily place them anywhere you want and test any layouts you want.
Here are three of the most common investments (but there are others):
Placement of leds for a TV on a piece of furniture
Second placement of leds for a TV on a piece of furniture
Placement of leds for a TV hanging on a wall
These three cases are the most common placements for 10 catch areas. If you feel that your screen is too large for the number of zones, you can install a second LightPack on the same TV and link them to your PC. The software is able to manage two Lightpacks at the same time.
Overall, up to 45 ″ a single pack should be enough for you. In the case of a larger screen, I strongly advise you to have at least 2 packs because the surface to be covered explodes. Regarding the placement, I advise you to stay on one of the three previous diagrams and to content yourself with multiplying the number of leds per side by the number of Ligthpack.
Prismatik and Ambibox: the software installation of the LightPack
There you have it, your pack is installed on your TV and you just have one thing left: turn on your PC and light up your living room.
Before that, unfortunately, you will have to install software to capture the video and send the information to the LED controller, but don’t worry, it’s a very fast operation. There are mainly two soft for the Ligthpack (and other competing packs): Ambibox and Prismatik.
Ambibox: The solution for Windows
Although Prismatik either the official software recommended and in addition compatible with Windows, I advise you Ambibox. I have a strong preference for this one, I tested both and very quickly migrated to Ambibox who is for me more complete in terms of options while offering better performance.
You will first need to download Ambibox here, install it and launch it.
If the software is not in English, this is where you will need to go to change the language:
Choose the language in Ambibox
Now that the software is in English, you will be able to follow my instructions (because the black arrows all pixelated are fine for 2 minutes).
Turn on your leds
We will therefore go to the “Intelligent backlight display” part below “Program settings” and this is what the page should look like:
You can start by leaving “Use backlight” unchecked and then choose the same options as me for “Mode”, “The method of screen capture” and “Device”.
There you go, now you can tick ” Use backlight “And your leds should light up by magic.
Configure the placement of capture areas
Do you remember my little diagrams on the placement of the leds? Now is the time to tell Ambibox which one we used. To do this, you just have to click on ” Show areas of capture »Which will display the catch zones. From there, all you have to do is select a capture zone by clicking on it (which will light the corresponding leds), place it where the leds are actually located corresponding values and resize the capture area.
Here is for example the placement on my machine:
Placement of Ambibox capture areas
You will notice that I opted for the first diagram that I proposed to you above.
Last adjustments: colors
Here, your leds should light up and in addition to that in the right place. All that remains is to fine-tune all this to calibrate the colors a bit and modify a few small options.
Still in “Intelligent backlight display”, let’s see what is happening now in the second tab after “Profiles”, namely ” Additional configuring of zones“.
color configuration on Ambibox
The first thing to do here is to check the option “for all zones” which will apply the parameters to all the capture zones. Then you can modify the values in “Color correction”. You will notice that I have reduced the blue a lot and the green slightly, this allows me to have a more natural color but it depends a lot on the vision of each one and the leds used. It might be different in your case. It’s up to you to adapt and refine over time.
In the right part, it is important to have “Minimum Light” at zero. This turns off the LEDs when the captured areas are very dark. It avoids having LEDs constantly on in dark and stressful scenes such as anxiety / horror.
Finally, it is good to have a little bit of smoothing (in my case I left the default). This defines the fluidity with which the LEDs will change color. Instead of instantly changing color between two images, the LEDs will gradually change the color for a few milliseconds. It avoids intense flashes of light in a fast-paced scene.
There you have it, you should now have a working ambilight-like. Enjoy 😉
Prismatik: The versatile solution for all OS
For those who do not use Windows, the software Prismatik lets do the same asAmbibox. This is also the official software recommended by Lightpack.
The options are very similar to those of Ambibox so I will just, as an explanation, show you these two screenshots of my settings:
You still have things to see and do with your Lightpack that I am not explaining here, but you should have a working system.
Note that Ambibox and Prismatik have plugins to perform more actions: XBMC / Kodi plugin, plugin to turn on the leds according to the music you are listening to, plugin to operate the Lightpack with full screen applications (video games ) and even more.