The dynamic backlight “Ambilight” is well-known to many technology enthusiasts. The Dutch company Philips introduced it a few years ago and integrated it firmly into its televisions. Today Ambilight can be retrofitted with products from a number of external suppliers. We show you how it works!
What is Ambilight?
There are more accessories for home cinema than TV furniture and fancy keyboards or universal remotes. Ambilight is a Philips-developed screen technology that extends the color of image content beyond the TV screen.
The built-in system allows the LEDs to respond to the displayed image on the screen, dynamically adjusting the colors of the backlight to match the image. The aim is to enlarge and improve the viewer’s field of perception.
Reduce Eye Strain
In addition, eye complaints that occur during watching TV are to be reduced many times over. Ambilight technology does not only have a single concentrated light source, but the light source is evenly distributed. In this way, the eyes are no longer overstrained.
Ambilight adapts to the environment
The innovative technology only works so well because it reacts to its environment. Dynamic is the key word here, because it is not enough just to switch on the lights. There are light sensors at the edge of the screen that detect how much brightness there is in the environment.
The stronger the ambient lighting, the brighter the TV screen becomes. Conversely, the lower the ambient lighting, the darker the screen. This automatic adjustment of brightness makes watching television more pleasant.
Retrofitting Ambilight lighting
Philips has patented Ambilight technology built into their TVs – which is because other manufacturers do not incorporate these dynamic LEDs into their devices. Fortunately, the lighting technology can be imitated with external technology.
External Ambilight sets exist from many manufacturers who offer retrofit lighting systems. External kits have to be retrofitted to the TV. The various Ambilight kits for retrofitting differ from each other, particularly in terms of the effort required to set them up and the price. Here everyone must find the ideal solution for themselves.
To make this easier, we present a few Ambilight sets with which you can retrofit the feature.
Our Ambilight Alternatives
With Philips Hue, the company Signify, which sells its products under the Philips brand name, launched a smart home system with a similar approach. The App Hue Bridge can then be used to control the lamps individually.
This is the official solution for upgrading Ambilight – but it only works if you use a PC or Mac with the Hue Bridge App installed.
How it works
The lamps are placed into lamp sockets, while the Bridge is connected to an outlet and a LAN connection. It is capable of controlling up to 50 individual lamps, with should be enough for the average household. After installing everything, you can switch the lamps on and off individually via app. Voice control works too, as the Hue Bridge can be connected to Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa products.
Update December 2019: Unfortunately, Dreamscreen has seized production! If we find any practical alternatives, we will add them in this article. In the meanwhile, if you have any ideas, why don’t you post about it in our community section?
Another very popular Ambilight-Kit is made by DreamScreen. Here you have the choice between a DIY set or an already assembled product. Furthermore you can choose between a HD or a 4K version for the finished product. In addition, Dreamscreen also offers a so-called “Side Kick Lights“, which helps to shape the light around the entire TV. Dreamscreen offers by far the largest product selection, with varying degrees of effort for the assembly and those are also just in the mid-price segment.
DreamScreen gives you by far the widest selection of products and the ability to customize the Ambilight kit to your needs. In terms of price, we are in the good midfield here.
Simple and good – LED light chain
You don’t need dynamic LEDs that adapt to the TV picture, but just want to add a little flair to your living room? Try a chain of LED lights.
The health benefits are just as good here as with Ambilight: the existing background lighting protects the eyes when watching television and reduces discomfort. With a small investment, atmospheric lighting can also be provided in the room.
The LEDs do not necessarily have to be attached to the TV, but are also suitable as a practical addition to the skirting board. The brightness and light color can be easily controlled via the remote.
How it works
The installation of a light strip is very easy. The strips are placed around the housing of the TV and then connected to the power supply. The supplied remote control can display any light that is displayed as a color on the remote control.
Of course, it is not necessary to attach the chain of lights to the television – this is also a nice and above all inexpensive way to immerse your living room in atmospheric light.
Programmable LED light chain
If you need something a little more sophisticated, there are also controllable LED light chains. Just like the Philips Hue, these can be programmed using an app to generate dynamic light.
Please note that is light chain is not very everybody: The app works fine on PCs and Macs, but on TVs it looks different. Only TVs with Android TV 5.1 or higher can download the paid app to control the light strips. Most Sony TVs can therefore be retrofitted with Ambilight.
How it works
Simply attach the light strips to the back of the TV and plug the included power supply into a wall outlet. The light strip is then connected to the Dream Color Light Box, which in turn is connected to the PC, Mac or Android TV via USB. Programming and control is done by the respective app.
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