Bias lighting is a great way to not only make using the computer or watching TV more comfortable, but also to add some ambiance and style to your home office or living room. Here are some examples of traditional, smart and adaptive side lights for your home that are worth checking out.
What is Bias Lighting?
Ever heard of bias lighting? There’s no time like the present to learn lighting styles that prevent eye strain. Check out our guide to bias lighting for an in-depth look at the topic, including tips on lighting placement and color temperature.
In short, ambient lighting is essentially a relatively dim light source placed behind a computer monitor, television screen, or even around a projection screen in a home theater, which introduces a small amount of indirect light into the environment. without shining directly into the viewer’s eye.
This small amount of light helps your eyes work better and with less strain, increasing your comfort and creating better contrast on the screen. When you get into the motivational bias lights, you’ll even find neat features like adaptive lighting that syncs with on-screen content for a real wow factor.
Traditional Bias Lighting: Simple White for Simple Comfort
The most basic form of bias lighting is simply some kind of white light placed behind the screen, preferably at an illumination temperature of 6500K. If your TV sits at an angle in the corner, this light can be as simple as a 6500k LED bulb shining on the wall, but a more traditional placement along the wall will require something more subtle, such as an LED strip.
Adding some LED backlighting to your computer monitor or TV is cheaper than ever, thanks to the ever-decreasing cost of LEDs. We warn you against going too cheap, but you still want to ensure the LEDs have good quality control and accurate color temperature.
Many people opt for a simple LED strip like this Hamlite model. It has a 6500k color temperature, custom white LEDs and is USB powered.
The more advanced options we’ll look at require always-on power, so if you don’t want to fiddle with switches or remotes and just want the lights to turn on when the TV is turned on, use the USB port. the back of the TV (or on your computer) is a clever way to associate the power state of the lights with the power state of the screen.
You can’t go wrong with a bare white LED strip or white LED bulb to get all the functional benefits of unusual lighting without any of the fuss and frills. However, there are some advantages to moving to smart home integrated bias lighting and even adaptive side lighting.
Smart Bias Lighting: Hey Google, It’s Game Time
While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the most basic option, mixing lights with smart home integration offers some advantages.
If you have the room for watching movies, playing games, or any integration related to similar activities, you can add smart side lighting to the mix to turn on just in case of movie time or so.
For example, in any room in my house that has smart lighting configured, you can say “Hey Google, it’s movie time” or “it’s game time” and the Google Home system will automatically match all the smart devices in that room. duty.
You can also use smart bias lighting in ways that aren’t directly related to media consumption or gaming. The same smart lights I have with all TVs and computer monitors can also be used for secondary lighting purposes. Whether you’re watching TV at night, LEDs can act as the perfect form of ambient lighting in a room or simply be integrated into the overall lighting of a room.
You can go basic and look for an option that includes simple smart home integration, or spend more on an LED strip with more sophisticated features like patterned displays, music syncing, and more. Increasingly, though, even budget options include these features, so there’s generally no reason to avoid them.
Govee TV backlight
Despite its affordable price, this little light strip includes smart home integration and other features.
For example, you can buy a basic Govee TV backlight for $20-30 and enjoy integration with your smart home (as well as app-based control, of course). Govee software lets you set up light displays, and if you want your venue to be in rave mode, a small onboard microphone will sync the lights to the music.
Of course, there are more expensive options like the more advanced RGBIC strip from Govee, which includes brighter LEDs with smoother color transitions. If you’re looking for affordable and smart home integrated lights of all shapes and sizes, you really can’t go wrong with Govee, by the way. Despite being heavily invested in the Hue ecosystem, I still use Govee lights everywhere, including in my yard.
Speaking of Philips, you’ll also find options in the Hue line of smart lighting, but their smart LED strips are quite expensive — albeit high-quality LED strips that integrate with the Hue ecosystem. If you’re going to pay Hue prices, you really need to switch to the last type of bias lighting – adaptive side lighting.
Adaptive Bias Lighting: The Brightest Option Around
So far, we’ve talked about basic lighting and lighting, which is a kind of integration with your smart home system for ease of use and additional features.
If you want to spend a little more money and have many A brighter experience with your bias lighting experience, you can make the leap from simple bias lighting (smart or otherwise) to lighting that changes in response to what’s on screen.
Call it adaptive, dynamic or responsive bias lighting, the result is the same and quite impressive. Adaptive bias lighting synchronizes with the content on your screen through a variety of mechanisms, creating room-filling color that truly makes the screen feel larger and the action on it feel more immersive.
The company that put this viewing style on the map is Philips, which introduced the Ambilight system. Ambilight TVs have an integrated LED strip around the back that is synchronized with the content of the screen through the TV hardware itself. Ambilight TVs, once relatively popular, are now few and far between on the market, and most people who enjoy adaptive bias lighting do so with third-party solutions attached to their existing TVs.
However, Philips offers an expensive Hue Sync Box that can be combined with Hue LED strips, Hue Play Bars or compatible Hue bulbs in general to turn any TV into an Ambilight TV. The advantage of the Hue box is that it’s line-level integration with your TV, meaning that the LED strip around the set receives color information directly from the HDMI signal that feeds into it.
The vast majority of people who use this setup are very happy with it as a result, and if they have any complaints, it’s not the end result, but the high price. The only downside to the Hue Sync Box, aside from the price, is that it requires a video input. If you use the apps on your smart TV for all your streaming services, you’ll need to use a streaming device instead to deliver the signal to the box.
If you’re interested in the experience without the hefty price tag, by the way, you can get it cheaper if you have Hue products and add adaptive bias lighting to your PC (or connected HTPC). to your TV).
Philips has a lightweight app called “Hue Sync for PC” available for both Windows and macOS that effectively turns your PC into a source of video streaming data (no Hue Sync box needed). If you’re already a Hue family and have some compatible Hue products like Hue Play Bars, all you need is the free app and you’re in business. I use this setup on my gaming PC and it’s a great way to increase in-game immersion.
While Philips was the first to hit the market and still has a very impressive lineup, there is a more economical alternative – the Govee DreamView. It’s not a line-level insert and the color match isn’t that accurate, but I own it (and love it) and we reviewed it at Review Geek and they loved it.
It uses the camera to monitor the screen in real time instead of a box that intercepts the video signal (or software on your computer). While Philips’ platform may win the 1:1 color matching contest, Govee’s DreamView system is about one-sixth the cost, and the overall effect is still very pleasing.
Like the Hue Play system, you can add more lights to enhance the ambiance in a room, but still at a fraction of the cost.
But whether it’s a simple white LED strip or a more sophisticated adaptive system that will wow your friends and family, your eyes will thank you whether you’re adding illegal lighting to your setup. Once you start using bias lighting for work and play, you won’t be able to imagine life without it.