Enhance your TV and gaming experience with these polarized lights

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Govee

Bias lighting is a great way to not only make using a computer or watching TV more comfortable, but also to add a little ambience and style to your home office or living room. Here are some examples of traditional, smart and adaptable tinted lights for your home that are worth looking at.

What is bias lighting?

Have you never heard of polarized lighting? There’s no better time than the present to learn about the lighting style that prevents eye strain. For a deeper dive, including tips on lighting placement and color temperature, check out our guide to polarized lighting.

In short, however, bias lighting in its most basic form is simply 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 in the environment. without shining directly into the viewer’s eyes.

That small amount of light helps your eyes work better and with less effort, increasing your comfort and creating better contrast on the screen. And, when you get up close to the more sophisticated bias lights, you’ll even find cool features like adaptive lighting that syncs with screen content for a real wow factor.

Traditional polarized lighting: simple white for simple comfort

The most basic form of bias lighting is simply a white light of some kind, preferably 6500K lighting temperature, placed behind the screen. If your TV sits at an angle in the corner, that light could be as simple as a 6500k LED bulb shining on the wall, but the more traditional placement along the wall requires something thinner like an LED strip. .

Thanks to the falling cost of LEDs, it’s cheaper than ever to add some LED lighting to your computer monitor or TV. We warn you not to go also cheap, though, because you still want to make sure the LEDs have good quality control and accurate color temperature.

Many people opt for a simple LED strip like this model from Hamlite. It has a 6500k color temperature, dedicated white LEDs, and is USB powered.

The more advanced options we’re about to look at require always-on power, so if you don’t want to worry about switches or remotes and just want the lights to come on when you turn on the TV, use the USB port on the back. back of the TV (or on your computer) is a clever way to link the power status of the lights with the power status of the screen.

To get all the functional benefits of polarized lighting without the fuss and frills, you can’t go wrong with a basic white LED strip or white LED bulb. However, there are some benefits to moving to integrated smart home bias lighting and even adaptive bias lighting.

Smart Bias Lighting: Hey Google, time to play

A computer monitor with smart polarized lighting behind it.
Polarized lights are also great for computer monitors. Govee

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 set up for any kind of integrations related to watching movies, gaming, or the like, you can simply add smart bias lighting to the mix so it turns on when it’s time to watch a movie or something.

In my house, for example, you can say “Hey Google, it’s movie time” or “game time” in any of the rooms with smart lighting set up, and the Google Home system will automatically adapt all the smart equipment in that room for the task. .

You can also use smart bias lighting in ways that aren’t directly related to media consumption or gaming. Those same smart lights that I have with all TVs and computer monitors can also be used for secondary lighting purposes. At night, LEDs can function as a perfect form of ambient lighting in the room, whether you’re watching TV or not, or simply blend into the general lighting in the room.

You can go basic and look for an option that includes a simple smart home integration or you can spend more money on an LED strip with more sophisticated features like pattern displays, music sync and such. Increasingly though, even budget options include these features, so there’s generally no reason to avoid them.

Govee TV Backlight

Despite the reasonable price, this little light strip packs smart home integration and other features.

For example, you can pick up a basic Govee TV backlight for $20-30 and enjoy integration with your smart home (as well as app-based control, of course). The Govee app lets you set up light displays, and if you want your space to have a rave mode, a small built-in microphone will sync the lights to the music.

Of course, there are also more expensive options, like a more advanced RGBIC strip from Govee that includes brighter LEDs with smoother color transitions. If you’re looking for smart home and affordable built-in lights of all shapes and sizes, by the way, you can’t go wrong with Govee. Despite my huge investment in the Hue ecosystem, I still use Govee lights everywhere, including in my garden.

Speaking of Philips, you’ll also find options in the Hue line of smart lighting, but their smart LED strips are pretty pricey for what they are: basic, albeit high-quality, LED strips that integrate with the Hue ecosystem. If you’re going to pay Hue prices, you really should make the jump to the latest type of bias lighting: adaptive bias lighting.

Adaptive Bias Lighting: The Most Striking Option Out There

The back view of a television equipped with a Hue light strip and Hue sync box.
Philips

So far we’ve talked about basic lighting and lighting that has some sort of integration with your smart home system for ease of use and added features.

If you want to spend a little more money and have a much more eye-catching experience with your bias lighting experience, you can make the leap from simple bias lighting (smart or not) to lighting that changes in response to what’s on the screen.

Call it adaptive, dynamic, or responsive bias lighting, the result is the same, and quite impressive. Adaptive Bias lighting syncs, through various mechanisms, with the content on the screen, creating room-filling color that makes the screen appear larger and the action taking place on it smaller. immersive.

The company that put this style of display on the map is Philips, with the introduction of its “Ambilight” system. Ambilight TVs have an integrated LED strip on the back that stays in sync, via the TV’s own hardware, with the content on the screen. Once relatively popular, there are now very few Ambilight TVs on the market and most people enjoying adaptive bias lighting do so with third-party solutions added to their existing TVs.

However, Philips does offer 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 benefit of the Hue box is that it’s line-level integration with your TV, meaning the LED strip around the TV gets color data directly from the HDMI signal it receives.

As a result, the vast majority of people who use this setup are very happy with it, and if they have any complaints, it’s about the high price, not the end result. 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 of your streaming services, you’ll need to use a streaming device instead to send the signal to the box.

If you’re interested in the experience without the hefty price tag, by the way, you can do it a lot cheaper if you already have Hue products and are adding adaptive bias lighting to your computer (or if you have an HTPC connected to your TV).

Philips has a lightweight app, available for both Windows and macOS, called “Hue Sync for PC” that effectively turns your computer into the video streaming data source (no Hue Sync box needed). If you’re already part of a Hue home 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 computer and it’s a great way to increase in-game immersion.

While Philips might have been first to market and still has an impressive lineup of products, there is a much cheaper alternative: the Govee DreamView. It’s not a line level input and the color scheme isn’t that accurate, but I have it (and love it) and we reviewed it on Review Geek and they loved it there too.

Instead of a box that intercepts the video signal (or an application on your computer), it uses a camera to monitor the screen in real time. While the Philips platform might win in a 1:1 color matching contest, Govee’s DreamView system is about a sixth of the cost, and the overall effect is still very pleasing.

Like the Hue Play system, you can add more lights to increase the ambience in the room, but again, at a fraction of the cost.

But no matter how you add polarized lighting to your setup, whether it’s a simple white LED strip or a more sophisticated adaptive system that wows your friends and family, your eyes will thank you. Once you start using polarized lighting for work and play, you won’t be able to imagine life without it.