Backlighting for TVs is a relatively new concept which has started to gain real traction due to the benefits it makes in helping you watch a bright monitor or TV for long hours. It also has a side effect of making your TV look really cool.
Our eyes don’t like super bright images or flashes of light. Just going from a dark room to a bright midday sun will cause your retinas to decrease in size very fast and it will take some time to adjust. The same when going from a light room to a dark room you need time for your eyes to adjust.
The same principle can be applied to when you are sitting at a computer desk or watching a bright TV or projector screen. If you look at a darker side of the room and then turn back to the monitor your eyes need time to adjust and it can become uncomfortable when constantly moving your eyes around.
This is where Bias lighting comes in for TVs. Its a glow of light provided by either light strips or a bright LED glove that will distribute the light in an even fashion out from the edge of the TV and bounce off the wall to provide a nice gradually decreasing light image. This will maximize the fidelity of the perceived image.
What Is Bias lighting for TVs
Bias lighting is a light source behind a TV that provides a nice backlighting effect that is eyesight friendly. It can also enhance blacks and colors on a TV. There are many different designs and colors available and it often comes up to a user preference which color they prefer.
Bias lighting can help in two ways
- It can help reduce eye strain from watching a TV screen or monitor for long hours each day.
- It can improve the colors and give your richer blacks contrasting images on your TV or computer monitor.
This then makes your eyes more accommodating of the image as like a buffer zone of light. Your eyes then don’t move from a dark wall and suddenly hit a bright white light. Its all about gradual transitions. Less strain and pain on your retinas.
What options are there for behind TV lighting?
Depending on the size of your TV and if its wall or table mounted will determine what the best option is for behind TV bias lighting.
For me personally, I have a Netlux TV light strip that has been attached the whole way around the back of my 55-inch wall mounted TV. This was the first backlighting setup that I had purchased for my home theatre setup. It comes with a remote control which makes it easy to change the color and turn it on and off.
For table mounted TV you can still go with a light strip or another option is something like a small LED spot lamp. Philips makes a product called the Hue Bloom which is great for behind TV bias lighting. The only issue is you will need to purchase a Philips Hue Hub router that can talk to all of your Philips Hue products and enable smart control via a phone or tablet. Sometimes they are bundled together in a kit. These are color changing and provide a really nice effect.
If you are only after a cool effect for backlighting your TV then the Netlux is the cheaper option. But on the other hand if you plan to have smart light throughout your whole house then check out the Philips Hue brand of lighting they are the world leaders in smart home lighting and they are the best.
DIY bias lighting on the cheap
If you would like to see the effect of some behind TV bias lighting then try putting a small table lamp behind the TV. This will give you the basic effect to see if you prefer a white light or a color light. Some simple color changing LED light globes may be all you need from the supermarket.
The benefit of a more permanent solution is they are usually powered b the TV USB port and come with an easy to use remote control. This way the lights come on when the TV comes on. I also have some smart Philips light strips mounted behind an outdoor TV which has a cool multi-color effect.
If you replace your TV, these light strips are easy to remove and reattach onto a new TV.
Projector screen bias lighting
Generally, people don’t have projector screen bias lighting because most screens are fixed to the wall. We also require a very dark room to maximize the brightness that the movie projector will cast out.
Having a black border around the projector screen maximizes the color contrast and will give you richer colors and deeper blacks. Some people still do have strip lighting in their home theaters but you will find they get turned off when a movie is shown. The darker the room the better. Check out our review of some cheap backyard portable projectors.
If you are constantly getting headaches and eye strain from viewing a TV or computer monitor then check out some behind TV bias lighting. Not only will it make your room look really cool but the reduced eye strain is a blessing in disguise.
Light strips are a really cheap option and are easy to attach with the 3m sticky tape on the strip light. Just measure each side length of your TV and add them together so you can get the correct size.
Computer users the world over have been adding light strips to their computer monitors for years. Mainly for the cool factor but also because they also realize that they will get a lot of eye strain from playing computer games for hours at a time. Coders and web designers are now following the gamers for a less stressful day. Now that technology is transferring over to TVs and the general population.
Always remember to take regular breaks when sitting down for a long time. Move around, go for a walk and drink lots of water. Your body will thank you for it.