Bias lighting is a great way to not only make using a computer or watching TV more comfortable, but also add a bit of ambiance and style to your home office or living room. Here are some examples of traditional, smart, and adaptive bias lights for your home that are worth checking out.
What is Bias Lighting?
Never heard of bias lighting? There is no time like the present to learn about the lighting style that prevents eye strain. For a deep dive into the subject, including tips on lighting placement and color temperature, check out our guide to bias lighting.
Basically, bias lias lighting is basically just a relatively dim light source placed behind a computer monitor, TV screen, or even around a projector screen in a home theater that introduces a small amount of indirect light into the environment. without shining it directly into the viewer’s eyes.
That small amount of light helps your eyes work better and with less strain, both for more comfort and better contrast on the screen. And if you delve into the fancier bias lights, you’ll even find fun features like adaptive lighting that syncs with the 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, preferably 6500K in lighting temperature, placed behind the screen. If your TV is angled into the corner, that light can be as simple as a 6500k LED light shining on the wall, but more traditional placement along the wall will require something slimmer, such as an LED strip.
However, thanks to the ever-decreasing cost of LEDs, it’s cheaper than ever to add some LED bias lighting to your computer monitor or TV. We warn you not to go at cheap, because you still want to be sure that the LEDs have good quality control and accurate color temperature.
Many people opt for a simple LED strip such as this Hamlite model. It has a color temperature of 6500k, special white LEDs and is powered via USB.
The more advanced options we’re going to look at always require power, so if you don’t want to fiddle with switches or remotes and just want the lights to come on when the TV is turned on, use the USB port on the back of the TV ( or on your computer) is a smart way to link the energy status of the lamps to the energy status of the screen.
To get all the functional benefits of bias lighting without the fuss or frills, you really can’t go wrong with a bare white LED strip or a white LED bulb. However, there are some benefits to moving to smart home-integrated bias lighting and even adaptive bias lighting.
Smart Bias Lighting: Hey Google, It’s Gaming Time
While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the most basic option, mixing lights with smart home integration offers some benefits.
If you’ve set up the space for any kind of integration related to watching movies, gaming, or similar activities, you can simply add the smart bias lighting to the mix to turn on when it’s movie time or the like.
For example, in my house, you can say “Hey Google, it’s movie time” or “game time” in one of the rooms with smart bias lighting configured and the Google Home system will automatically adjust all the smart equipment in that room for the task.
You can also use the smart bias lighting in ways not directly related to consuming media or playing games. Those same smart bulbs that I have with all TVs and computer monitors can also be used for secondary lighting purposes. At night, the LEDs can act as a perfect form of mood lighting in the room, whether you’re watching TV or not, or simply integrated into the general lighting of the room.
You can simply go and look for an option that includes simple smart home integration or you can spend more money on an LED strip with more advanced features like pattern displays, music sync and the like. While increasingly even the budget options include these features, there’s usually no reason to avoid them.
Govee TV Backlight
Despite its reasonable price, this small light strip includes smart home integration and other features.
For example, you can buy a standard Govee TV backlight for $20-30 and enjoy integration with your smart home (and 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 syncs the lights to music.
There are also more expensive options, of course, such as a more advanced RGBIC strip from Govee with brighter LEDs with smoother color transitions. By the way, if you’re looking for affordable and smart-home integrated lights in all shapes and sizes, you can’t go wrong with Govee. Despite my heavy investment in the Hue ecosystem, I still use Govee lights everywhere, including my yard.
Speaking of the Philips, you’ll also find options in the Hue line of smart lighting, but their smart LED strips are quite expensive for what they are – just basic, albeit high-quality, LED strips that integrate with the Hue ecosystem. . If you’re going to pay Hue prices, you really need to make the leap to the last kind of bias lighting – adaptive bias lighting.
Adaptive bias lighting: the flashiest option out there
So far we’ve talked about basic lighting and lighting that somehow integrates with your smart home system for ease of use and extra features.
If you want to spend a little more money and get a a lot With your bias lighting experience, you can make the jump from simple bias lighting (smart or otherwise) to lighting that changes in response to what’s displayed on the 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 various mechanisms, creating room-filling color that really makes the screen appear larger and the action taking place on it more immersive.
The company that has put this way of looking 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 with the screen content via the TV hardware itself. Once relatively popular, there are now very few Ambilight TVs on the market and the majority of people who enjoy 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 advantage of the Hue box is that it’s a line-level integration with your TV, meaning the LED strip around the set receives color data directly from the HDMI signal fed into it.
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 of the Hue Sync Box, besides the price, is that it requires a video input. If you’re using the apps on your smart TV for all your streaming services, you’ll need to use a streaming device instead to send the signal into the box.
By the way, if you’re interested in the experience without the hefty price tag, you can do it a lot cheaper if you already have Hue products and add adaptive bias lighting to your computer (or you have an HTPC hooked up to your television).
Philips has a lightweight application, available for both Windows and macOS, called “Hue Sync for PC”, which effectively turns your computer into the source of the video streaming data (no Hue Sync box needed). If you are already a Hue household and you have some compatible Hue products like the Hue Play Bars then all you need is the free app and you are in business. I use this setup on my gaming computer and it’s a great way to ramp up the in-game immersion.
While Philips may have been the first to market and still has a very impressive product range, there is a much more economical alternative: the Govee DreamView. It’s not a line-level input and the color matching isn’t that accurate, but I own it (and love it) and we reviewed it at Review Geek and they loved it there too.
Instead of a box that intercepts the video signal (or an app on your computer), it uses a camera to monitor the screen in real time. While the Philips platform could win in a 1:1 coloring contest, Govee’s DreamView system costs about a sixth the cost and the overall effect is still very pleasing.
Like the Hue Play system, you can add more lights to increase the mood of the room, but again, at a fraction of the cost.
But however you add bias lighting to your setup, 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. Once you start using bias lighting for work and play, you can’t imagine life without it.