Thursday, October 8, 2009


A few decades ago, someone discovered an interesting fact – placing a light source behind or to the side of a TV enhances the viewing experience significantly. I’m sure there’s some interesting explanation for this, but I’ve experienced it myself, and I can attest to its truthfulness. Philips, the well known Dutch electronics company, is also on to it, and a few years ago developed a line of televisions with what they call “Ambilight”. This is based on a special light source that’s embedded in the TV’s side, and lights the wall behind the TV. The Ambilight TVs cost a pretty penny, of course, but you can have a similar effect for much cheaper, and without replacing the TV.

The trick is simple – buy a set of two elongated light sources, like a small CCFL (Fluorescent) lamp, and hang them behind the TV so that they are pointing towards the wall. A better option is a LED-based light, which you can buy at your local store for around 15$ per light. With most TVs, you can use double-sided tape to stick it behind the TV. Other sets will allow other arrangement, like screwing the light on the back at the proper height, or even hanging the light from one of the screws on the TVs back. The technique is not that important, as long as the light is pointing towards the wall.

In my case, this is the way my TV looks now:

One thing still makes the Philips TVs a little better than my $30 setup...their ambilight actually changes color based on the content displayed onscreen. Is that worth be the judge.

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