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Bias Lighting – What it is & Why you need it

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Bias lighting is a form of lighting used to improve the lighting condition of a room in which a TV or a projector is being used.

Watching TV or using a projector in conjunction with the traditional room lights or without any source of lighting doesn’t bring a good experience.

What is bias lighting?

The simple answer are TV backlights that change with the onscreen picture.

The chief purpose of bias lighting is to reduce eye strain when you are using any brightly colored screens in a room. Eye strain is brought about when your eyes can’t balance the light in the environment and the light obtained from an object being observed.

That’s why it gets uncomfortable to watch a TV or use your laptop in a dark room. Brightly lit rooms are uncomfortable as wel,l because the surrounding light “drowns” the light from the screen.

How does Responsive bias lights work

First, it is important to note that your eyes operate on systems of averages whereby the light in the environment should balance the light from the object for you to have a good viewing experience. So the bias lighting offsets this balance by introducing “bias” or providing the correct lighting that rhymes with the light originating from the source.

What can it be used with?

  • Changing lights when watching TV
  • Films via Netflix for example
  • Gaming – PC, Games Consoles
  • Music
  • Youtube

What are the benefits of bias lighting?

There are a few benefits to using Bias lighting with your TV:

  • Makes the screen feel bigger
  • Helps prevent eye strain by softening the picture
  • Helps prevent headaches while watching the screen

Bias lighting reduces the headache you often experience when you stare at bright screens in the dark for a long time.

By placing ambient lighting behind the TV and at the sides of the projectors, you are increasing the average ambient lighting and general visibility in the room. You can move safely in the room without knocking cables and other equipment.

Bias lighting improves your perception of contrast. This takes place on the principle of simultaneous contrast illusion whereby blacks and grays appear dark when placed against a light background.

Using bias lighting removes the problem of eye strain. The ambient lighting in the room causes your pupils to dilate accordingly thus reducing fatigue and eye strain.

In general, bias lighting helps in preventing dizziness, dry eyes and other eye problems associated with using screens in poorly lit rooms.

Which is the best bias lighting for my TV?

There are two important aspects of the bias light you need to consider when selecting bias lights: The color temperature and the physical consideration i.e. if the lights can fit behind your screen.

Each light bulb manufactured falls in a particular color temperature band on Kelvin’s Color Temperature Scale. A small number means the light produced is more red and warmer. A high number means the light is more blue and cooler.

Candle lights are rated as 1,900K, they are warmer and produce reddish/yellow light. Since the LEDs in your HDTV monitor are often calibrated to 6,500K, it is advisable to purchase bias lights that fall close to this value. A DIY solution can involve the use of any traditional bulb with similar calibration.

While there are LCD screens for Philips that include Bias lighting, you can get a better TV for your money and then purchase a Hue gradient light strip of alternative to create the bias lighting behind the screen. 

Philips Hue bias lighting

With the introduction of the Hue Play, Hue sync box and now the giant light strips, Philips Hue has everything you need to create and add bias lighting to your set up. 

Setting up your own bias lighting

Bias lighting works best when placed behind TV screens and desktop computer monitors. Since projectors cast their images on the wall you can place the lights on the side of the projector unless you’re using a movable screen where you will position the lights at the sides.

To create and set up your own we recommend checking out the Hue lights and play bars, these can be attached to the back of your monitor and using the Hue Sync app available for Windows and Mac OS, you can sync your lights create bias lighting.

Philips Hue Gradient LightStrip 65" (Sync with TV, Music and Gaming), Hue Hub & Hue Sync Box Required

    For Large LED Screens there are also the new gradient light strips designed specifically for creating responsive bias lighting on your TV, they come in different lengths depending on the size of your screen and can be easily attached to the back of your TV. The light strip will show multiple colors along the strip at the same time to give off different colors behind around the screen. 

    Hue lights that can be used with Hue entertainment and work great for bias lighting:

    • Hue Lightstrips
    • Hue Play
    • Hue Go
    • Hue Signe

    Bias lighting for your PC monitor

    Using Philips Hue Sync and the play bars you can create bias lighting on your desktop computer monitor, great for gaming, movies and watching Youtube!

    Philips - Hue Play Starter Kit - Black

      Is bias lighting worth it?

      At first it may have seemed like a novelty, however as new products have emerged over the last few years it has become a must for gaming set ups and home movies. Bias lighting can make the greys and blacks of your screen look richer, make vibrant scenes pop with even more color, and makes the overall contrast even better. 

      Downsides of bias lighting

      Bias lighting struggles to provide ambient lighting when used with certain modern display technologies. One such technology is HDR (High Dynamic Range) display in which a TV set has the ability to produce super bright highlights of some images such as the sun or streetlights which make them appear distinctively brighter than the entire surrounding scene. This erratic variation exposes the viewer to the risk of eyestrain even if bias lights are in use.

      Bias lights are an unnecessary cost when viewed in some aspects. If your TV does not have it then you usually have to pay more for this feature or to buy it and then add it to your tv.

      Ambilight that comes with Philips TVs works really well, however you are limited to Philips Tv’s there how good they are, and there are a lot of better TV’s for the money than the Philips range.


      Founder & Editor

      Mike is the founder of Hue Home Lighting, a huge Hue fan with far too many lights, covering home and garden. A smart home gadget addict and also enjoys the odd bit of DIY

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