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Guide to Bias Lighting, What it is & Why you Need it


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 does bias lighting do?

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.

The best solution is bias lighting which provides just the correct amount of light that matches well with the screen.

How does 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 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.

Philips have a range of Tv’s that come with bias lighting builtin under their Philips Ambilight TV range

  • Philips 50PUS6272 50 Inch 4K UHD Ambilight Smart TV With HDR
  • Philips 50PUS6272 50 Inch 4K UHD Ambilight Smart TV With HDR
  • Philips 43 Inch 43PUS6262 Smart 4K UHD Ambilight TV with HDR
  • Philips 55PUS6262 55 Inch 4K UHD HDR Ambilight Smart TV
  • Philips 50PUS6262 50 Inch 4K UHD HDR Ambilight Smart TV
  • Philips 65PUS6262 65 Inch 4K UHD HDR Ambilight Smart TV

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.

Commercially available bias lighting can be cheaply obtained online. Their cost ranges from $10 to $100. A bulk of these lights is USB powered meaning they are easier to install. All you need is to plug them into your TV’s USB port and attach them behind the screen.

Dreamscreen is a great option that you can add to any tv, using a HDMI adapter it takes the color profiles and changes the light strip behind the tv to suit. This can be added to any tv.

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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