Biased Lighting for Your Big Screen Tv


Introduction: Biased Lighting for Your Big Screen Tv

About: Alton Brown taught me how to cook, now I want to tackle diy projects.

I was intrigued by the instructable explaining how to add biased lighting to your LCD monitor.
My monitors are CRT and sit in a spot that does not allow biased lighting, but my big screen TV could be a candidate.
Now I can watch TV for hours on end without eye-strain.

Step 1: Inspiration

Biased lighting on the cheap gave me this idea, so essentially this is his instructable, modified for my situation.

Check out his tutorial here.

This is a pic from his tutorial below.

After the jump is my how-to.

Step 2: The Parts

-1 fluorescent bulb from Lowes that stated it was 9 watts and comparable to a normal 40 watt bulb in regards to brightness. It was the lowest wattage I could find without getting a REALLY low wattage bulb for a appliance. I didn't know what size to get since the LCD was much smaller then my TV, so I had to wing it.

-1 light-bulb socket. One of those cheap-O 99 cent ones.

-1 old extension cord with its head lopped off.

-1 clamp of some sort that is the size of the bulb holder.

-2 SHORT screws

-4 beers

Step 3: The TVs Arse

The back of my TV has some sort of blank spot in the middle of it, seemingly made for this Instructable.

I can only assume the blank spot has some terribly important circuit board housed inside of it. I recall this from taking apart a monitor a few years back.

Since I don't have time to be cautious, (read smart), I will plunge ahead with the drill.

Step 4: Drill Me Baby

Here I am, drilling into my TV that I really never have been able to afford, and will never be able to replace if I damage it.

IN this pic you can see me affixing my chopped up extension cord, my light-bulb socket, and my metal clamp from the plumbing aisle.

Make note that I am using VERY small pan head screws. Even after they are screwed into the TV, I daresay there isn't more then a bump in the plastic on the inside on the TV on the flat spot.

The manly end of the extension cord got plugged into my cable box switched outlet. Now when I turn my cable box on and off, the light does the same.

Step 5: The TV Still Works!

Since I am a fancy man with fancy tastes, it's now Miller High Life time.

Celebrate the joy that is a working, post-modded TV.

Step 6: Yes, This Looks Like Crap.

My picture looks like crap, but this is the best I could come up with after about 10 pictures and 30 minutes in Photoshop.

The light looks very yellow/orange in the picture, but this is not how it looks to my eyes in person.

Apparently my camera is really confused as to what I am trying to take a picture of so it came out either way too bright, or way to dark.

In real life, the biased lighting on the cheap "big screen edition" did just the trick. The picture is clear as a bell still, and the off background light helps keep the eyestrain down as well as make it easy to find the martini in the dark during a movie.

My only annoyance is the thermostat above the TV. It makes the whole setup look silly.

Thanks Bowdie for the idea.



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    30 Discussions

    I dont have an LCD or anything that would use this but ever since I've seen commercials for the Philips LCD tv with "Ambilight". I thought - how hard could that be to make with some LEDs. Someone needs to build one of these with adaptive lighting - changing colors based on the picture on the tv. I'm not an electronics genius but here is an idea on how to do it: Take the video out of the tv, connect it to the smallest least expensive screen you can (maybe $50 LCD for a car). Pump up the brightness and saturation and contrast on the screen of the LCD. Mount some fiberoptic tubes on the front and string them to the edges of the back of the tv facing the wall. Thats my ghetto-rig idea. Better yet, somehow take the video output of the tv and essentially color block it out and translate that into light a multicolor RGB LED.

    2 replies

    "Someone needs to build one of these with adaptive lighting - changing colors based on the picture on the tv." - That's not what bias lighting is meant to be.

    That's bling lighting which is a totally different thing altogether. Bias lighting must be the correct colour temperature, the correct spectral content, and the correct brightness to work as intended. All of these parameters are fixed so should NEVER vary in an adaptive way.

    That means a 6500K light source with a CRI of at least 90, and no more than 10% of the maximum brightness that the TV panel can produce reflected from a neutral coloured (pure white or spectrally neutral grey) background. Anything else is scientifically wrong and falls into the "bling" category.

    Getting it right simulates the lighting conditions in a typical professional video editing suite so that you see the content the way it was intended to be seen. Anything else is, strictly speaking, wrong and will diminish the viewing experience either a little or a lot depending on how wrong the bias lighting is.

    The Philips light is a set of cold cathode fluorescent tubes, so the colors are not nearly as saturated as LEDs would be. Color Kinetics patented this concept for use with RGB LEDs some years ago.

    Yep. This was way back before HD or Ikea had good stuff like that.

    2 foot led lights from Home Depot worked for me, no drilling. Same cost. The beer is a nice touch.

    "My only annoyance is the thermostat above the TV. It makes the whole setup look silly." I had the same problem. Went up into the attic and found that the thermostat wires were fed down from the top wall plates. I cut the wires (2 in my case), spliced more wire on and was able to move the thermostat over. Drilled thru the wall plates and fished the wires down to a new location. Only had to use 2 beers...:) note: First check with a stud finder to insure there is no blocking between wall studs at the new location.

    you owe me $4000, i just tried this and my 70 inch hd dlp tv stopped working

    8 replies

    don't you feel partially responsible? After all ColumbusGEEK even stated how dumb he was being. Instead of sticking a drill in your $4000 tv you could perhaps try tape. (that eliminates the whole drilling part into the $4000 tv part)

    check arrived safely do you recomend a bigger drill bit? i think that was my problem

    are you sure? i actually used the next model up from that, it comes with an second full sized handle so a second person can hold it steady

    Dont DRILL into you TV! Just put a small lamp behind it.

    I am trying this out on my 55" LCD projection TV. So far it is more annoying than anything. I think it is too bright. I used the same bulb you used in this guide. I am going to try and wire up some kind of dimming circuit and see if that makes a difference.

    1 reply

    Actually I realized right after typing this that you can't dim flourescent bulbs, well not easily anyway. The LED route might be a better solution.

    hmm, don't really see the point in doing this :( light behind your screen actually makes the sceen seem smaller! This is the reason most screens have a black frame, silver or no frame also makes it look smaller. also, my big screen has economical settings: the brightness of the sceen adapts to the light of the enviroment. So the darker the room is, the lower my electric bill gets ;) But fot those who (for some weird reason) think this is the coolest thing since tv was invented... ..just hang x-mas lights behind your screen! U can get them in a color to mach your room, they don't get hot and they use practicly no power so u save on your electric bill too.

    1 reply

    To each his own of course, thats what makes this site great. ...but... The point is to make a soft diffused natural light behind the TV. Bias light behind your TV can help reduce the strain your eyes endure when you force them to jump between light and dark images on the screen. The constant light provides an anchor so your eyes' adjustments don't have to be so extreme. Christmas lights will help you look more like a 15 year old girl decorated your home then achieve the affect I was shooting for. Bias lighting is very popular recently with LCDs and new tvs. A mere 5 minutes on google will enlighten anybody.