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Bias-lighting: Cheap, effective solution

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am planning to wall mount my 43' Sammy plasma tv by the end of this month and I came across concept of bias-lighting. I believe bias-lighting improves the image quality of the display and it reduces the strain produced by viewing movies or television in the dark as well.

I was thinking about purchasing myself a kit, like this one, but the prices are a bit steep for what appears to be LED strips so I was wondering whether anyone here knows a better, more affordable and effective solution. Maybe there's a cheaper, effective kit is out there? I wouldn't mind DIY but I would also like a good, detailed tutorial as well if I had to go that route.


Thanks in advance for your responses.
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntrisKKT View Post

I am planning to wall mount my 43' Sammy plasma tv by the end of this month and I came across concept of bias-lighting. I believe bias-lighting improves the image quality of the display and it reduces the strain produced by viewing movies or television in the dark as well.

I was thinking about purchasing myself a kit, like this one, but the prices are a bit steep for what appears to be LED strips so I was wondering whether anyone here knows a better, more affordable and effective solution. Maybe there's a cheaper, effective kit is out there? I wouldn't mind DIY but I would also like a good, detailed tutorial as well if I had to go that route.


Thanks in advance for your responses.

a 6500K CFL light bulb with a CRI of 90 or higher would work well
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntrisKKT View Post

I am planning to wall mount my 43' Sammy plasma tv by the end of this month and I came across concept of bias-lighting. I believe bias-lighting improves the image quality of the display and it reduces the strain produced by viewing movies or television in the dark as well.

I was thinking about purchasing myself a kit, like this one, but the prices are a bit steep for what appears to be LED strips so I was wondering whether anyone here knows a better, more affordable and effective solution. Maybe there's a cheaper, effective kit is out there? I wouldn't mind DIY but I would also like a good, detailed tutorial as well if I had to go that route.


Thanks in advance for your responses.

Actually, the price of $40 or so isn't really too bad, however LED lights are not quite up to par for bias lighting use as some have discovered.

You can go to a local home building supply store and purchase a small, clamp on or other utility lamp, and try 13watt to 15watt spiral CFL bulbs in the Brite White or Daylight category. Also, there are bulbs at pet stores that are used for terrariums that sometimes have higher CRI. It also depends a bit on the color of the wall area behind the TV since it will tint reflected light off of it. Being wall mounted, I can see why you would like to try LEDs. They will provide some light, and may work for you and Amazon does have a good return policy.
post #4 of 18
Hmmm, the kit from Amazon seems like a possibility but it doesn't state what the color temp is and you didn't specify the wall color behind the tv. Wall color can affect the bias light. My tv sits on a console so I put a Round Bottom Uplight behind the swivel stand (which you can't see at all when staring at the tv) with a standard size screw in fixture. The light is a 5500k (CRI unknown) 15W CFL reflecting off of a white wall (actually Navajo White which has a touch of gray in it). I tried an LED light but didn't like it. For my eyes, it seemed too harsh. You may have to experiment a bit (trips to Lowe's, etc) to find what works best for you. Whatever lighting setup you come up with, give it at least a week for your eyes to adjust before you decide to keep it or try something else.
post #5 of 18
For a year and a half I used a small fluorescent fixture and a 6500K bulb behind my TV as a bias light - worked great. Total cost was somewhere around $25... I adjusted the light output to meet what I wanted by using tape.
I based it loosely off of this product: http://www.cinemaquestinc.com/ideal_lume.htm - which I am certain is much better quality and probably worth the money.
post #6 of 18
^^^ the president of that company is a frequent poster here. His product is very good but as you've shown, you can achieve the same effect for half the price.
post #7 of 18
Not sure you can achieve the same effect, but haven't looked that hard. Chances of finding a 90+ CRI bulb in a general merchandise store would be pretty slim I'd guess, and it makes a significant difference. LEDs will probably always suck because of their limited spectrum, whereas fluorescents are the goto for broad spectrum lighting I believe.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fjames View Post

Not sure you can achieve the same effect, but haven't looked that hard. Chances of finding a 90+ CRI bulb in a general merchandise store would be pretty slim I'd guess, and it makes a significant difference. LEDs will probably always suck because of their limited spectrum, whereas fluorescents are the goto for broad spectrum lighting I believe.

Precisely. Recent improvements are being made to the spectral power distribution performance of "daylight spectrum" LED products, but they are very expensive. Such products can be found intended for technically demanding professional studio lighting, etc. The high cost is largely an economics of scale issue. The mass market does not care so much about color rendering. Most lighting consumers want bright, convenient, and cheap. Excellence in color performance usually comes at a higher cost.

My company takes all the guesswork, research & development, fixture & lamp locating, shopping, assembly, and implementation instructions out of the equation. Our goal for the past decade, plus, has been to offer a reasonably priced, pre-assembled, reliable, professionally proven & endorsed, video bias lighting solution for consumers and video industry professionals. We also expect to be paid for all that effort.

Much of the cost of our products is in the elaborate packaging required to transport such a fragile device through the shipping process without being damaged. Even then, rare damage occurs. In that event, we respond very quickly to get a replacement out to the customer, and handle the damage claim from our office.

Best regards and beautiful pictures,
G. Alan Brown, President
CinemaQuest, Inc.
A Lion AV Consultants affiliate

"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
post #9 of 18
That's interesting about LED spectrum, have to look into it. I was a custom flashlight hobbyist for some years, and there really wasn't such a thing as "white" available (you could have greenwhite,yellowwhite, purplewhite, bluewhite etc.) As I understand LEDs, the light produced is all the same color, then they coat it with a phosphor to get the final color they want (then bin code them all since they're all different anyway.)

I've played with bias lighting for years, with "daylight" fluorescents, but with a new display I decided to pony up the big money for a real one. I was pleasantly surprised by the price of your basic one - much less than I expected.

My favorite thing about it is walking into a dark room, with the display (plasma flat panel) and bias light on - it's so odd to see the same light coming from the back as the front. It still gets me every time
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB View Post


Much of the cost of our products is in the elaborate packaging required to transport such a fragile device through the shipping process without being damaged. Even then, rare damage occurs. In that event, we respond very quickly to get a replacement out to the customer, and handle the damage claim from our office.

It's refreshing to hear that a company will take the extra care to ensure that the customer is happy as soon as the package is opened.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fjames View Post

That's interesting about LED spectrum, have to look into it. I was a custom flashlight hobbyist for some years, and there really wasn't such a thing as "white" available (you could have greenwhite,yellowwhite, purplewhite, bluewhite etc.) As I understand LEDs, the light produced is all the same color, then they coat it with a phosphor to get the final color they want (then bin code them all since they're all different anyway.)

I've played with bias lighting for years, with "daylight" fluorescents, but with a new display I decided to pony up the big money for a real one. I was pleasantly surprised by the price of your basic one - much less than I expected.

My favorite thing about it is walking into a dark room, with the display (plasma flat panel) and bias light on - it's so odd to see the same light coming from the back as the front. It still gets me every time

They do have colored diodes without phosphor. Recently someone developed an orange LED. Native "white" LEDs are very blue-ish (8000K or higher). Lower color temperature "white" LEDs have either a yellow filter (which reduces lumens) or yellow phosphor (LEDs produce UV radiation, which excites the phosphor) in the diode capsule to serve as "minus blue" color correction. They still have to be "bin matched" to achieve some semblance of color tolerances.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

It's refreshing to hear that a company will take the extra care to ensure that the customer is happy as soon as the package is opened.

I'm amazed at how some business people seem to morph into another kind of creature when they enter their office. They no longer appear to have the capacity to understand what it is like to be a consumer. Before they enter their office, they are a consumer and know what it's like to be treated poorly by a company. However, once they are in "company mode" they often cannot see past the end of their nose. Only short-sighted business people fail to take into account the long-term benefits of good customer relations and referrals. I suppose our culture in general has drifted away from the "golden rule." Short-term profit margin rules over long-term relationship building.
post #13 of 18
It's like being a long-term investor in the stock market. What's good for you (the investor) is bad for you (the consumer.) The mental space you inhabit when you consume the products of a company whose stock you own is dizzying sometimes.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB View Post

I'm amazed at how some business people seem to morph into another kind of creature when they enter their office. They no longer appear to have the capacity to understand what it is like to be a consumer. Before they enter their office, they are a consumer and know what it's like to be treated poorly by a company. However, once they are in "company mode" they often cannot see past the end of their nose. Only short-sighted business people fail to take into account the long-term benefits of good customer relations and referrals. I suppose our culture in general has drifted away from the "golden rule." Short-term profit margin rules over long-term relationship building.

That is the sad truth in so many businesses... Someone that runs a business and thinks like you do is going to be around a lot longer!

While we have you here - would there be any benefit at all to using one of your lights behind a DLP TV that sits in front of a black wall? I know my cheap homemade knock-off version didn't light the black wall at all - but I also know it was probably not putting out as much light...
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by PTAaron View Post

That is the sad truth in so many businesses... Someone that runs a business and thinks like you do is going to be around a lot longer!

While we have you here - would there be any benefit at all to using one of your lights behind a DLP TV that sits in front of a black wall? I know my cheap homemade knock-off version didn't light the black wall at all - but I also know it was probably not putting out as much light...

We've been at it since 1998. Before that, I worked for a year in a custom home entertainment company that was newly taken over by a former regional utility company executive with no retail or AV background. There was a continual stream of former employees leaving the company, due to his mismanagement. I also left to start my own company, after a year of increasing demonstrations of poor judgement.

Trying to illuminate black is tough! It can be done, but there's no way I can think to predict how effectively you can do it with a single Ideal-Lume light. Why is the wall black, and what type of black treatment is it?
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB View Post

Trying to illuminate black is tough! It can be done, but there's no way I can think to predict how effectively you can do it with a single Ideal-Lume light. Why is the wall black, and what type of black treatment is it?

It is simply painted "Mouse Ears" black with an eggshell finish- no other type of treatment on the wall at the moment. It is black for 2 reasons - first is in preparation to switch to a projector/screen in the future, and secondly it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was going between a dark grey color and the black, and decided on the black. Was going for more of a "movie theater" experience. I find that I miss the backlight effect I used to get before the wall was painted.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by PTAaron View Post

It is simply painted "Mouse Ears" black with an eggshell finish- no other type of treatment on the wall at the moment. It is black for 2 reasons - first is in preparation to switch to a projector/screen in the future, and secondly it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was going between a dark grey color and the black, and decided on the black. Was going for more of a "movie theater" experience. I find that I miss the backlight effect I used to get before the wall was painted.

I get the picture. The relatively recent T5 lamp technology we currently use was developed to produce more lumens for their size and wattage than T8 or larger equivalents. The included baffle tube used for dimming can be removed for even more light output. We honor a satisfaction guarantee if you find one isn't bright enough and want to return it (plus, you could combine the new one with your old one if necessary). However, you would have to pay shipping both ways and return it in new condition.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB View Post

I get the picture. The relatively recent T5 lamp technology we currently use was developed to produce more lumens for their size and wattage than T8 or larger equivalents. The included baffle tube used for dimming can be removed for even more light output. We honor a satisfaction guarantee if you find one isn't bright enough and want to return it (plus, you could combine the new one with your old one if necessary). However, you would have to pay shipping both ways and return it in new condition.

Thanks for the information and for taking the time! I will definitely look into that once I get my room put back together

To the OP: sorry for the brief hijack!
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