Watch the video first. We’ll talk about it under the jump.

So, then. Philips have this lovely (and expensive) technology called Ambilight, which extends the lighting environment of what you’re watching on TV into your living room. It’s better watched than described, so if you haven’t hit play on the video above yet, please do!

I saw one of the original demos of this at CES a few years ago. It’s now consumer technology that you can buy in your local department store, and it’s a really impressive, and surprisingly immersive and effective piece of technology. But if, like me, you’re not in a hurry to replace the TV you spent a packet on, you’ll have made a sad decision to live without the flashing neon of CSI inveigling its way into the corners of your living room; and the fires of R’hllor, the Red God, will make no impression on your ceilings. Because this stuff costs money, and we’re all much too busy spending that on new binocular microscopes.

Oscar Andersson has made a Raspberry Pi-powered ambient lighting fix which I can’t distinguish from the Philips product – as you’ll see from the video above, it’s a lovely piece of work, and most importantly, it’s very affordable. You’ll find more pictures, more video and build instructions, using Adafruit’s Occidentalis distro (which is all about the hardware hacking) at Oscar’s Facebook page.

So many projects, so little time. This is the third thing I’ve blogged or stuck on Facebook this week that I want to make. Let us know if you make your own version – we’d love to hear how you get on! (Incidentally, the day someone makes a video demo that doesn’t reference Avatar is the day we at the Foundation cheer up dramatically.)



liz avatar

Incidentally, on first watching this, Eben and I had a conversation along the lines of “Lordy. Pandora is really BLUE, isn’t it?” Ferelden is brown. I like worlds with a colour scheme.

Chris avatar

Got to add this to my projects to build list !
Want more details but link to web page says :
“This content is currently unavailable”

silverfox0786 avatar

wish I knew this before i brought my ambilight Philips TV

Chris avatar

Ambilight looks great, had a Philips 56″, great picture, intermittent ambilight and other features that just didn’t work meant I replaced it with a SONY KDL55 which is much better ( not 20:9 though ), will definitely build this to enhance the viewing.

poing avatar

Me too. Guess you have to sign up with Facebook first :-(

JBeale avatar

There is a working FB link with a bunch of photos, if you click through to the YT video and then expand the text description. I posted the actual link here, earlier today but then my post was “disappeared”, it looked like spam I assume.

bob_binz avatar

There are also vids/fb links to the same tech from six months ago by somebody else . Has Oscar been verified as the creator (apologies to all concerned if he has)?

The Raspberry Pi Guy avatar

Excellent! That’s way better than silly 3-D!

The Raspberry Pi Guy

omenie avatar

I’m a sucker for anythign with LEDs in it, but this is brilliant.

toxibunny avatar


silverfox0786 avatar

I tell ya having a philps ambilight TV myself

this mod is way better

the lights extend so much on this mod

where as the Philips does not its only max 15cm out and very dull

this I have to make and never use the inbuild ambilight again

Homer Hazel avatar

I had to watch it twice because I did not know what you were talking about in the teaser. So I watched it and said “ho hum” and then I read the follow up and then watched it again. It was very impressive once I was aware of what I was looking at.

Rich Kavanagh avatar

I don’t have (or want) a Facebook account. Any alternative links I can view to the project build??

Jim Manley avatar

And here I was thinking that Ambilight was for people who could use either hand to write (well, I can do that, but only with one hand legibly!) :D

Riccardo avatar

@Rich… I hear you on the FB account, I’m in the same predicament..lets hope there’s alternative link

Leonardo avatar

just WOW!

Jim Manley avatar

Just create a FB account using a free e-mail account (e.g., GMail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) that you don’t care if it’s sent spam, etc. You don’t need to provide much, and you can put in any values you want instead of actual personal data. Just make sure the birthday makes you over 18 years old.

Higgs Boson avatar

Now imagine this setup to a 3D projector!

defsdoor avatar

Knocked up my ambilight on Sunday – 92 LEDs from a string – cut for the corners and joined with an inch of ribbon cable.

It’s pretty awesome –

and a great movie to demo it imho ;)

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