Raspberry Pi media center with DIY ambient light

Let There Be Light

© Lead Image © Nelli Valova, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Nelli Valova, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 208/2018

Ambilight lights up the wall behind Philips TVs with LEDs mounted on the device to enhance the onscreen visual impression. With Lightpack and a Rasp Pi media center, every TV can be upgraded with ambient light.

The Ambilight technology, originally developed by Philips, lights up the wall behind the television set by monitoring the colors in the current image and generating the appropriate color to extend the image content beyond the monitor surface. The "extended" image is easier on the eyes, because the field of vision is enlarged for the viewer.

An Ambilight system basically comprises three components: at least three edges (left, right, and top) on the back of the TV for strips of RGB LEDs, a control unit that ensures the individual LEDs light up accordingly, and a signal to the control unit provided by software that continuously analyzes the video image.

If you don't want to buy a Philips Ambilight TV, but you already watch movies and TV series on the Kodi multimedia platform, you can upgrade to ambient lighting in a DIY project with either a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian, a Kodi distribution like Open/LibreELEC, or a Linux PC. Various preexisting solutions such as Lightpack [1], Lightberry [2], or AmbiLED [3] remove the need for further programming


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