Bias Lighting, Best Blu-rays, Fixer-Upper
On The Bias
I recall some Philips TVs having a built-in ambient lightsome type of glow from behind the TV. This was supposed to help with dark-room viewing. Since then, few if any manufacturers have followed suit, but I continue to see occasional articles that say this is a good idea because it helps make viewing less stressful on the eyes.
I have a Samsung UN55B6000, and I'm thinking about adding LED light strips behind the TV to achieve a similar effect. Is this really worthwhile to do? Does it really help with eye strain?
Is the Philips Ambilight feature a good idea? Yes and no. The default mode causes it to change color and intensity according to the image content, which is very distracting and thus a bad idea in my view. However, setting the light to a specific fixed color and intensity can be a great way to relieve eye strain, especially in a dark room. Such a light is called a bias light; the proper color is technically known as D65 white, and the correct intensity is 10 percent of the TV's peak light level.
I know of no other manufacturers that offer such a featureyour Samsung does not have itbut you can get a bias light called Ideal-Lume from CinemaQuest for about $60 and simply place it behind any direct-view TV. Ideally, the wall behind the TV is a dark, neutral gray as in the photo aboveotherwise, the color of the wall could distort your perception of the color on the screen.
What's the best Blu-ray to show off both video and audio in my home theater?
There are many excellent Blu-ray titles that show off the video and audio capabilities of a home theater beautifully. We usually cite one or two a week on Ultimate AV in a blog called "Ultimate Demos." Go here to see the entire list; click on any title to see several specific examples of what to look and listen for in each title.
How Much is Too Much?
I hope you can give some advice on what to do with a rear-projection TV gone bad. I am torn between having it repaired or not. My wife says don't spend the money, but how much is too much? I know it's an older set, so do I save the money and invest in something newer or just pay the money and have it repaired?
It depends on how much it would cost to fix. How much is too much is a judgment call, different for me than for you or your wife. For me, if it's more than a couple hundred bucks, I'd probably junk it and put that money toward a new set. On the other hand, maybe it's something simple like a worn-out lamp that can be easily replaced. I've heard that prices for RPTV lamps is getting pretty low, so in that case, I'd probably replace the lamp. At least that would get you up and running until you could afford a new set.
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