Bias Lighting for Monitors and Displays: Why Your Eyes Deserve a Rest
This article describes the purpose and use of ambient bias lighting using LED strips. A brief overview of LED strips is given, and several benefits to ambient bias lighting are addressed.
The popularity of LED illumination has exploded. Everything from keyboards to shelving has been outfitted with LED lighting whose color and brightness are fully controllable. They’re called RGB LED, short for red, green, and blue light-emitting diodes, and these lights can display a spectrum of color and intensity.
In the last few years, they’ve found their way behind computer monitors and televisions; it’s called bias lighting, and it’s changing the way we look at our displays. Aside from casting an attractive glow, bias lighting reduces eye strain and improves the appearance of image colors. This article explains how bias lighting works to reduce eye fatigue, enhance the quality of image, and how to choose and install LED bias lighting on your monitor or television.
How Bias Lighting Reduces Eye Fatigue and Enhances The Images Quality
Watching a movie or using a computer in a dark room is cozy, but it doesn’t do any favors for the eyes. Staring at a bright screen against a dimly lit wall makes it difficult for our eyes to accommodate the striking contrast between the dark surface and the glowing screen. Not only do screen colors appear muted, but our eyes become fatigued from the lighting conditions. Ambient illumination behind the display helps our pupils adjust by diffusing the harsh contrast between the backlit display and the dim or darkened room. In addition, colors appear more vivid with bias lighting, reducing eye strain and fatigue.
How To Install Bias Lighting
The most common type of bias lighting is the LED strip. As the name suggests, LED strips are thin plastic tape with embedded LEDs and circuitry. Labeled sections along the strip allow it to be cut to size, whereas clips can be used without tools to connect strips to the LED controller, which manages light color and intensity.
Adhesive tape is factory applied to the back of the strips enabling them to adhere to smooth surfaces, and adhesive clips are commonly used for more minor permanent installations.
Choosing Bias Lighting
LED strips are available in waterproof and non-waterproof variants, with the waterproof strips protected by a transparent silicone skin. Waterproof strips are only marginally more expensive than non-waterproof versions but offer better durability through the outer silicone layer.
When purchasing a bias light kit, there are some points to consider. Light strips are available in various lengths, LED types, waterproof ratings, and operating voltages. The most popular light strips contain RGB LEDs that are size 5050 and work on a 12v current. Running a strip longer than 15 meters requires a 24v controller; otherwise, LEDs at the end of the strip may appear dimmer than those at the beginning. The average large screen television or computer monitor will use far less than 15 meters of LED’s, and 12v is ample power. A 2amp USB wall charger can conveniently power most bias lighting.
Customization of Light Color
RGB LEDs allow for customization of light color by mixing output from tiny individual red, green, and blue LED’s in the same way a television combines RGB pixels to create a variety of colors. This is done through a controller that powers the LEDs and manipulates the light’s color and intensity. Depending on the model, controllers can be adjusted by remote control, smartphone app, or buttons on the housing. In addition, some systems can be connected to WiFi-enabled home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, which allows for full integration of the lighting into existing smart home infrastructures.
When it comes to light color, commonly used LED strips are available in RGB (red, green, blue), RGBW (red, green, blue-white), or white. Whites are further broken down into warm white or pure white, with a warm white leaning towards the red spectrum and pure white skirting the blue spectrum. Reading and residential lighting is usually warm white for a better context of light temperature, whereas commercial overhead lights are often pure white. This partially explains why some commercial buildings are described as having harsh lighting.
A limitation of RGB LEDs is their inability to produce accurate white light, which is where RGBW LEDs shine. By adding a dedicated white LED, an RGBW strip can make white light that closely matches the color of indoor lighting. RGBW strips come in both warm and pure white variations and require one additional circuit embedded on the strip to accommodate the other LED, and as such, they use their specific 5-pin connectors and controllers. RGBW LED kits tend to be slightly more expensive than RGB kits, but they benefit from improved white light quality. However, they are not compatible with RGB strips or controllers.
Installation and Operation Overview
Despite the variations in LED strips, installation and operation are the same across all types. Strips can be installed by sticking the adhesive side against the rear outer edge of the display, then connecting the strip to the controller. They can be cut to custom lengths, and plastic connectors can be used to connect strips to additional LEDs, extension cables, angled connectors, etc. After everything is secured and powered on, you can sit back and use the remote control, smartphone app, or fixed control buttons (depending on the model of your controller) to customize your lighting.
You’ll find that bias lighting reduces eye strain and creates more vibrant image colors. Bias lights can be customized to various colors and intensities, and most controllers feature lighting effects such as fade-in/out and alternating colors. Installation is simple, and LED strips can be placed on just about any clean surface. Bias lighting will reduce eye strain, but it’s also an inexpensive way to add a contemporary aesthetic to a desk or TV room. Complete bias lighting kits are widely available online and can be purchased on sites like Amazon or eBay. Be sure to read the descriptions carefully to ensure the kit includes everything you’ll need, such as the correct color options, enough length of LEDs, and a power supply. Once installed, you’ll never look at your monitor or television the same way again!
Ready To Take Another Step and Step Away from The Computer?
Let us help you rest your eyes some more during the winter holiday season. How about taking a step or two outside to enjoy a beautiful lighting display on the property, whether it’s your home or your business. Are you interested? If so, we can make it happen. Contact A Brilliant Solution Holiday Lighting to get on our schedule. Just remember, our calendar fills up quickly, so do not wait too long.