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Is Ambilight just a gimmick?

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by Faust, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. Faust

    Faust
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    I'm sure Jimsan will be able to give an authoritative answer on this one. Is Ambilight really nothing more than a worthless gimmick if you do not wall mount the Philips 9986? I know when I had one on test, as good as the picture was, I had the 9986 sat on a table stand, and I thought then that the Ambilight simply added nothing to the viewing experience. However, my neighbour has just purchased one after seeing it up and running, and on the wall in our local John Lewis outlet. The neighbour is now complaining to me that sitting on it's glass stand the Ambilight feature is virtually non existent. I did remark to the neighbour had he not noticed that the one he saw in store was wall mounted. I notice the current t.v. advertisement shows the 9986 on a wall as well.

    :oops:
     
  2. David Mackenzie

    David Mackenzie
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    Can someone confirm to me what Ambilight is - the TV commercial for it made it look like it simply lit up the sides of the TV to match the colour of what was on screen. Is that it? If so... it SOUNDS like a bit of a gimmick to me but I've never seen it in action. From the name, I thought it was some clever backlight technology or something.

    Also waiting for a good answer!
     
  3. Dogboats

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    The Ambilight on the 9986 is adjustable and is (IMHO) absoluely brilliant! It works better away (by a few inches) from the wall as it lights up more of it and the cinematic effect is more impressive.

    I thought this would be a gimmick - I was expecting to have to turn it off due to finding it irritating - but it's amazing how much it adds to the viewing experience. It makes watching TV like being at the cinema. I could never go back to watching an ordinary TV now. :D

    Watch out for stereo ambilight on the 9830s next month! :clap:
     
  4. Rob1698

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    I have my 9986 on the glass stand in the corner of the room (of course a waste for a flat TV), and the ambilight projects on a wall and a curtain. It works beautifully, although better on the wall than on the curtain.
    When it is too weak you can increase the brightness.

    Sometimes I turn it off when viewing during daytime, but lateron I miss it and turn it back on.
     
  5. ianh64

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    Ambilight is based on proven technology used to improve perceved black levels. You can however achieve the same by having a small light behind the screen of the same colour temperature as the screen.

    I guess that ambilight is changing its colour to match the colour temperature of the current picture - how much of a gimmick this is over a fixed temperature light I do not know, but stereo ambilight may be the marketing department having more of a say over product specs than the scientists.
     
  6. Rob1698

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    I guess that ambilight is changing its colour to match the colour temperature of the current picture

    There are different settings. You can set a fixed color and brightness, or you can set it to track the average screen color, slowly or faster. I have set it to slowly track the color (the defailt).
    Of course this kind of defeats the purpose of improving black levels, because the ambilight almost goes off completely when the scene is very dark. But it works nicely when a brighter scene follows the dark scene and the lights come up in a similar color.
     
  7. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    how do I find out the temperature of my screen? I have a philips 30pf9975.

    Its wall mounted, so difficult to get lights behind, but perhaps I could mount a couple of mini flourescent tubes behind the screen?
     
  8. ianh64

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    You could pay to have the screen ISF calibrated and I believe that they would tell you its exact temperature or set it to a recommended temperature (I believe that this is around 6500K). My limited understanding is that LCD's have a higher temperature, around 9000K. How much of this is adjusted by the user controls I do not know.
     
  9. jimsan

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    Hi Faust!

    The answer is YES it is a bit of Gimmick, and NO it isn't worthless! I guess from the salesmans point of view it is a tremendous sales Gimmick. No other TV has this feature and I bet the other manufacturers are kicking themselves about it!

    It's really hard to describe how this effects your viewing experience until you've experienced it yourself. If your neighbour thinks it has little effect then he's most likely not got it set up right. Get him to access the Ambilight in the Menu and turn it up! On full chat, it's dazzling!

    Obviously it works at its best in the dark and has the duel effect of improving apparent black levels, and reducing eye strain considerably. Just try watching any TV in a totally dark room!

    But there is much more to it than this. It is the Cinematic thing. The whole room gets involved.....and this seems to work even better if the TV is not mounted against the wall! I'll attempt to take some photos of this later and I'll post them on this thread if they come out OK....

    Like others in this thread, I couldn't even consider buying a TV without this feature....

    ....so yes, it is a great sales gimmick, but is also a bewilderlingly brilliant feature.

    Jimmy
     
  10. Faust

    Faust
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    After posting last night I nipped across to the neighbours to see what he was so glum about, and I do think he has a point. Most of the houses on our estate have large bay windows, and most of us never close the curtains, even in winter. What effect this was having was to reflect the Ambilight back off the large windows and cause an irritating reflection all over the lounge - not what the marketing guys had in mind I'll wager. Yes he could close the curtains, but speaking for myself I like the curtains open, I don't think ours have been closed twice in ten years - a bit of a waste considering they cost the best part of £2k. He reminded me of Howard from Last of the Summer wine as he tried to talk his wife around to closing the curtains. He had about as much success as Howard has with his missus to.
     
  11. Wall

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    How much space do you need on the sides? I'm going to mount my 9830(if I can wait..) between two windows and I will just have a couple of inches between the TV and the curtains...is this enough and does it work good even if some of the light hits the curtains, or might that get annoying instead?

    Sorry for hijacking the thread... :hiya:
     
  12. jimsan

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    Goodness me.....I can't believe I'm reading this.....

    Jimmy
     
  13. Faust

    Faust
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    And just why is that Jimmy? not getting tetchy again are we? Seriously though it was annoying to try to view. What you were getting, (remember its dark so glass tends to look black and reflective under those conditions) is a coloured light which was projecting an image of the back of the t.v. onto the window and the Ambilight itself was being scattered (probably due to the double glazing effect) all around the lounge - truly it really did ruin the whole experience. I have a bit more wall on my lounge so it wasn't as bad when I had the one on test. Anyhow, further update, he phoned not long ago to say he is considering either having to use it without the Ambilight, or given the money he paid for the feature taking it back for something different and probably less expensive. At the end of the day given what these things cost, you have to be happy with your purchase.
     
  14. jimsan

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    No, what you were saying about the TV's positioning was fine...it was the reluctance to close the 2 grand curtains that tickled me. And now you're saying he's going to abandon the current top LCD because his wife won't let him close the curtains! Bizarre....

    Jimmy
     
  15. jimsan

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    Here are some pics of the ambilight showing colour changes during normal TV. (If you call 'Love Island' normal...)

    Really difficult to get the effect on a camera.

    Jimmy
     

    Attached Files:

  16. domtheone

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    Well I think they look pretty cool :thumbsup:
     
  17. ianh64

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    I guess by the pink tint to the last picture you were watching porn! Did you have the curtains open or closed?
     
  18. jimsan

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    Porn!!! ME? Never. The curtains were open....but it was dark....

    Jimmy
     
  19. Alan111S

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    Aaaaah! There was I, unhappy with the black-level or so I thought......

    We often watch our 9986 in a darkened room. And I used to think the black levels look cr*p when the Pioneer screensaver for the DVD is on. But, obviously the Ambilight is completely off unless the Pioneer logo moves near to the edge of the screen. But the major problem is that I have the Ambilight turned down too far - I can't remember the setting I use right now, but I'll try turning it up and report back. Doh! :suicide:

    :thumbsup:
     
  20. Faust

    Faust
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    Well as for the pics, I thought that if you were watching a Boris Karloff movie with Ambilight it would be quite spooky (well I was scared anyway). Howards missus, err sorry my neighbours missus has put her foot down and said no curtains closed, so I don't know what he's going to do now. It is correct though that we rarely close our curtains too (yes all two grands worth) I don't like them closed either, I mean, think about it, you can't be nosey with the curtains shut can you.
     

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