How to build DIY Philips Ambilight for any TV

Hyperion is an open source ambient light tool that captures and analyzes the colors of the video or image played on the TV or monitor screen and displays those colors from the corners of the TV screen in real time. This gives the effect that colors pop out of the display, giving you a fascinating and pleasant experience while consuming your favorite media.

The best part is that it’s easy to implement and works on all types of TVs and monitors without affecting picture quality or changing the way you consume your media.

Things you need to make your own Philips Ambilight

  1. A Raspberry Pi 3 or 4. You can also use the Raspberry Pi Zero W.
  2. SD card (8 GB or more)
  3. WS2812B Roll of 5 meters ARGB or NeoPixel LED
  4. A 5V 5A power supply
  5. An HDMI capture card with 4K pass-through and HDCP support. You can also use an HDMI splitter if you can’t find an HDCP compatible pass-through device. The splitter could remove the HDCP. You can look at these best PC capture cards for this project.
  6. Two HDMI cables

You can also build a sound responsive Ambilight WS2812B which reacts to the sound or music coming out of your TV and showing the color around your TV. You can use a WS2812B strip and a D1 Mini or NodeMCU module for this purpose.

Steps to DIY Ambilight for your TV

Follow these simple instructions to make your own DIY Ambilight and install it on any TV or monitor. Let’s start with preparing the storage device.

Step 1: Prepare the SD card

You can install Hyperion on top of the Raspbian OS or use the HyperBian OS that comes with Hyperion installed. We will follow the latter method to install and configure Hyperion as it is simpler and more straightforward. Here are the step by step instructions:

  1. Download the HyperBian operating system from GitHub and install the Raspberry Pi Imager tool on your system.
  2. Connect the micro SD card to the system and launch the Raspberry Pi Imager tool.
  3. Click Choose your operating system to select the HyperBian operating system file, click Choose Storage to select the SD cardthen click Write.
  4. Make sure the card is blank and doesn’t contain anything important. Click Yup to confirm.
  5. After flashing, unplug the card and plug it back in.
  6. Throw File Explorer and open the boot partition.
  7. Right-click on the blank space and select New> Text Document. Rename the file as ssh and remove the .text extension.

MAKE USE OF THE VIDEO OF THE DAY

If you want to connect the Raspberry to the network via Wi-Fi, create a new text file and rename it as wpa_supplicant.conf.

Then, paste the following code into the file wpa_supplicant.conf file. Be sure to replace YOUR_SSID And YOUR PASSWORD with your Wi-Fi SSID and password.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1
country=GB

network={
ssid="YOUR_SSID"
psk="YOUR_PASSWORD"
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
}

Now save and close the file wpa_supplicant.conf file. Remove the SD card from the system and connect it to the Raspberry Pi. Connect the power supply to the Raspberry Pi to turn it on. The first start may take some time, depending on the model.

Step 2: Connect the NeoPixel or WS2812 LED Strip to the Raspberry Pi

You can refer to the diagram below to connect all parts and components together.

  1. Remove the masking on the NeoPixel or WS2812 from the back and glue the strip on the rear panel of the TV around all four corners. Also, count the number of LEDs at all angles and write them down.
  2. Connect the GND, + 5V, and Data pins of the WS2812B strip to the GND, + 5V, and GPIO18 pin headers on the Raspberry Pi, respectively.
  3. Connect the USB capture card to the Raspberry Pi using a USB cable that came with the card.
  4. Connect the HDMI output of your Xbox, Fire TV, PlayStation or any media streaming device to the HDMI input of your capture card.
  5. Connect another HDMI cable to the capture card’s HDMI output and connect it to your TV or monitor.

Finally, connect the 5V 5A power supply to power both the Raspberry Pi and the LED strip. However, we strongly recommend that you use the original power supply to power the Raspberry Pi via Micro USB or USB Type-C depending on the model of the device.

Step 3: Configure Hyperion

Open your system’s web browser and log into your router. Check the DHCP client list to find the HyperBian IP address. You can also use the Fing app for Android and iOS devices to find HyperBian’s IP address.

In the browser window, enter the IP address of your HyperBian with port 8090. For example, 192.168.0.136:8090 and press the log into key. You will see a page similar to the one shown below.

Click on LED interfaces> LED output and enter the total number of LEDs into Hardware LED count field. We are using a 5 meters long WS2812B strip with 300 LEDs (60 LEDs / meter).

After entering the value, click Save your settings.

Click Arrangement of LEDs then enter the number of LEDs at the top, bottom, left and right. Make sure you recount and enter the correct values ​​in the respective fields. Click Save layout.

Click on Hardware capture and then click Activate checkbox below USB acquisition. At this point, make sure the USB capture card is connected to the Raspberry Pi.

Then click Discovered devices drop-down menu and choose the USB capture card. This will open additional settings.

Choose the Device resolution And Frames per second. Don’t select anything more than 720p And 10 FPS, as Hyperion does not need high quality acquisition to display colors via the LED strip. It just needs to detect colors accurately and thus, a lower resolution will work as well, which will also help reduce latency and prevent performance issues.

Once everything is connected, turn on your TV and streaming device. You can then click the monitor icon at the top right to view live video and the colors displayed on the LEDs around the TV or monitor.


At this point, you have completed the Hyperion setup. You can now use double-sided tape to secure the Raspberry Pi and capture card to the back of the TV or monitor.

We used double-sided adhesive tape with velcro that will allow us to detach the Raspberry Pi and the capture card without creating confusion. For this, you glue the double-sided tape to the Raspberry Pi and the TV unit and then attach the velcro strip to the double-sided tape.

Customize Hyperion

You can further customize Hyperion and change some other settings, such as startup animation, loading effects, etc. You can also calibrate the LED colors if the colors displayed on the LED are different from those shown in the live video. If there is significant latency in the color display, lower the resolution.

The best Philips Ambilight alternative

Hyperion is the best alternative to Philips Ambilight, designed for the company’s high-end TVs. Of course, you can purchase and install other readily available solutions to achieve similar Ambilight effects. However, Hyperion is open source and does not require an internet connection or app to function. Also, there is no need to calibrate the colors as it works with the ready-to-use WS2812B or NeoPixel LED strip. It is also easier to set up and configure.


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