Which length of bias lighting do I need for my TV?
We have size charts on all of our product pages, but we are still asked to confirm the correct size dozens of times per day. This means that people must really be unsure about whether "our rules" apply to their TVs, and whether they should be putting the lights on all sides of their display, or only 3 sides.
Which length of MediaLight (or LX1) to get depends on whether you want lights on 3 sides of the display (omitting the bottom) or 4 sides. Both are equally effective, but there are times when you'd want to omit the bottom.
Generally speaking, you should put lights on only 3 sides when you have any of the following:
Obstructions - like a TV on a stand when there is nowhere for the light to pass below the TV. Another example is a sound bar or center channel speaker directly below the TV (directly means virtually touching all the way up to a few inches below).
Distractions - like a mess of wires or a bunch of stuff under the TV (set-top boxes, vases, framed photos, etc). Out of sight, out of mind!
Reflections - If the TV is on a glass tabletop or directly above (within 4-5 inches) a glossy soundbar or center channel speaker, it's probably going to cause glare. Better to omit lights.
4 sides are best when the TV is on a wall mount, but you can't really go wrong with 3 sides. If none of the above apply, you can probably put lights on 4 sides. In the worst case, detach the bottom.
Now, how do we determine the correct length?
You will find a chart below, but to find out how long the strip needs to be for lights on 4 sides of your display, just take the size of your 16:9 display (the vast majority of displays are 16:9) in inches and divide by 15. Round up to the next larger size.
So, round up and you see that you need a *5 meter* strip.
For 3 sides of lights, take the size of your display and divide it by 23. Round up!
65/23 = 2.83
So, round up to a 3 meter strip.
These recommendations assume that the lights are installed at the preferred 2 inches from the edge of the display.
The third column in the sizing chart below causes some confusion, and I'm on the fence about discontinuing the third column for the sake of simplicity, even though it's workable in many situations where a TV or monitor is on a stand versus a wall mount.
One place where the "display on a stand" installation works really well is on most smaller computer monitors up to 32", although I've used a 1 meter eclipse on a 55" Sony Bravia and was able to set reference levels against a light gray wall.
So, the Mk2 Eclipse 1 meter remains the recommendation for computer displays even though it is typically not long enough to go around 3 sides if it was placed at the edge. If you are wondering why, feel free to email me. There are a bunch of reasons and they might be a bit too detailed for this post.
However, as you can see, the MediaLight Mk2 Eclipse is usually not long enough to go around 3 sides and it looks great, with a soft and even surround.
In the "display on a stand" inverted-U installation, we are placing the lights further from the edge and we don't have enough length to go around 3 sides of the display if we were at the recommended 3 inches form the edge.
For example, perhaps we are placing a 2 meter strip on a 65" display. To go around the edges, we'd need 2.8 meters. So, how do we go around 3 sides with only 2 meters? we place the MediaLight much further from the edge of the display.
Some people prefer this because it results in a looser and more diffuse halo, which is more consistent with what you might have seen with the older MediaLight Single Strip back in the day (a single horizontal strip across the back of the TV), or the older Ideal-Lume luminaires. In those situations, the lights are further from the edge, so you are running them at a higher brightness level to account for luminance falloff from the center of the TV. Think of how the light looks dimmer the further you get from the center of the reflection. If it's dead-center, there's going to be a lot of falloff before the reaches the edge.
Some people also preferred this method because it can cost a lot less. Now that we offer a lower cost option, LX1, and the price difference between 1m and 2m is only $5 versus $20, I feel that this method isn't as helpful.
Also, the LX1 does not include a .5m extension cord, so there are some situations where you might not be able to attach a shorter strip to the TV's USB port (the cord might not reach the edge of the TV where most, but not all, manufacturers place the USB).
If you are in-between sizes you might be able to use a slightly smaller strip. 3.11 is in-between 3 and 4. 3.33 is not. When in doubt, round up because you can always cut off any excess MediaLight or LX1.
For *computer monitors not on a wall mount*, you can use a 1 meter strip. The chart shows you what that would look like.
**Sometimes TVs have a pronounced "hump" on the bottom. This is common with a lot of ultra-thin OLED displays to house the electronics and speakers. You can still run lights on the bottom unless the lights would be touching the wall. Ideally, you want about 1-2" away from the wall. The thicker bottom would not look as bright and the "halo" would be narrower at the bottom, but it doesn't look bad.
We have more information about installing lights over these humps on our installation page.