The MediaLight Mk2 looks very different from our previous models. It has been completely redesigned. Before we get into installation, I want to outline the changes and explain why we made them.
First, you'll notice that the strip uses a zigzag pattern. This was done because, instead of older units that relied on multiple strips all connected to the same 4-way splitter, we've optimized the strip to run as a single piece around 3 or 4 sides, or in an inverted-U on the back of the display.
Unlike the older MediaLight Flex, there is no trick to turning corners. The strip will easily turn corners.
You don't need to make sharp 90 degree turns. It's better to make slightly looser turns so that you don't touch the strip to itself, or break any of the LEDs or resistors.
The strip material is flexible but some of the electronics on it are not. Take care not to "snap" any of the LEDs or solder joints. Of course, we will cover the strip if it is damaged during installation, but exercising care on the corners will avoid this issue. Loose turns are better than sharp 90 degree turns. Our video above shows a good example of a loose turn.
1) The Mk2 units only include a .5m (half meter) extension cord. That's pretty short, right? We did this to be stingy -- but NOT with money.
We're being stingy with ELECTRICITY so that we can run longer lengths with less voltage drop than previous models. The old Quad strips were split into 4 strips to spread the voltage drop more evenly among the 4 strips, but this resulted in lower maximum brightness and a rat's nest of wires. The Mk2 is streamlined for a much cleaner and easier installation.
We're using a pure copper wire to reduce resistance to the strip, but because the Mk2 Flex is designed to run off of 5v USB power, reducing the length of the wire increases the maximum brightness of the strip by about 15%. Combined with the extension cord, the dimmer and the switch, you still have 4 feet (1.2 meters) of total wire. Without the .5 extension, the total length of wire, including the switch and dimmer is 2.4 feet. If you need to run power a great distance, the better way to do it is via a 110v or 220v (depending on your region) extension cord.
Ever notice why USB charging cables for your phone aren't over 5m (usually, they are much shorter, not longer than 10 feet/3m). It's because you can't run USB power very far without voltage drop due to resistance. The power company doesn't run a 110v extension cord to your house either. You need high voltage lines to get electricity from the power plant to your house.
Well, the same applies for your MediaLight Mk2.
If your wall outlet is 20 feet away, you can run a 110v or 220v extension cord without losing voltage for your lights and TV. Otherwise, it's best to power directly from the TV or from a nearby power strip. The Eclipse still includes a 4ft extension, because the Eclipse is so short that it barely draws any power (under 300mA, in case you are wondering).
The new Mk2 chips are extremely efficient (making longer, brighter 5v strips possible), but we need to reduce the resistance between the USB plug and the strip to achieve these lengths.
If you want super-bright LEDs, we offer 12v and 24v options (and an 800 lumen bulb), but powering bias lights from a TV is about convenience, less wiring and (in some/most cases) having the lights turn on and off with the TV. (Sony Bravia doesn't do this last bit very well. It turns off but doesn't know how to stay off and turns on and off like crazy when the TV is off). We've offered 12v strips for years, but you don't need or want bias lights to be super bright. That's why we include a dimmer. Even with 5v USB power, the lights are far too bright without using a dimmer. Where higher voltage comes into play is when you want to use strips as longer accent lighting around a room.
2) The new strips look silver, they don't look like copper, but they are alloy-immersed copper.
All of our PCB strips are pure copper, but to increase the lifespan of the strip, to prevent oxidation and to improve the connection quality between the surface mount LEDs and the PCB strip, they are coated with an alloy immersion.
This is what they look like before they are immersed and cut and before the LEDs and resistors are soldered on:
This RoHS-compliant process coats the copper with an alloy consisting of zinc, nickel and tin. Scratching this coating off isn't a problem, it's the layer between the LEDs and the strip (under the LED where you can't see it) that is most important.
There is an added advantage of the alloy immersion. It is a more spectrally-neutral color than exposed copper. However, I'm not going to lie. The difference is negligible. It doesn't change the correlated color temperature by much -- about 20K. Using a black PCB has a much greater influence on final color temperature. We've tested white strips that resulted in shifts of up to 200K.
There are other changes.
We've transitioned from the chips in the previous MediaLight Single Strip, Flex and Quad models to the custom Colorgrade Mk2 chip (a 2835 SMD with a custom phosphor mixture). The CRI has been increased from 95 Ra to ≥ 98 Ra. The TLCI increased from 95 to 99. It is, quite frankly, beautiful light.
We've been working on this chip ever since the release of the MediaLight Pro and the chip offers MediaLight Pro-level spectral consistency and extremely high CRI/TLCI at a lower price-per-meter than our original MediaLight version 1.
OK, enough explaining the design (for now). You want to know how to install this thing.
What's in the box (for the Mk2 Flex 2m-6m)
1) On/off toggle switch with USB male plug
2) MediaLight Mk2 Flex light strip
3) Dimmer with infrared receiver (remote will not work without connecting the dimmer)
4) Remote control
5) .5m extension cord. Only use it if you need it. If you are powering from the TV's USB port, you probably don't need it, and you will use less power if you omit it.
6) Approved AC adapter (North America only).
7) Wire routing clips. Use these to tidy the wiring and/or to help position the IR receiver for the dimmer. Larger MediaLight Mk2 units include more clips.
When installing the new MediaLight Mk2 on your display, if you are going around 3 or 4 sides, for example, when your display is on a wall mount:
1) Measure 2 inches from the edge of the display (if you don't have a ruler handy, the "MediaLight" logo rectangle on all sides of the Mk2 Flex box- not including the red, green & blue "M" is slightly more than 2 inches long). The box is also slightly less than 2 inches thick (about 1 3/4 inches).
2) Start going up the side of the display on the side closest to the USB port, starting from the POWER (plug) END of the strip. If you are plugging into the TV's USB port, you probably don't need to use the .5m extension that we included. Leave it off (if you can) for a neater installation.
This will make it easy to cut off any excess length when you are done. If your display does not have a USB port, start going up the display on the side closest to the power source, whether it's a power strip or external box as found on some displays. If it's directly in the center, I don't know what to tell you. Flip a coin. :)
By the way, if you accidentally cut the power end, we'll send you a replacement for free, but we're probably going to have a good laugh. It seems to happen most often with very brilliant people at hallowed institutions, so we think it's a sign of very high intelligence, but it happens a few times a year and we still laugh at it.
Your lights are covered under the industry-leading warranty for 5 years and we cover botched installations, so don't stress too much. If you make a mess of the MediaLight Mk2, just contact us.
3) If you need to cut extra length from a strip, you can cut it at the white line that crosses every pair of contacts. Cut on the line below:
That should cover everything for most wall mounted installations.
The following "inverted-U" instructions apply when using a 2m (or less) strip to a display on a stand. In other words, when you are not trying to go around 3 edges:
This guide will work as long as you ordered the correct size for your display from our sizing chart.
Here's a temporary video that I made while crashing at a hotel during the recent hurricane-related blackout (always travel with bias lighting ;)). We will replace it in September with something permanent, but it's short and sweet. In this case, it's a 1m strip on a 42 inch display, but this works for a 2m or 3m strip on a larger display.
How do I install a MediaLight Mk2 when my display is on a stand?
1) Locate the center of the strip by placing the beginning of the strip near the end of the strip and finding the midpoint. You can also count LEDs. There are 30 LEDs per meter. If the strip is 2 meters long, the contacts between the 30th and 31st LED are the midpoint.
2) Locate the center of the TV of the back of the display. You can mark the center with a piece of masking tape or even mark it with chalk or even, gently, with a pencil eraser. Measure approximately 1/3 of the way from the top of the display. This does not have to be exact! This "1/3 of the way down rule" only applies when using a strip that is shorter than 3 sides of the display!
If you have 3m for a 65" display, follow the usual guidelines of 2" from the edge of the display on all sides.
Note: If the sides of your display are curved, it's ok to place the lights a bit further in from the edge -- either where the display's rear panel is parallel to the wall, or far enough from the edge to prevent direct line of sight with the LEDs from where you'd be viewing.
3) Start by attaching the center of the strip to the center of the display and work your way to the sides of the display. It may help to cut the red plastic backing at the midway point. You can do this by gently pulling it away from the strip.
When using the inverted-U, 1/2 of the total LEDs on the strip should comprise the horizontal portion 1/3 from the top. So, if it's a 2m strip, the horizontal part should be approximately 30 LEDs (1 meter) across. There should be the remaining ~15 LEDs down each side. If it is a 3 meter strip, there should be 46 LEDs horizontal LEDs and 22 LEDs down each side.
For a TV on a stand, bias lights are typically placed at the 1/3 mark because you really don't want to light the TV stand, any center channel speakers or sound bars, or other tzotchkes that might be sitting on the TV console.
If your display has uneven surfaces on the back (i.e. the LG or Panasonic OLED "humps,") it's better to leave an air gap and span those gap with a 45 degree angle than to follow the contours of the display. (I know that it looks like this illustration was made by a 12 year old).
If you follow harsher contours, where the LED beams face away from each other, you can end up with "fanning" or a scalloped look at those positions. It doesn't impact the effectiveness, but the halo won't look as smooth as it could. This also keeps the halo nice and consistent on flush wall mounts. If you are further from the wall, fanning isn't as common.
If you are reading this and totally baffled, please don't fret. Contact me via our chat (lower right of this page). I'll be adding more photos and videos in the coming days. We'll get your MediaLight Mk2 up and running in no time.