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Everything You Need to Trick Out Your Home Theater or Gaming Rig's Lighting

Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft

You’ve installed a new graphics card, you’ve added a ton of LEDs to your case, but your gaming PC isn’t quite complete. What you could really use is some ambient lighting behind your monitor to make the whole thing really pop. Here’s what you need to make your rig glow.

Ambient lighting—or bias lighting, as its sometimes called—serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, having light behind your monitor makes it a little easier on your eyes, so there’s not this sharp light drop off in your peripheral vision. The other purpose... is that it makes your rig look friggin’ sweet.

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With that in mind, here are a few options to light up your gaming life.

Philips Hue Play

You can attach up to three Philips Hue Play bars behind your screen to project custom, colorful light onto the wall behind.
Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft

Philips Hue lights are one of the more expensive options you can go with, but they’re also the coolest. The Hue Play light bar comes with all the same color options as Philips’ usual color light bulbs. You can splash whatever color you like behind your TV (if you’re watching it through a PC or Mac running the Hue Sync app), and even change it up based on what you’re watching. May I recommend red for Stranger Things?

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Philips Hue LightStrip

The Philips Hue Lightstrip can be synced with a PC or Mac to mirror the colors on your screen onto the wall behind your screen, and the effect is unparalleled.
Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft

A slight variation on the Hue Play, the Hue LightStrip comes with one special super power. With the Hue Sync app, you can make the lights behind your TV mirror what’s on your display. While this is technically possible with Hue Play, the effect works a lot better on an LED strip, since you can create more regional-specific lighting. If the left side of your screen is red, and the right is blue, then your LED strip—run around the edge of the back of your monitor—can shine the appropriate colors. To get the same effect with the Hue Play, you’d need multiple units. This method is easier, but still fairly expensive.

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Koogeek Smart Strips

Koogeek’s dimmable light strip can display any color, and works with all the major voice assistants, at a much lower cost than the equivalent Philips Hue kit. It doesn’t have anything like the Hue Sync app though.
Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft
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If you don’t care about syncing your lights to your PC, then you can save a lot of money with these strips from Koogeek. They’re still fairly smart, connecting to Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s HomeKit so you can turn your lights on or off and change their colors with just your voice. At its base price, it’s roughly half the cost of its Philips Hue counterpart, with more than half the features.

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DreamColor Remote Control Strips

If you don’t need voice assistant support, this affordable DreamColor LED strip still supports smartphone control, and is the cheapest option on this list by a longshot.
Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft

If you want the cheapest option you can possibly get, then DreamColor is the way to go. It’s another LED strip that you can run along the back of your monitor. However, it doesn’t have any of the fancy smart home features. Instead, you control it with a small remote control or an app on your phone. You wont be able to use those slick voice commands, but for the price, it’s hard to beat.

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Nanoleaf Futuristic Light Panels

Rather than mounting to the back of your screen, Nanoleaf light panels stick directly to your wall in any pattern you want, and let you create some stunning looking light patterns.
Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft
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Is lighting up the wall behind your computer not flashy enough for you? Do you have just a crap ton of money to burn? Nanoleaf’s light panels might be for you. It’s not the most budget friendly option by a long shot, but it does, however, allow for some baller lighting set ups. The panels are insanely bright and support the usual 16 million colors. Each panel can output its own color and you can arrange them in any pattern you want. This gives you a lot of flexibility to design an eye-catching light piece behind your rig that gives you a bit of the bias light benefit while giving any visitors something to talk about.


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About the author

Eric Ravenscraft

Freelance writer for The Inventory.