I think it was Phillips or LG who first came out with LED backlighting in their flatscreen TV’s about a decade ago. I thought it was a novelty and for the most part, it never caught on with the general public. But now with the mass production of LED multi-color strip lighting, this feature can be easily and cheaply added on to just about anything.
I was asked to test out the Coliben LED backlighting kit for TV’s. Honestly, I didn’t have much interest in an LED backlighting system for my TV. It reminded me too much of Rice Rocket Tuners (cars). But I thought I’d give it a shot and see what all the hype was about.
The unit came in a graphic box without any branding or logo. Inside was the kit which included the LED strip inside an old-school 8mm film/magnetic tap reel. The unit had a small user manual which went over the controls using their App on your smartphone but it lacked physical installation instructions?
I did some Googling and looked at photos and videos of similar products and figured out the install process. The LED strips come in 4 segments, each connected with a short cable section which form the corners. The strips were self-adhesive on the back and the segments were to be applied to back side of your flatscreen. Depending on the size and design of your TV, the placement of each segment would vary.
The LED strip connected to a control box with a built-in camera on a stalk, which would hang over your TV and look back at the screen. The control box had 3M adhesive strips on one side but the design did not lend itself to securely attaching to the back of my TV (or at least not in the way I thought it should). I tried attaching LEGO bricks to the control box to try and secure it. But ultimately I ended up using additional double-stick adhesive gel strips to adhere the box to the back of my TV in a less obtrusive fashion.
The control box has two USB-A ports. You can plug in the LED strip to either. A separate 4.4mm jack powers the unit via a wall plug. The box has an on-off-reset button on the “front” but the unit is primarily controlled using a smartphone App. The manual did cover the calibration process and the App was fairly easy to use.
In use, the color lighting was fascinating but I did find it a bit distracting. In it’s “default” multi-color mode, the colors rendered were not 100% reflective of all of the colors in the TV screen. Black areas on video footage get translated into intense blue LED colors. Using the App, custom color pallets/moods could be selected. There were also Audio-Sync modes where the colors would pulse or change depending on the beat/sound heard by control unit’s build-in mic.
Initially, I wasn’t that keen in installing mood lighting in my house. But after trying it, I can see (literally) the attraction. The Coliben is an inexpensive way to enhance your video setup. But the install process wasn’t dummy proof and it has issues which can be resolved:
• Lacks clear installation instructions
• Control box design is not well thought out
• Unit should have been designed also run off a USB-C port and allow for connecting to a TV’s USB port.
• Colors not 100% true to the scene
• Requiring the installation of a smartphone App, along with the unit’s built-in mic and camera make me a little uneasy from a personal privacy standpoint
Products available on Amazon
Coliban LED Backlight Kit: https://amzn.to/3B6uKXM
Heavy Duty Clear Mounting Tape: https://amzn.to/3RR3OC7