Ambient backlights have definitely come a long way over the years. Philips led the way in the early days with specially designed TV’s ($$$) or to a lesser degree, lights that required a camera to be on and positioned at the screen from a distance. This always felt clunky to me and not worth the gimmick. Enter Govee.
Their backlight system is their take on the more cost effective latter method, albeit through a smaller profile camera that can is mounted to the top or bottom of the frame. Not perfect, but definitely workable.
Coming in at under $100 CAD (for a 65″ TV), the cost of novelty is definitely more reasonable. For larger TV’s, there is a 75″-85″ option (the one used in this setup) that will run you about $50 more.
Right out of box, you get everything you would expect with a standard smart lightstrip – LED cable roll, power adaptor, some alcohol wipes and extra 3M tape. The additional orange blocks for configuration, control box and camera is what you’re paying for.
I won’t go into too much detail around the setup since the manual does a decent job with pictorials. A few tips nonetheless:
- The roll starts with the shorter end first, which implies vertical length, then horizontal as you work your way around. There’s no incorrect way to route your cable (clockwise or counterclockwise) behind the TV since you can toggle the direction via the phone app when you configure.
- Start your cable run closest to your power outlet. If your power outlet runs on the left side of the TV, I’d suggest your first mount to be along that side. This way you have less cables running across the back of your TV.
- The distance from the edge of your TV matters. If you place it with minimal distance, you might see it bump out from the side from certain viewing angles. Conversely, if you put it too far from the edges of your TV, the colours will be masked and shallow. I placed my cables around the TV without pressing the stickers firmly until I was happy with its positioning before securing.
- When configuring your camera, the orange blocks are placed at each corner and center position, so that you can see those points clearly in the calibration app. You can skip all that by using this calibration video.
Configuring your App
Pairing the Govee lightstrip is incredibly easy. After downloading the Govee app, simply select the model you have and follow the on screen instructions.
Oddly enough, I found the out of box settings to provide a terrible picture. The colours are extremely saturated and the reds are overbearing. The type of first impression that made me contemplate returning it! The good news however, is this is actually quite an easy fix.
Configuring the camera. The best tip I found on this was to position the camera points slightly below the orange blocks when configuring (for undermount cameras).
Configuring the video. This is totally up to the ambience you want to create. However I strongly recommend dialing back the brightness and saturation. I have my brightness at around 30%, and saturation around that point too. Once you have the app updated, you’ll unlock new features like white balance. Lastly, I disabled the sound sync as I found it too visually distracting when watching movies with background music.
Once you’ve properly configured your video settings, your next question will likely be how you can integrate the solution with your Smarthome.
Google & Alexa Support. Since Govee has built in integration, you can simply add Govee as a partner through the Home and Alexa apps. This enables automated voice controls so you can toggle it on and off via app shortcuts or voice. While it works extremely well, it still leaves something to be desired since the lights are treated as a separate product than your television.
Special Smart Power Bars. While I don’t have this solution yet, this is ultimately the way to do it in my opinion. There are particular smart power bars which allow you to configure peripheral devices based on the power feed to a primary device. In this case, we’d plug the TV to the primary and the Govee to the secondary. This would naturally automate the on/off backlights to work in parallel with television.
Do you need one?
Before you pull the trigger on one, this will come down to two things. Will ambient light will be a distraction? and secondly, can you live with a camera poking out from the top or bottom of your screen. Mine lives below our screen and above the soundbar, so I’m happy to say it pretty much disappeared after the first few hours.
If you can live with the concessions above, then for the price, novelty and quality of Govee, I would absolutely recommend this. I actually liked it so much, I decided to become an affiliate partner just to share my experience!
If you decide this is something you want to try, I would greatly appreciate it if you used my link here! While browsing, I encourage you to explore their ecosystem of ambient and lighting solutions.
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