Ambient lighting for your telly with Raspberry Pi

I’m exhaustively (re-)watching all Star Trek ever, including the undeservedly neglected early-1970s animated series, and (obviously) the films. What would make it even better would be finding the time and tuits to enhance the experience with ambient lighting for my TV. Not the expensive off-the-shelf kind; the kind you make yourself at a fraction of the cost. You can do it with the help of a Raspberry Pi and our handy tutorial.

A TV screen displaying purple, pink, and yellow blobs on a blue background, with ambient lighting extending the colours onto the wall behind it
Ambient lighting makes these blobs even more hypnotically appealing

How to set up TV ambient lighting yourself

Our add ambient lighting to your TV tutorial takes you through everything you need to know: from all the parts you need to get hold of, to setting up your SD card, to preparing the wires and connecting up all the hardware, to final software setup.

An LED strip attached to the rear of a TV, folded to take it around a corner
One option for taking your LED strip around the corners of your TV

I’m currently watching Star Trek slightly more slowly than new Trek is appearing, which is fantastic, because it hints at the delightful prospect of living out my days without EVER running out of new-to-me Trek. And that’s not even counting all of the books (many of which are brilliant, by the way). I will have led a charmed life. It also means that getting round to sorting out my LED strips is something that will still be worth doing no matter how long it takes me. A realistic estimate is “perhaps some time late next decade, after the kids have left home.”

Even more tutorials

The only thing is, I’m not sure whether I can cope with the new Gorn episodes being extra-immersive. I can’t even watch Doctor Who without a cushion to hide behind. But that’s for me to deal with. Everyone else, you’ll find our growing collection of tutorials here. If you give any of them a try, please drop us a line in the comments to let us know how it goes.

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