Screen matched fully addressable LED ambient lighting lets the images on your televisions and monitors appear to break free from the screen.


Hey gang, Tim here at Core Electronics and today we're breaking your tellies and monitors free from the confines of their edges with Hyperbian.

This here is an open source Ambilight setup utilizing a Raspberry Pi. I'm going to show you exactly how I set one up here which has a crazy amount of LED lights, 250 plus, and teach you how you can do something similar at your Megaverse. And all without soldering.

The effect that is happening here is the LEDs on the back are matching the colour shown on the edge of the display. This means the same light is radiating onto the wall behind your monitor or your TV thus acting as a surface to diffuse the light. It makes for a real nice effect in the dark.

Worth noting this will only work for HDMI devices and not work for your TV's native UI.

You're going to need a couple of goodies to make this setup work. Firstly a HDMI USB capture card, three HDMI cords, a 5 volt DC 4 amp power plug, a microSD 16 gigabyte card, and a way to attach it to a computer so you can flash it, a HDMI splitter, a DC barrel jack adapter, three jumper wires male to female, double-sided tape, zip ties, and a Raspberry Pi 4 model B. I've been using a 2 gigabyte for this. You can do this with a lower powered Pi but there may be a slight delay to the LED colors unless the resolution being captured by the HDMI USB capture card is turned right down.

For a long-term setup a case for the Raspberry Pi would definitely be a good idea. As an option a HDMI switcher would be a good addition to this build if you want multiple sources of HDMI to work seamlessly with your Ambilight.

Naturally you're also going to want a long enough length of WS2812 LED strips, also known as NeoPixel strips. I would recommend using a lowerDensity than the ones that I have here. Also, a small screwdriver and some scissors will be very helpful.

Attaching the LED strips to the back of the monitor, I've done using double-sided tape and folding the LED strip around itself to make the corners and then securing the corners with zip ties. These very dense LED strips that I've used here were only one meter long so I had to combine two strips together. I did this using the connectors and hardware already attached and then taped it all together. This does affect the light a little bit but it's hardly noticeable. In your project, if you wanted to fix this, you could pull out the soldering iron, solder, and some wires and tidy it all up. But this project, we're keeping solder-free so let's not do that today.

Let's crack on with the connection starting by filling the HDMI plugs of the splitter following my schematic. Hopefully, you can read that. Output 2, Input, Output 1. One of the HDMI outputs is going to go to the USB video capture device which will then go directly into the Raspberry Pi. The other output is going to go to our TV or monitor. This input is attached to whatever media device you want.

I've stripped the two wires with our connections coming from the LEDs just a little so they can connect to the DC power jack. The white cable is the negative and the red is the positive power.

Focusing now on the wires coming off the LED strip, the one which have a connection, attach jumper cables to each. It's always good practice to use the same colors. Here the red wire is the power wire which I attach to the 5V power pin on the Raspberry Pi. This wire will power up the Raspberry Pi from the same power supply. If you are using a larger power supply than the 4 amps one.That I'm using here, I would power the Raspberry Pi instead via the official USB-C power supply and not connect this red wire.

The green wire is a signal wire which I attached to the GPIO18 pin on the Raspberry Pi. The white wire is the ground wire so I attach that to a ground pin on the Raspberry Pi.

And with that everything is connected. We can now power up all the systems but first we will take our microSD and flash it. Here on screen I'm flashing Hyperbian to the SD card. Link down in the description for the download location for Hyperbian.

Once that is complete we're going to turn on SSH and provide the Raspberry Pi with the details for an internet network. We're going to do that using files we leave in the boot folder. We already have great guides on how to flash cards and how to do just that on the website, link down below to those.

Having done this, whenever we turn the Raspberry Pi on from now on it's going to create an options menu which we can access from any device on our local network by typing to the browser's URL the IP address of the Pi with a semicolon 8090.

So I'm going to plug in the power for the DC power jack, wait less than 20 seconds and find that option menu on my computer right now.

Start by opening up the LED hardware tab which looks like this. Change the controller type to WS281X in the LED controller tab. Change the RGB byte order to GRB in the LED controller tab. This will allow you to display the right colors from your LEDs. Configure the number of LEDs you have in your setup in the LED controller tab.

Now in the LED layout tab you're going to configure where your LEDs start, in what direction you lay them down on your monitor and how many LEDs are on each side of your monitor as well.Back in the LED layout preview menu, it will give you the max power consumption. This would only occur if all these LEDs go fully white and are at 100% brightness. Because I have way too many LEDs for this monitor, we will need to throttle that power.

Here in the image processing under the colour calibration menu, you can lower the max brightness of your LEDs by a percentage value. Under heavy use, a Raspberry Pi 4 model B uses a little less than 1 amp, so that can be our baseline requirements for the Raspberry Pi. I have a 4 amp power supply, so that leaves us with 3 amps to drive all of these LEDs. To give us wiggle room, even though this application will never be driving all the LEDs at full brightness, we will turn the max brightness to a 10% value, but you could go all the way to 15% if you wanted to.

Since we're also in this menu, scroll down and enable the black border detection. Next, pop into the capturing hardware section and turn off enable platform capture and turn on enable USB capture. Also, we will lower the resolution of the HDMI capture card to make the computing power of the Raspberry Pi lower. This will mean the LED lights will run in sync without a delay, which can be done by changing the device's resolution setting right here. I use 720 by 480 and with that, you're done.

Everything should look similar to this on the dashboard. You could also click this button here to see what the USB capture device sees, which is excellent for troubleshooting. So with that, let's attach something to the input HDMI, get something on the screen, and you can see the lights on the back running. I've just connected it all up with a YouTube video with a whole bunch of colors, and you can see the LEDs dancing all the way around as they.Should. There are many kinds of LED light effects you can do with Hyperion and you can find these effects in the remote control section in the menu.

Apart from cool party lights you can also use this setup as an eye strain relief particularly if you're like me and you enjoy watching movies in the dark. If you project a simple soothing yellow tone behind your TV it's going to ease pressure on your eyes and let you get to sleep faster when you're done watching.

So with that, that's all for today. Hopefully you've learned something and you're impressed as me by this method of controlling addressable LED lights.

So until next time, stay cozy.


Please continue if you would like to leave feedback for any of these topics:

  • Website features/issues
  • Content errors/improvements
  • Missing products/categories
  • Product assignments to categories
  • Search results relevance

For all other inquiries (orders status, stock levels, etc), please contact our support team for quick assistance.

Note: click continue and a draft email will be opened to edit. If you don't have an email client on your device, then send a message via the chat icon on the bottom left of our website.

Makers love reviews as much as you do, please follow this link to review the products you have purchased.