Ambilight is an interesting concept, introduced by Phillips that fills the area surrounding a television with light of the same color as is displayed on the edges of the screen. Though it never really took off, dedicated hackers have taken this concept and ran with it, producing DIY builds that can be added to TVs and monitors after the fact. If you’d like to try one yourself, this build looks like a great place to start. You can find even more details from Dave, the creator of this project, on his Parts Not Included blog.
The build uses an array of 80 WS2812B programmable LEDs in a strip looped around the perimeter of his monitor to create a varied lighting effect. Software-wise, he employed his own modified version of Adalight running on an Arduino Nano in order to steam the correct colors. To obtain this data, he used Lightpack running on a PC to grab the necessary edge colors.
The results are stunning, as can be seen in the videos below. The system runs off of a PC on a 24” monitor, though there’s no reason a similar setup couldn’t be used on a full-sized TV using an HTPC. With anything bigger though, one would have to be careful to accommodate the strip’s power requirements, as even this setup required a second power tap.[h/t: Reddit]