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Don’t Watch Movies the Old Way Because the Best TV Backlights Extend the Action Beyond the Screen

TV backlighting (also known as bias lighting) is one of the coolest ways to enhance your next movie-watching or gaming experience. Typically sold as spools or strands of LED light strips, these adhesive segments stick to the back of whatever display you’re using, adding some extra illumination to the areas behind and around the screen.

Great for reducing eye-strain, and even better for adding some customizable panache to your A/V peripherals, the best TV backlighting systems are easy to install, require little in the way of setup, and are packed with all kinds of fun and interactive features; from lighting timers and schedules to color and brightness adjustments. 

What is Bias Lighting?

Have you ever felt eye fatigue or gotten a bit of a headache (or maybe a full-blown migraine) after hours of watching your favorite movies or TV shows? Chances are your TV’s internal backlighting is to blame. And unless you’re rocking an OLED set (and cheers to you if you are!), your TV is likely outfitted with bright, energy-efficient LEDs that can make colors and contrast leap right off the screen.

Unfortunately, high lighting exposure can start to wear on the brain and body. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthamology (first referenced here by Popular Science), a bright screen in a dark room forces our eyes to work extra-hard, leading to things like blurred vision, headaches, and an overall bad attitude when watching YouTube videos late at night. And guess what? Simply turning down your TV’s internal backlighting can mess with things like local dimming, colors and contrast. But that’s where bias lighting comes in to save the day.

Used for a myriad of entertainment and workstation displays, bias lighting refers to any kind of low-wattage lighting source that throws a little extra illumination around or behind whatever screen your eyes are glued to for long periods of time. Now thanks to the exciting world of smart home tech, bias lighting doesn’t have to be as boring as a little lamp that you stick behind your QLED. In fact, many smart lighting companies have come up with all kinds of automated lighting solutions that push basic bias arrays into full-on cinematic companions; complete with color-changing and brightness controls, microphones for rhythmic music syncing, and so much more.

Remember when mother said not to play Crash Bandicoot with the lights off? It appears she was right after all (but you don’t have to admit it). Now make her proud by investing in one of these incredible TV backlighting products that we’ve gathered here for you.

John Velasco | SPY

The Best TV Backlights: At a Glance

best overall

Philips Hue Gradient Lightstrip

Buy Now On Amazon $259.96 Jump to Details
best bundle

Govee DreamView T1 Pro

Buy Now On Amazon $139.99 Jump to Details
best for small tvs

Bason SMD 5050 Light Strip

Buy Now On Amazon $13.99 Jump to Details
best on a budget

Gosund SL1 Smart TV LED Backlight

Buy Now On Amazon $9.99 Jump to Details
best hub-less option

Sengled Smart LED Backlight

Buy Now On Amazon $22.99 Jump to Details
best light strip alternative

Philips Hue Play Light

Buy Now On Amazon $77.89 Jump to Details
also consider

Govee RGBIC TV LED Backlight

Buy Now On Amazon $21.99 Jump to Details
Best splurge

Govee Envisual TV LED Backlight T2

Buy Now On Amazon $139.99 Jump to Details
best overall

$259.96 $309.98 16% off

Buy Now On Amazon

Best For: Those that want the best options and customizations that a TV backlighting system can offer.
Why We Chose It: Philips Hue is one of the best smart lighting brands out there, and if you’re looking for some truly cool automations and expansion controls, Philips Hue won’t disappoint. 

Read More: Philips Hue and Samsung Collab Brings Synchronized Smart Lighting to Your Living Room

Key Specs:

  • Comes with Philips Hue Hub
  • Uses Zigbee
  • 60 light sources
  • Corded electric power

When we hear Philips Hue, we know one thing for sure: the product is going to cost more than most, but that’s why we’ve been saving up our allowance; because when it comes to smart bulbs and light strips, Philips Hue is simply the best, bar-none. Now enter the Philips Hue Gradiant Lightstrip bundle.

Yes, $260 is a lot to ask for some multi-colored LED lights, but there’s far more here than meets the eye. For starters, this lighting package comes with the much-sought Philips Hue Hub, a vital component for expanding the customizations of your lighting and Hue ecosystem. This is also the peripheral you’ll need if you want your lighting to react to movies, shows, and gaming in realtime; brightening, dimming, and changing colors right before your eyes. Just imagine what it will be like when the Jammers (a sports team we made up) score a touchdown and your living room becomes a simulated fireworks festival! 

We also love the super-simple mounting system that the Gradient Lightstrip comes with, and while we’ve chosen the 55-inch option as our go-to pick, you can also purchase the system (with the Hue Hub) for both 65- and 75-inch sizes, too. 


  • Powerful brightness and color 
  • Can be controlled with multiple voice assistants
  • Can be paired with other Philips Hue products
  • A bevy of customization options


  • Expensive
best bundle

Best For: Controlling individual sections of your TV’s LED light strips.
Why We Chose It: Govee lighting products have always been a SPY favorite, and with the DreamView’s highly-interactive controls and additional light bars, there’s no beating the type of illumination you’ll be introducing to your living room.

Review: Govee RGBIC TV Backlight Brings the Upside Down to Your Living Room

Key Specs: 

  • Corded electric power
  • Includes TV backlighting, two light bars, and 1080p camera
  • 150 light sources

Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, the amazing Govee DreamView T1 Pro is one of our favorite TV backlighting systems. As part of Govee’s DreamView suite of LED light strip products, one of our favorite elements of this phenomenal illumination package is the inclusion of independent control chips (IC). These allow you to dim, brighten, and change the colors of individual light strip sections, making for one of the most customizable entertainment experiences out there.

That’s on top of video and audio syncing, which automatically changes lighting based on the movies, TV shows, and video games you’re currently steeped in. And what’s even better is that this Govee bundle also comes with two lighting bars and a 1080p camera for decking out your media hub with all kinds of kaleidoscopic visuals. 


  • Includes extra lighting bars and camera
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Govee app allows for all kinds of customizations 
  • Individual control of lighting strip sections


  • Reactive lighting can be a little finicky
  • A little expensive
best for small tvs

Best For: Smaller TVs and computer monitors.
Why We Chose It: The Bason SMD 5050 lets you add some extra illumination to your small TV viewing experience. 

Read More: The Best Smart Bulbs

Key Specs: 

  • Up to 4,096 colors
  • 8 brightness levels
  • Requires USB power

Bason may not not receive the sheer fanfare of lighting brands like Philips Hue and Govee, but if you’re looking for cost-effective LED backlighting for a smaller TV or monitor, the SMD 5050 is one of the best bets. Unfortunately, if you’re all about apps, voice assistants, and IFTTT for immersive illumination, this Bason package can only be controlled with the included remote. That being said, the SMD 5050 delivers many of the same RGB hues of much higher-priced lighting packages, including multiple color options, brightness controls, and a few rhythmic flashing-light presets. 

We love that there’s even an integrated Sleep mode for those of us that doze off during Jeopardy, and thanks to low-voltage USB power (just make sure your TV has a free USB port), whenever you turn on or off your TV, your Bason lights will toggle, too.


  • Inexpensive
  • Customizable colors, brightness, and timers
  • Easy install
  • Great for smaller TVs and monitors


  • Can only be controlled with remote
  • Not as advanced as other lighting options
best on a budget

Best For: An inexpensive addition to your A/V lighting experience.
Why We Chose It: This Gosound SL1 looks and performs like it should cost somewhere around $70, but  the 9-footer is only $10!

Read More: The Best LED Light Strips

Key Specs: 

  • Connects to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
  • Available in 9.2 and 32.8-foot spools
  • Corded electric power
  • Best for 30 to 60-inch TVs

This cool little system from the folks at Gosound is one of the least expensive options on our list, and believe it or not, you’ll be able to link this 9-foot strand of lights to your home Wi-Fi. Once you download the Go_Sund_App and link up with your 2.4GHz network, you’ll be able to customize and automate to your heart’s content. 

With plenty of color-changing capabilities, dimming controls, scene selections, and Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, you’ll never run out of awesome ways to stylize your living room’s illumination. We’re also big fans of the integrated microphone that reacts to ambient music in the TV room, because nothing says “impromptu dance party” like a web-connected smart home!


  • A great value
  • Pairs directly to Wi-Fi (no hub required)
  • Plenty of controls and customizations in Gosund app
  • Can sync to music
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant


  • Not the best instructions
best hub-less option

Best For: Adding illumination via Alexa and Google Assistant.
Why We Chose It: The Sengled W1G-N84 comes with multiple lighting strands and multiple sizes, making it easy to connect them to pretty much any TV or display.

Read More: The Best Neon Lighting

Key Specs: 

  • Up to 16 million color options
  • 9.84 feet long (can be cut into 5-inch sections)
  • Connects directly to Wi-Fi (no hub required)

Full disclosure: We’re big fans of all and everything Sengled at SPY, so of course we’re going to feature the company’s LED light strips as part of our TV backlighting roundup. Right off the bat, one of the best things about any Sengled product is the entrance cost, and the W1G-N84 is no exception here. For only $23, you’re getting a bundle of LED light strips, instead of one individual strand, including two 40-inch strips, two 20-inch, and four 10-inch variations, making it simple to adhere to whatever size TV, monitor, or other surface-type you’re working with.

Once you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you’ll also be able to use Alexa and Google Assistant to control and customize the Sengled strands. We also dig the intuitive Sengled app (for iOS and Android) that lets you dive into the nitty-gritty of LED customizing and dynamic audio sync, turning those Sengled strands into a visual sounding board for all your favorite tunes.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Built-in mic for music syncing


  • Lights could be brighter
  • Basic white lighting tends to look colorized
best light strip alternative

Best For: Adding ambient light to your viewing space without having to attach light strips directly to your TV or monitor.
Why We Chose It: The Philips Hue Play White is a unique and fairly cost-effective (when compared to other Hue products) alternative to traditional TV backlighting.

Read More: The Best TVs

Key Specs: 

  • ‎9.97 x 1.74 x 1.41-inches
  • Corded electric power
  • Acrylic

If light strips aren’t your thing, this awesome color-changing smart light from Philips Hue may be the illumination alternative you’ve been searching for (because it sure was for us!). Designed to be mounted on the wall (and plugged in for power), you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the Hue Hub connected before installing this bad boy, because you’ll need it for all the lighting customizations the Play Light is capable of. 

This includes all kinds of colors, brightness controls, lighting schedules and timers, along with voice assistance from Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. We also like the fact that you’ll be able to connect up to three Play Lights to one power source (which comes with the system). Just make sure that wherever you plan on sticking your Play Lights, there’s an AC outlet somewhere nearby. 


  • Cool alternative to LED light strips
  • Can connect three Play White lights together
  • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit


  • Still a bit expensive
  • Requires Hue Hub for more advanced controls
also consider

Best For: Customizing individual light strip sections.
Why We Chose It: Govee is one of the most reputable brands in smart lighting (next to Philips Hue), and their products tend to cost quite a bit less, too.

Read More: The Best Smart Outdoor Lights

Key Specs: 

  • Best used for 30 to 50-inch TVs
  • Corded electric power
  • 6.56 feet long

Govee has made it into this roundup for a second entry and for good reason. For the all-hands-on-deck solution, the immersive DreamView system is an incredible buy, but it’s a little on the expensive side. That’s why this Govee RGBIC alternative is such an amazing value. Essentially, you’re getting a decent-sized spool of customizable Govee LED lighting, just like you do with the DreamView package, but minus the light bars and camera; but you’re not exactly losing anything with this purchase. 

The Govee RGBIC allows you to customize individual strip segments, the built-in mic can be rhythmically linked to your favorite music and movie soundtracks, and thanks to the Govee Home app, you’ll be able to adjust colors, brightness, scenes, and more right from your phone or tablet (and you can use Alexa to power the light strips on/off, too). Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that these light strips are somewhat waterproofed, which may not seem like a big deal until your excitable uncle throws his Pepsi in the air when the Jammers (our fake football team) score a goal against the Tadpoles (the fake adversary).


  • Great value
  • Easy to customize
  • Works with Alexa
  • Plenty of color and brightness customizations 


  • Not as advanced as other lighting systems
Courtesy of Amazon
Best splurge

Best For: Displaying amazon light effects with outstanding color saturation and brightness.
Why We Chose It: We actually found its latency to be superiors to other camera based TV backlight systems.

Read More: Govee’s First-of-Its-Kind Smart Lights for Gaming Is Powered by Artificial Intelligence

Key Specs: 

  • 40% more accuracy than T1
  • 4 music modes to choose from
  • Brighter, more saturated with 60 LEDs/m

If you have the disposable income, we recommend splurging it on the Govee Envisual TV LED Backlight T2. It’s similar to Govee’s other TV backlights, but this particular one is its most advance. We found it straightforward to install and set up, taking up no more than 20 minutes from start to finish.

What really impressed us about the Govee Envisual TV LED Backlight T2 was how well it reacted to what was shown on our TV. We’ve seen how latency in some TV backlights could be delayed by a smidge, but there was no issue here. Even better, we were mesmerized by the color light show it’s able to produce — yielding saturated colors and bright tones.


  • Gets really bright
  • Outstanding color saturation
  • Minimal latency


  • It’s costly

How We Picked the Best TV Backlights

At SPY, we want to make sure your money goes a long way. That being said, when vetting and testing the handful of TV backlighting products in this roundup, we adhered to a number of criteria to ensure that our readers are getting the absolute best bang for the buck. And in the case of something like a $200+ Philips Hue system, even though the price is on the high side, the performance and customization capabilities supersede the cost. 

Here are some of the key research points we considered for each and every entry of this roundup:

  • Price: You’ll notice a wide range of prices in the above roundup, with digital stickers ranging from barely $20 to up to $300 in some cases. This is because we know that not everyone can afford the big investment of something like a Philips Hue bundle, but for those that are able, there’s no doubting that it’s one of the best lighting products on the market. But on the flip side of the coin, if you only have $50 or less to throw down, we want to make sure there’s an awesome lighting system you’ll be able to take home for far less, too.
  • And guess what? In many cases, brands like Govee and Sengled may be priced far lower than the competition, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in terms of features. In fact, both companies offer some of the most advanced customizations, and often without the need of an additional hub controller that you have to plug into your router.
  • Installation: For the most part, TV backlighting isn’t too difficult to work with, especially since most companies opt for the ole’ peel-and-stick method for attaching light strips. We did however want to make sure that we included some unique gear in our roundup, such as the Philips Hue Play Light and the super-cool Govee DreamView T1 bundle.  Both of these products are a little more involved when it comes to DIY setup, which is why we wanted to make sure we chose hardware from trusted brands that are known for simple assembly, excellent instructions, and top-shelf customer support when and if you need the lifeline. 
  • Controls: Most TV backlighting systems can be controlled with the manufacturer’s included remote or companion app. In most cases, you’ll find that these options exist for the vast majority of products we chose to highlight, but we also wanted to make sure to include items that are optimized for more advanced control methods, too. Said methods may include exciting Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, IFTTT compatibility, and far-field microphones that can listen for musical tempo and react accordingly. 
John Velasco | SPY
John Velasco | SPY
John Velasco | SPY