September 01, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
Whether you’ve set up your media room system yourself or hired a pro to do it, don’t hide away all your hard work and planning in the shadows. Show it off by adding lighting to the arrangement.
One of the best ways to do this, says Salvatore Carrabba from Salamander Designs, is with the LED (light emitting diode) fixtures. “LED bulbs are energy efficient, they last a long time, don’t generate a lot of heat, and are dimmable.” Plus, they’re smaller than standard incandescent and halogen bulbs, which means they can be installed just about anywhere—even behind a flat-panel TV.
So why illuminate your TV and other gear? Mostly, because it’ll make your media room look more dramatic.
A cabinet can appear to float when lights are added to the bottom and a rack of equipment can seem to glow when illuminated from behind. There are also performance benefits. Some manufacturers and custom electronics professionals (CE pros) believe that lighting around the edge of a flat-panel TV reduces eye-strain and fatigue.
Lighting is also helpful for making manual adjustments to your receiver, DVD player and other components.
You can find built-in lighting in many entertainment cabinets, already, and many manufacturers are making the switch from incandescent and halogen to LED as the price of that technology continues to drop. However, those lights typically cannot be repositioned or adjusted. For more flexibility and creativity, consider installing your own LED lights.
Salamander Designs, a manufacturer of furniture, seating and mounting products for entertainment systems, recently designed a modular LED-based illumination solution. The LED fixtures come pre-assembled on 14- or 23-inch long rod. The rods attach horizontally or vertically to cabinets, speakers, TVs and other places via double-sided tape then plug into a control hub via USB-style connectors.
The lights can then be controlled via a handheld remote, which is included with the hub and two 14-inch rods, in a pre-assembled kit ($119). Additional rods can be added to the system at any time, and for ease of use, the remote comes pre-programmed to automatically turn off the lights after a certain amount of time and to enact special settings at the touch of a button. A party mode, for example, signals the lights to strobe, while a breath mode fades and brightens the lights gradually for a calming effect. Currently, Salamander’s Lighting System features white lights, but the company plans to eventually offer a multicolored kit.
Salamander Lighting System rods are slim, bright, modular and affordable.
Lighting System rods unobtrusively mount almost anywhere, including the inside edge of Salamander’s Berlin A/V cabinet.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.