Essential HDTV accessories

An HDTV is just a TV with a pretty picture until you add a few important accoutrements. The dozen add-ons shown here will greatly enhance your HDTV watching experience.

Bias Lighting: CinemaQuest Ideal-Lume

Most of the sets on display at your local electronics store have their brightness settings turned up to 11 for that cool eye-searing effect. But once you get the set home and turn down the lights to watch a movie, the screen will look even brighter — you may feel as though you can fry eggs on your corneas. To moderate the difference between darkness (your living room) and the bright screen--and thereby prevent eyestrain — you need to add some "bias" lighting. For several years, Philips has made HDTVs with bias lighting; called Ambilight, the system throws light of different colors onto the wall around and behind the TV; the colours change depending on the content on the screen.
But you can add "bias lighting" to any set by using one of CinemaQuest's Ideal-Lumes products. These fluorescent lights don't change colours as Philips's sets do, but mounted on the back of your set, they produce a similar eye-sparing effect. One disadvantage of the Ideal-Lumes is that they plug into an AC outlet, rather than into your TV, so you have to turn them on manually every time you turn on your TV (or you have to use the switched outlet on the back of your cable box or home-theatre receiver). Another alternative is to use a current-sensing power strip to snap the lights on automatically when you turn on your TV.
Or you can go really old-school and position a table lamp behind your TV set.

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