Atmolight Clone Of An Ambilight Clone


[Fun3] wasn’t satisfied with current methods for duplicating Philips Ambilight. He wanted a completely plug and play solution without soldering so he could expand upon it in the future. This meant Arduino, ShiftBright, and (it pains us to say this) pre-made cables. Some of you are cringing at the thought of no real ‘work’ being necessary, but remember, now this is much easier for your “I can’t change the VCRs clock” aunt to set up and enjoy. Plus it’s quick, easy, and most importantly – clean, something a lot of hackers have a problem with.

23 thoughts on “Atmolight Clone Of An Ambilight Clone

  1. It seems like this could be done very easily without all this crap if someone just wrote a global pixel-sampling algorithm and had it calculate the needed output for 4 points on screen. Send this to a PIC or AT controller running RGB mixing on LEDs and done.

    Pack it in a box, with a driver disc, and it can be plug-and-play in every program on the computer without stuff like setting up VLC prefs to work with it.

    Also, there are already awesome sticky-puck LED things for under-cabinet lighting which would make a perfect case for the light modules.

  2. So this hack is just cobbled together of bits and pieces that the guy in the links didn’t even do himself? Right. All the hard work if done by x86 on the host, lame.

    This would be much nicer if it could create the ambient lighting off of, say, composite video. Sample a frame, calculate average color and intensity for a portion of a screen and control the lighting, all from one box.

    I wish I had the time to try such a hack.

  3. i dont see why people like ambilight to begin with
    this is over complicated imo but having a usb interface to control it allows for more than just video color matching
    hey fun3 if you read this, need a winamp plugin to flash in time to music along with a visualaation such as milkdrop, i didnt read throughly but does it allow for hard changes in color and brightness instead of just soft? heh, imagine tv watching with it changing color a few times a second too
    but anyway back to my original point
    whats so bad about having a matte black background to a tv so the tv claims 100% of your attention?
    id rather not have everything around my screen illuminated

  4. …wow, Entropia, you have it or atleast inspired me…
    a little vga to vga connector….
    measure the voltage on each of the pins, r g and b
    approximate them over output to 3 leds(or more)
    sure it wont measure all 4 corners output but how easy would that be to do???
    it would go in line with your monitor cable, if you end up with with shades of grey from the various colors, add a pic instead of some transistors and measure the signal rate to slow transitions

  5. @frogz

    Problem is most HTPC types are using HDMI (which incurs HDCP) or at the least DVI-D. Its far easier to process the required values and stream them out of a USB port.
    It could be done on composite or RGB analogue but like many old standards these are fast going the way of the Tasmanian Tiger.
    I know boblight uses GDI getpixel function which is broke in Aero (too slow) maybe some PC guru could grab the video buffer as a quad and scale it to average out colour ?

  6. There already is a hardware video decoder for this, it’s a few years old…uses the TVP5150 NTSC decoder chip:
    However it’s going to be relatively difficult and expensive to build, compared to some off the shelf (my shelf actually) parts. Plus, using a composite video input is no more practical than using a computer, since everything is using HDMI or DVI these days. You have to get to the color information either during decoding, or during display, or use an external device to look at the screen.

  7. I came across a similar system a year or so back. It was actually published in an electrical magazine, either silicon chip or elektor i cant remember which (i must dig that out again…) essentially it used an avr microcontroller to analyse the input from either composite, component or VGA (it had all three i belive with minor circuit changes) then it was capable of interpreting the average colour over several regions of the image to output rgb colour. It was at least a year ago that i read the article but this was a pure hardware solution capable of doing multizone rgb output, i was very impressed.

  8. best solution…
    dammit.. cant find it
    anyone remember the “ambilight” that was an incandecent in a cheap socket with orange wirenets and everything screwed directly into the back of a hdtv?

    sadly, not on thereifixedit

  9. @Frogz
    a quick processing script which analyses a audio input and flashes the leds

    It’s actually very easing on the eye to have the sides/the background behind the screen illuminated especially if the ambient light is quite low. In fact i often switch the LEDs to a fixed color to light up my room and the desk (about 15watts of led light power) and no other additional light.

  10. @Entropia
    you are completely right, just off the shelf components … :P
    but what’s so wrong about it … ok, it’s not in the idea of this blog to do it this way
    but hey, it works … it’s a different approach

    a bit more expensive approach i admit, but also a bit more flexible … a good way to experiment with this

  11. “now this is much easier for your “I can’t change the VCRs clock” aunt to set up and enjoy”.

    Poeple who can not master a piece of technology delivered to them WITH A USER MANUAL, shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy any tech improvement in their life.
    It’s just plain lazyness…

    Anyway, this guy, at least, used his brain to make this so I guess he deserves a thumb up.

  12. @Foobarbatz
    that’s right, the atmolight system was originally designed Carsten Presser ( to be used with the VDR software.
    I just used the protocol and the available tools and build the arduino software part to interface with the led modules.

    I think it’s a good example how you can use open source hardware and software, combine it and with some lines of code glue it all together to make something nice.

    I actually choosed the Atmolight system just because it’s currently supported in the videolan client and wanted to use it for my HTPC. But i really would like to use it with XBMC (, sadly there is no good solution which can interface with atmolight. The creator of boblightd started a branch couple of months ago, in which he implemented it into XBMC. Sadly the last changes to the code were 3-4 months ago and it’s still not public, but a video on his youtube channel looked promising

    When it will be supported in XBMC i think i will switch to boblightd, which can drive much more channels and the arduino code i quickly changed.

  13. @Jack
    thanks for the tip …

    it looks like he started a new branch just two days ago … i’ll give it a try, thanks …
    the subversion checkout is already running and the compiler is warming up … ;)
    i hope it compiles, the last release missed his boblightd library which wasn’t public at that time.
    I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  14. @apothus

    Is it possible to see these instructions anywhere else besides the article? I’d really like to not have to spend money to see if I like what I’m building.. :/

    Other than that article, are there any resources on how to build an “Atmolight” system with an analog or digital video input (RCA, VGA, DVI or HDMI)?

  15. There is an English version of manuscript in the Elecktor Magazine Website. When you register(free), you will earn 10 credits which is enough to download that article. I already downloaded the article and also ordered the boards and programmed pics on the magzine website. Now it is time to buy the components, I will try farnell. Another point is to purchase a HDMI splitter 1×2 and a HDMI to VGA. The circuit on article has two options for input, one for scart connector and other for VGA. As no scart connector is used in my country I had to purchase de HDMi to VGA converter. The splitter and converter can be found on ebay by less than US$ 25

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