Is a “Black Hole” an Ideal Home Theater?
Everyone seems to have different preferences for lighting in their home theater, but there are a lot of people who like having a “black hole.” I’m not one of them as I prefer an extremely small amount of light in my viewing environment.
An interesting article over at CE Pro explains that viewing in total darkness causes the eye to perceive less color than it should.
How do you handle lighting in your viewing environment?
In an attempt to create a dark theater-like viewing experience, most homeowners want to completely shut off their lights to watch a movie.
But is that the best thing to do?
Not necessarily, according to several sources. The light level of a home theater – both too bright or too dark – affects the amount of color your eyes absorb from the display image.
According to Jim Sullivan, president and co-founder of Entertainment Experience, a room that is too dark will force your pupils to open wider to allow more light in. But that also means the screen will “lose color”
“In a movie theater, the film is processed to increase the color three times to compensate for a dark theater,” he says. But in the home, no such compensation is taking place when a consumer sits down to watch TV or a Blu-ray movie.
Years ago, when The Perfect
Years ago, when The Perfect Vision was still in print, they recommended using a light with a color temperature of 6700 degrees K be placed behind the viewing monitor (this was before projectors started becoming more prevalent). I purchased such a light and still use it today. It’s mounted in a short fluorescent fixture (about 24″) and sits on the TV stand behind my 60″ Sony RPTV.
My viewing room is in a finished basement that has one small window that is mostly blocked off. This allows me to keep the light levels constant during the day as well as at night. The overhead lights are all on dimmer switches and I usually keep them at or near the lowest setting in conjunction with the backlight. It keeps the light level low enough to get the most enjoyment from the movie and still allow enough light to walk around the room without tripping over stuff.
Years ago, when The Perfect Vision was still in print, they recommended using a light with a color temperature of 6700 degrees K be placed behind the viewing monitor (this was before projectors started becoming more prevalent).
I typically leave a low level light on but didn’t think about the spectrum range on it until now. I wonder if I should swap it over to a 5100k or 6700k bulb for better results.
According to SMPTE (RP 166),
According to SMPTE (RP 166), you generally should strive for a neutral matte background for the wall/area behind the display and in the field of view along with D65 (6500K) lighting that is about 10% of the maximum light output of the display. There are a lot more details in the spec, but those are probably the main takeaways for HT environment.
Eventually I’d like to get
Eventually I’d like to get recessed lights on a dimmer (preferably remote controlled :)) put in, but for now I use several small lamps from IKEA to light the sides of the room. The overall light level is too dark to read, but well over what is required to navigate safely.
You know, this is pretty know
You know, this is pretty know by now. This is why Philips came out with Ambilight years ago.