It’s time to entertain yourself like that bubble-obsessed fish from the movie Finding Nemo. Today we are covering a unique backlight kit for TVs that provide both an ambient light, as well as an immersive experience that adds vibrant energy to everything you watch. It is the Lytmi Neo HDMI 2.0 Sync Box & TV Backlight Kit.
We have discussed ambient lighting for TVs many times, including going way back to when it first really started to become a thing. The idea is to relieve eye strain and add a little more depth to what’s on the screen. However, anything humans can do, humans will eventually try to make it better. So, naturally, this wasn’t enough.
The ability to change the color of the ambient light has pretty much been around from the start. But companies have recently taken this further by tapping in-line with the HDMI signal running to the TV. This allows them to control the color of the light and interact with the current image on the screen, creating ancu incredibly immersive experience. Kind of as though the colors in the image just run right off the edge of the TV and onto the walls (which, is exactly what is happening).
Suddenly, the image on the screens pops better than ever, allowing everything to really come alive. It also makes for a very interesting party favor.
The only issue is that all of these solutions are quite expensive. A normal (static) ambient bias light will run you around $20-$30. Some of these new options, however, reach upward to around $300+. This creates a huge price gap that doesn’t really help sell the product despite the fact that there really is a lot more going on than a simple LED strip plugged into the TV’s USB port.
Lytmi seems to focus on softening this blow a bit, by bringing the price way down, starting around $169 instead. Sure, this is still a bit expensive compared to a basic light, but it is much more reasonable. While also doing everything the other companies can do with the exact level of quality and efficiency.
The Lytmi kits are offered in three options, each covering a range of TV sizes. This includes 60″ and below ($169), 61″ to 90″ ($189), and 91″ to 120″ ($199). So it all depends on the size of your TV. A decision that should be made wisely as you do cut the strips down to size. So once cut, that’s it–It is now good for that size of TV or smaller (just like any kit or bias strip-style light out there).
The kit includes two LED strips, some guides, and a sync box that makes all of the magic happen. Lytmi also includes an HDMI cable to go from the box to the TV.
The overall install is quite simple. The instructions walk you through the process, making it quite easy to work with. Both light strips start at a bottom corner of the back of the TV (left or right side). One works its way up the side and across the top while the other works across the bottom and up the other side.
So you start at one of the bottom corners and end at the diagonal corner to it up top. You cut the strips to size where they end so you don’t have excess length running off the TV.
The locations where it is safe to cut the strips are clearly marked. So as long as you follow these marked locations as your cut spots, you won’t damage anything.
Guides are provided to help run the strip straight or around the corners. This means no sticking the strip directly to the TV. This is helpful if you wind up switching TVs as you don’t have to worry about damaging the strip while removing it. You simply pop it back out of the guides and buy some new ones for the next TV (or rip them off and use your own double-stick tape).
This is important since the LED strips aren’t cheap, so this prevents any accidental damage. It also makes it easy to adjust their positioning after since you can slide the LED tape around if it isn’t aligned perfectly with the picture. Which is important since you can’t adjust X/Y axis of the strips via the app (maybe in the future, Lytmi could offer a calibration option for this to make things even easier).
Once you have the strip lights running around the TV, you plug both of them into the sync box. There are two USB ports labeled based on the starting directions of each light (side and bottom).
Then you have two HDMI 2.0b ports for intercepting the HDMI signal to the TV. Take the HDMI signal that normally runs directly to the TV and plug it into the “input” port. Then use the HDMI cable this kit comes with (or any other HDMI 2.0b+ cable) between the “output” port and your TV’s input.
You can sit the box along with your other devices or you can hide it behind the TV. We wound up doing the latter ourselves using velcro and attaching it to the back of the TV for a nice clean install.
Now, you plug everything in, turn everything on, and download the app (iOS or Android) to start using everything.
The first thing the app is going to do (like most apps) is ask you to register for a Lytmi account (apparently, it also works with Tuya apps as well if you already have an account there). Create a username and password, enter your email, respond to a code, and then answer a few questions about device location.
It does, for some reason, ask for a physical address location. This could feel a bit invasive so thankfully it does look like this box can be skipped. Else you can randomly enter something and choose something from the results for privacy reasons. Either way, you won’t be able to read any of the results that come up anyway as they are all in Chinese. This is odd since everything else is in English (oops, found a bug!).
Once you’re registered, it uses Bluetooth to find originally find the device and add it to your account. From here you can turn it off and on, or click on it to pull up the screen to control everything further. If it doesn’t do anything when you initially click on it, give it a minute or close and re-open the app. We had to do this the first time, but it has been working since (might have been a cache issue or something).
The first thing you want to do is go into settings for the light so that you can specify whether it is installed from the bottom left or right of the back of the TV. This is important as you want to make sure that the light of the strips matches properly to what’s on the screen (else it will be mirrored the other way).
This is also where the company should add a calibration feature to adjust the X/Y axis to line the lights up to a grid pattern or something for obtaining the best accuracy. It isn’t an option for now and there is no talk about it. This is simply our own idea and they are welcome to steal it if they want. It would help to really earn a place in the market for them compared to the competition.
Once you have finished with this, the light is ready to be enjoyed. You start off on the main screen where there are two options. This includes “Screen” and “Music”.
The “Screen” option is used for mimicking everything in the picture. This is where you get the color runoff effect that splashed against the wall to compliment whatever is on the screen. The “Music” option is a dancing light option where the sync box listens to music/audio in the room and responds to it by bouncing the lights around. Typical of any LED light that has the ability to respond to music. This is good for parties or if you personally like a lot of huzzah with your music listening experience.
From this main screen, you can also choose the intensity of these two options (how quickly the LED lights respond to what’s on the screen or the type of pattern they take in “Music” mode). You can also control the overall brightness of the strips.
The next icon brings you to Scenes. This is where you find all the added special effects. Some of which are also party favors, some you’ll likely never wind up using, and a few static options. The latter is what you use for when you simply want a solid color. Some of these effects are great, including Rainbow, Flow, and Breath. Pure, the final effect in the list, is where you can control the color.
This brings us to the third tab, Color. Here you can control the color of the lights or effects by choosing from a color wheel or some solid presets at the bottom.
You can control the brightness from any of these three tabs, which adds to the user-friendliness.
For one, the app is great. It does need calibration options, but it is great beyond that. Friendly, intuitive, and it connects quickly. As for the light itself, it is also great for a number of reasons. For one, it looks absolutely fantastic. It turns on with the image and off when there is no HDMI signal. This means you don’t have to worry about turning it on/off yourself (one less thing to worry about).
One of the most important features that cause us to like this one is the support for 4K@60Hz. Many of the other options out there (including the previous generation of this one) were or are still limited to 4K@30Hz, which really dumbs down the signal running to the TV, which is bad for those who game or watch sports. If the pass-through doesn’t support 60Hz, we move on, as to us this immediately outdates the product.
Of course, many current TV models do support 120Hz or better. However, you don’t really find a lot of content that does outside of the latest gaming consoles — and even then, very few games support this. So 60Hz keeps this kit in a sustainable position for now. As for better than 120Hz, most of this is handled within the TV as various up-scaling features.
If you are worried about making use of higher refresh rates of certain TV models, we would advise running two separate HDMI runs to the TV. One input for use with the light in-line, and the other a home-run so that you can still make use of this content. Even easier to do if you are using a receiver with multiple HDMI outs. This way you can just switch between the inputs on your TV for either situation.
As for the LED lights, they are incredibly vibrant and offer a lot of range in brightness. They are also thick and durable, so they should last a LONG time and you shouldn’t ever damage them unless you cut them incorrectly (which is kind of hard to do since they mark the cut locations clearly).
The accuracy is spot-on for the most part. If you find it is slightly off from the picture, you can slide the LED tape around a little to adjust. Since it is running across guides vs being completely glued down, this makes the process quite easy to accomplish. Again, it would be nice to have calibration access in the app for this, but at least you have some manual control there.
There is some slight delay to the color and pattern changes based on what’s on the screen. Like you are watching the lights respond to each frame after the frame is displayed (vs updating live). However, we have seen much worse. This is barely noticeable thankfully and maybe this can be tweaked with future firmware updates (unless it is a limitation in hardware). Either way, it definitely has a current-gen feel to it (not behind the times).
Sometimes you might find the color-changing effects to be a little overwhelming based on what you are watching. If so, you can set it to the Pure scene so it just acts as a normal static bias light. You can switch it back and forth as needed.
Between the friendliness of the app, the performance of the lights, and the price. We like the direction this kit takes. It is more affordable than the others while maintaining the same quality. It is bright, has plenty of settings and effects, and is a lot of fun to play with. If you tend to throw a lot of parties, you will absolutely love this kit.
Nothing is perfect (not yet). It does experience a slight delay. The app would benefit from X/Y calibration options, and the home addresses all come up in Chinese. However, many or all of these points could be fixed with either firmware or app updates. So time will tell.
As mentioned, there are three kit options, but the few stores that carry this kit currently offer the first two (covering up to 90″). The larger option (for 91″ – 120″ TVs) is only available direct from Lytmi (at the time of writing this).
It is still a bit pricey, but it is at least a lot better than the other options out there. Eventually, you’ll likely see these prices come down a bit more once these products become more available in the market. Else, these will still be stuck within limited niches of buyers.
| Our Rating
| Average Price*
$169 – $199
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- HDMI Support: 2.0b
- Video resolution: 4K 60Hz; HDR 10; Dolby Vision
- CEC: Yes
- WiFi: 2.4 GHz
- Voice assistants: Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant
- LED Lifetime: 10000 hrs
- Brightness: Up to 1800LM/2300LM/3200LM depending on lengths used
- Neo box size: Height 0.39 inch / Length 5.51 inch / Width 3.23 inch / Net weight 0.90 lb
- Adapter voltage: 12 V
- Standby power consumption: 2 W
- Maximum power consumption: 48 W
- Warranty: 18 Months
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
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