I’ve been looking for the perfect RGB setup for years. Nearly 15, you could say. I even wrote about my quest for PC Gamer right up to the point I came aboard here at Gfinity. I may never have the carefully-constructed and colour-coordinated array of lights you’ll see in the back of a YouTube video, but I’ll always just want one thing from whatever setup I have - walls that accurately, and effortlessly, glow with my game. And Govee might be on track to deliver.
Now in their second major iteration, the Govee TV Backlight T2 is the best it’s ever been. It uses more LEDs than its predecessor to bring smoother lighting transitions, reacts faster to any on-screen changes, and is more colour-accurate to boot. You’ll want to fiddle around with the in-app settings to coordinate its colour-matching potential with the specifics of your TV if you’re particularly picky, but most will simply appreciate the effortless reactive illumination effect compared to similar, more expensive, alternatives.
It’s the most cost-efficient way I’ve seen any company handle the basic idea of turning walls into an extension of our displays, too. For around £150, the Govee TV Backlight T2 turns just about any screen out there (within reason) into a close enough equivalent of a Philips Ambilight setup. When the same company charges around 50 percent more than the cost of the Govee system solely for its connector box, it’s the underdog that comes out as the clear winner in the price department.
Simple yet effective
Packaged in a very small box is heaven; an LED lighting strip that’ll fit a 55- or 65-inch TV, a control box, a plug (potentially an American one, so watch out there), and the eye-catching camera probe that solves the greatest issue I’ve always had with these temperamental ideas. The curious camera is what helped me discover the T1 a few years ago on Twitter. It’s a perfect, alien, advertisement of itself to whoever happens to come back to the house.
The whole setup process is a little telling of its comparative bargain bin pricing, which involves lots of little sticky things and even unassuming foam squares you need to temporarily push onto your screen to calibrate the space the camera probe will continuously scan going forward. But that’s fine. The hardest part is just reassuring yourself that you’ve rolled out the stuck the LED strips to the back of your screen in a way that won’t leave a mess of wires once they’re all hooked up.
You install the app first, and it tells you where to put them to align everything. Once you’ve positioned the smart-looking node atop your screen and gone through the calibration process, you’ve hit that “set it and forget it” stage. That is, unless you want to dive into the app and use the lights for more than just reactionary bias lighting. Which I, and countless others, wouldn’t really suggest.
The Govee app you use to set the lights to react to on-screen content has a myriad of other lightning presets you can swap to; like the strobe, glow, rain, or other blinking sequences you can find on your average RGB keyboard or off-brand lighting strip. But none of them are really worth using. And that’s fine. In fact, it’s more fun just going through the officially-supplied and user-submitted settings just to read the public comments, which are usually just people wondering how a strobing red and blue effort can be “relaxing” or “zen” as the names and descriptions often proclaim.
Just leave it to react to your content and let whatever it is you’re watching speak for itself. Zen videos will be zen, and action flicks will have the red heat of explosions spreading to the wall behind your panel.
The fine adjustments
It can be a little hard for the camera to stay centred when it’s adhered with little more than a buffer pad and gravity, but it doesn’t affect the end result enough for me to bother trying to perfect it. There are times where, initially, you’ll wonder why there’s something like a green tinge in the corner when there’s nothing green about the scene on-screen, but you’ll quickly stop paying attention to the finer details, instead letting the smart bias lighting be what it’s meant to be - a complementary experience that adds just that little bit of extra magic to your screen experience. Again, it’s not too difficult to fix, but it’ll only irk the perfectionists out there.
The reason why this simple solution adds so much, for me, at least, is because it does it all so effortlessly. In my time reviewing similar products in the PC gaming space, I’ve had nothing but issues caused by lacklustre software, inferior mounting solutions, and some lights that sometimes just enjoy turning on in the night, walking me up like the sun rising in a second. The Govee system does virtually no wrong by comparison, and you can just switch the whole array off with the app if you do happen have it installed in the room where you sleep.
The Govee TV Backlight T2 is a plug n’ play bias lighting system that extends to anything you do, be it watching a movie or playing on a console. By simply being there, hanging over the screen, it’ll work its magic until you tell it not to. You don’t have to plug it into anything beyond an outlet, and you don’t really have to reconfigure it. Ever. It can even sync up to five other Govee-brand lighting solutions you could set up around the same room, but I can’t imagine I’ll be able to try that out anytime soon.
If Govee ever decides to make a smaller version for monitors, it’ll solve every RGB issue I’ve ever had with my PC. There’s probably a fat chance it’ll sync up with the numerous other systems that RGB fiends use to coordinate their mice, keyboards, headsets, panel lights, and Christmas trees, but it’ll work for those who just want a simple bias light solution to ease the strain on their eyes and add that little extra something to their ever gaming session.
I stumbled upon Govee years ago with a smart light and some RGB strips, and I’ve bought more of its products over time. If I'd known it’d be the one to solve the bias light problem I’ve had for over a decade, well… I don’t know what I would have done. Been happy, for sure. And I am. My TV-watching experience is amplified, and the soft lighting has turned a dark alcove of my living room into a kaleidoscope. It’s wonderful, I love it, and I want more of it. It’s my favourite piece of tech of the year. A Steam Deck is great, but it isn’t without its headaches. This actually solves headaches.