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Research indicates ambient lighting around Flat TVs helps reduce eye strain and visual fatigue


Bruges, Belgium, Feb 27, 2006 - Philips Electronics and the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, have released the results of a study to explore the effects of ambient lighting from televisions on eye strain and visual fatigue.

In the study abstract published online, researchers confirmed that ambient lighting around the TV did produce a modest improvement in one-hour of television viewing over standard televisions. This finding is consistent with existing literature indicating that illumination on the wall around the display reduces discomfort and fatigue while watching television.

For the study, researchers evaluated subjects watching 60 minutes of movie footage on a flat-screen television with and without ambient lighting [Ambilight™] switched on. During both sets of conditions, researchers measured the impact of surrounding illumination on subjects’ reported feelings and on physical responses, including blink rates and brain activity response times to stimuli.

In general, ambient lighting resulted in ratings of less visual discomfort, fatigue and eyestrain, less frequent blink rates, and shorter duration between stimulus and brain activity responses, when compared to conventional television viewing. Measured improvements were statistically significant in focusing difficulty and sleepiness, and faster stimulus response in one region of the brain.

Lead researchers concluded that the Ambilight feature does appear to provide a benefit with respect to eyestrain, visual comfort and fatigue over conventional television viewing without this feature. While the effects in some measures studied were modest, study authors reported that eyestrain and fatigue are just reaching the detectable level at an hour of television viewing in the study’s design.

“We are encouraged by the research results,” said Lucas Covers, Chief Marketing Officer, Philips Consumer Electronics. “We created Ambilight technology by merging our expertise in consumer electronics and lighting with a simple goal in mind: to give consumers the most immersive and relaxed viewing experience. We believe Ambilight delivers a unique wellness benefit to consumers, and we plan to continue researching the effects of lighting on consumers’ visual health.”

Philips’ Ambilight Technology – Redefining the Home Entertainment Experience

Ambient lighting makes an impressive contribution to the overall viewing experience and adds a new dimension, completely immersing the viewer in the content being watched. The technology creates a unique ambience and results in more relaxed viewing, improved perceived picture detail, contrast and color and provides an even richer, more personalized experience. The science behind Ambilight is well known and revolves around the working of the human eye, which can become fatigued over time in response to a single-light source such as a TV in a dimmed room. Backlighting the television properly, with no glare, relaxes the eye and allows the perception of all of the detail and color.

The award-winning Philips Ambilight FlatTV™s are changing the way consumers choose to watch their favorite programming. Launched at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Ambilight technology creates a halo effect around the sides of the display to deliver a more relaxed and immersive viewing experience. In 2006, Philips expanded its range with two new innovative Ambilight technologies.

Introduced for the first time at CES 2006, Philips showcased the new Full Surround (four-sided) Ambilight FlatTV. Providing lighting around all four sides of the FlatTV, Ambilight Full Surround creates a floating design, enhancing the coloring for greater visual impact and immersing viewers in the entertainment experience. Ambilight Full Surround not only provides an improved viewing experience, but complements the décor of any room.

In addition to the Ambilight Full Surround model, Philips also showcased the new Surround (three-sided) Ambilight FlatTV that provides lighting along the left, right and top of the screen. Ambilight Surround draws viewers into a relaxed experience and is ideal for movie watching and large rooms where a wall can be dedicated to the TV.

For a copy of the research please go to: +

About the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world’s premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master’s programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. For more information, visit +

About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is one of the world’s biggest electronics companies and Europe’s largest, with sales of EUR 30.4 billion in 2005. With activities in the three interlocking domains of healthcare, lifestyle and technology and 159,200 employees in more than 60 countries, it has market leadership positions in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring, color television sets, electric shavers, lighting and silicon system solutions. News from Philips is located at


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