I’m a sucker for smart lighting. From LIFX’s color-changing light bulbs to installing swoon-worthy LED backlights in both my living room and home office, I’ve learned firsthand the power of great lighting to level up your home decor. Weirdly enough, it’s one of the only ways I’ve stepped into the world of smart home devices — I’m not a huge fan of many home assistants or randomly WiFi-enabled gadgets — but smart lighting sold me early. It’s convenient, vibe-worthy, and one of the easiest ways to upgrade a room, which is why I jumped at the chance to try Govee Envisual TV Backlight T2(Opens in a new tab) for myself.
What is the Govee TV Backlight T2?
There are plenty of backlight options available on the market today. From LED light bars to color-changing LED lightstrips, most of them involve using a companion app on your phone to change the color of the light to suit your mood. Govee’s Envisual TV Backlight T2 takes this up a notch, and it combines easy-to-install LED lightstrips with a simple, dual-camera system to provide synchronized color lighting that instantly levels up your home theater experience. Govee uses high-density RGBIC technology — with 60 LEDs per meter — meaning you get smoother, more precise color that integrates with its upgraded Envisual color-matching technology.
While all of that sounds complicated, the way it works is pretty simple. After adhering the LED lightstrips to the back of your television, you simply place the weighted camera on the top of your TV where it can “see” your screen and voila — the product syncs your television screen with the backlighting to provide a truly immersive lighting experience.
The Govee camera sits on top of the TV to “see” what’s onscreen.
Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable
The LED strips are pretty easy to install, and are super bright.
Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable
Installation was easy, but the calibration process took a few tries
I was worried that the installation process for the T2 would be painful, but I was surprised by how easy it was. After removing our TV from the wall mount, we cleaned off the back of the television — thankfully Govee included alcohol wipes to make this easier — then laid out the four conjoined LED strips along the back edges.
Once we knew where everything fit, including the small control box, it was just a matter of peeling off the adhesive and securing the light strips with the additional clips. From there, we connected the light strips and the camera to the control box, plugged the control box into our power strip, and moved onto calibration.
Shop the best 4K TV deals this week
After downloading the Govee companion app and connecting the T2 to my WiFi network, the calibration process — ensuring the camera can see your screen correctly and translate the colors to the backlights — was a little clunky. First, you attach seven orange foam squares to all four corners of your television screen, as well as the center of each side, then you follow the in-app instructions to begin the process. The app shows you a view of your television screen, and you drag the blue dots to match with the orange squares.
It all sounds pretty simple, but it took several rounds of calibration to get everything to work correctly. First, the glare on our TV screen from the lights in our bedroom interfered with the process, but when we turned them off it was difficult to see the orange squares during calibration. We finally got to a point where everything felt “good enough,” and it was time to put the lights to the test.
The Govee app is a little overwhelming
Once your lights are set up and calibrated, you have a ton of options for use. There are four main modes available — music, video, color, and scene — as well as a DIY option for users who want to create their own lighting effects within the app. We started with video mode, which changes the backlight colors to match any video/image on the screen. After fiddling with the saturation and brightness, we popped on a colorful animated YouTube video and were immediately stunned by the results.
These lights are bright, and the color sync is beyond impressive. If you have everything calibrated correctly, the backlighting adjusts to match all sides of the screen, and you can modify the brightness for a subtle or bold effect, depending on your preference. The lights themselves were a bit glitchy when we used the “game” option in video mode, but switching it over to “all” smoothed everything out and provided a much more enjoyable experience.
The additional modes weren’t as useful to me, other than the scene mode — which allows you to choose a pre-designed lighting/animation sequence for your lights — and I found myself switching between video mode and my favorite scene (I’m a fan of the one called “night”) frequently. I tried spending more time on the app — like using the “Harmony Lab” which couples lighting effects with soothing, atmospheric sounds like rainstorms, cicadas chirping, or a campfire — but the sounds all come through my phone, not my TV, so it felt like an unnecessary feature that would require using a Bluetooth speaker or headphones to be really immersive. All in all, there were just too many options to choose from, so I stuck with what worked for me.
Sync-to-screen is cool, but the novelty wears off
Here’s the thing: The first time you see these backlights sync to video, the wow factor is unreal. I immediately texted my family videos of the backlights syncing to a colorful YouTube video, and even my hard-to-impress mom was “ooh-ing” at how smooth the sync was. It was colorful and immersive, and it surprisingly amplified our viewing experience once we flipped on our favorite Netflix show.
The downside? I kept forgetting to use it. After the first few days, it was hard to remember to turn the lights on — let alone switch from my favorite scene back to video mode — so I found myself leaving it on scene mode more often than not.
It was still a great experience, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly. We still use the sync-to-screen feature from time to time, usually when we’re having a dedicated movie night, but it didn’t stick with me as much as I thought it would.
Is it worth it?
If you’re an avid fan of smart lighting — or obsessed with cultivating the ultimate home movie experience — then yes, the Govee Envisual TV Backlight T2(Opens in a new tab) is absolutely worth it. The installation process is easy enough, the lighting quality is fantastic, and it really adds some extra “oomph” to your television setup.
For the average user? You might want to stick with Govee’s other backlight options — like its Smart LED Light Bars, which are more affordable and still offer a colorful, customizable lighting experience. You won’t have the ability to sync-to-screen, but it’s not really a feature I could see most people using on a regular basis.
I’m definitely a convert to colorful TV backlights — and Govee’s product quality was impressive — but I just don’t think I need all of the extra bells and whistles.