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Philips AmbX

Company: Philips

Website: www.ambx.com

Market introduction: Mid 2007

Cost of system: Basic system (only lighting): +/- 150 euro / 200 dollar

Short explanation of system:
The basic system consists of a center console and two light pillars. The center console should be placed behind the monitor. It consist of three groups of led’s (left, right and mid), which illuminate the wall behind the monitor. All additional equipment is connected to this center console. The console is connected to the computer by means of an USB cable and gets its power from an adapter.
The two light pillars should be placed to the left and right of the monitor. Although these light pillars will somewhat illuminate also the walls to the left and right of the monitor their main purpose is to provide direct light to the viewer. In upgraded systems the light pillars will also contain the sound speakers.

Philips AmbX system
Example of a Philips AmbX Premium Kit
Philips AmbX starter kit
Philips AmbX Starter Kit
Philips AmbX ProGamer kit
Philips AmbX ProGamer Kit
Philips AmbX premium kit
Philips AmbX Premium Kit

Game support:
In principle the basic system (lighting part) should work with all games. Most popular games have been tested with the system and are automatically detected by the AmbX software and set to be enabled for lighting effects within the AmbX software. Games which were not tested for AmbX also get autodetected but are standard set to disabled for lighting effects. Manually setting those games to enable within the software will also show the lighting effects (after a restart of the game).
Philips is trying to get some game developers to support there system with new games, specifically on rumbling and wind effects as well as on lighting effects which do not correspond to what is displayed on screen (for example red/green starting light in driver 3).

Video support:
At the moment the AmbX software does not standard support lighting effects with playing videos using popular software like Windows Media Player (classic). However there is a workaround to enable this for a number of players!

Windows Media Player (WMP) Classic: Start WMP Classic, go to view and select options. In the options menu go to playback and select output. In the output screen select under DirectShow Video VMR9 (renderless)**! Now restart WMP Classic and open a video (either DVD, avi, divx or something else). The Philips AmbX Application Manager will give a popup in the right corner of your screen saying a new application has been identified. Go to the Application Manager and enable WMP Classic! Again restart WMP Classic and open a video file, the Philips AmbX lights should now light up with every played video!

VLAN player (free player): Setting the video output in the video options menu to OpenGL will enable AmbX lighting effects with playback of video’s (DVD, divx, etc) with the VLAN player.

Philips is working on updating the AmbX software/drivers to also support lighting effects with other/standard media players.

Websites/desktop support:
Currently the AmbX software does not support lighting effects with websites and/or desktop.

Audio support:
The AmbX software supports lighting effects while playing audio files using Windows Media Player. Within WMP a number of pre-programmed lighting effects can be chosen.

Quality of product:

Positive:

  • The latest software updates show some real improvement in color quality with stereo color!
  • Easy to install both software and hardware
  • Build quality of components (center console and pillars) is good
  • Complete system
  • Regular software updates and good feedback (website)

Negative:

  • Limited options within software to control the lighting effects (color saturation, etc)
  • Color saturation of lighting effects in games and during audio/video playback is poor
  • No website/desktop lighting support and only very limited video playback support
  • Expensive

As already stated, Philips is continuously improving their software, with the goal to also improve the quality of their AmbX lighting effects in near future (for example color saturation and 'stereo' light). Furthermore the AmbX system can offer not only lighting effects but also rumbling and wind effects, which no other system on the market can do!


Example of Philips AmbX showing the complete color spectrum (cycling colors):

 



Example of Philips AmbX with music playback (Windows Media Player):

 



Example of Philips AmbX in game during playing of Battlefield 3 (BF3):

 



 
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