s3nki | Nov 2023, 22 | 0
TV gets a new quality - BlitzWill BW-LB2 test
Frenetic light orgy, Ambilight colors at a fraction of the price.
Before I start writing about the product, I should also say a few words about the brand, BlitzWill. My readers will probably notice the prefix Blitz, which can be used to identify the now well-known BlitzWolf brand. Yes, BlitzWill belongs to BlitzWolf, just like BlitzHome, but while under the name Home we get household appliances, under the name BlitzWill we can buy smart lighting solutions.
The manufacturer says this about himself:
WILL has two meanings, one is "to wish/want" in the verb, and the other is "the future" when used as a noun or a personal name.
The goal of the new brand is to bring customers "a general intelligent visual experience in the future" within the BLITZWILL brand, and realize customers' ideal lighting expectations.
When I saw the packaging of a BlitzWill product for the first time, I had the feeling that the manufacturer wanted to go a little further and launch higher quality, trendier products under the new name. The colorful but showy boxes are no longer in a relationship of gratitude with the old green and white BlitzWolf boxes, which, let's face it, won't make us cry.
It is interesting, however, that the first BlitzWill product was originally marketed as BlitzWolf, although it is one of, if not their best ceiling light, so it was somehow understandable that they started the series with this product.
In the past few months, another ceiling light came along, a NEON strip came along, and now here is the fresh, crisp BW-LB2, which you can read about in Hungarian for the first time. Let's get into it!
The name of the product has therefore become BW-LB2, which at first glance is a completely ordinary, but in terms of quality, it seems to be one of the best RGB LED strips. However, this thing is much (MUCH!) more than a simple LED strip.
It is an important fact that the length of the tape is 5 meters, it is much less interesting that its weight is 850 grams. It works with an external power supply, the device and the LED strip together consume 36 watts (12 volts and 3 amps).
According to the paper form, the LED strip can be used for 55-65 inch TVs (not entirely true), but I will write about this later. The LED strip comes with a controller, two HDMI cables, tabs that can be glued to the back of the TV, which will hold the strip.
There is no longer a remote control, but there is an easy-to-use phone application that can be used to control the lighting. For this, of course, we need to have a phone with an Android or iOS system and we will also need a 2,4 GHz Wi-Fi network in the apartment.
That's about it, here comes the next chapter!
Actually, I should have continued with the assembly here, but the matter is so simple that I will not dedicate a separate chapter to it, I will describe it later in the experience section. So now the application can come!
We need to download the Cozy Life app to our phone. I'm not happy about this, because this requires a registration again, and what comes with it. I feel it's a bit lame that the BlitzWolf products (BlitzHome, BlitzWill) that I've had recently don't have to use the BlitzWolf smart home software, so they can't even be integrated into a system under this program.
Of course, there is no need to despair, rather you should trash the BlitzHome program and use the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant systems instead, under which basically all smart stuff can be integrated.
I note here that BlitzWill's LED strip can also be used under Smart Things, Alice, Home Assistant, TmallGenie, XiaoAi and XiaoDu systems. Let's say that Home Assistant, which is better known here, is also interesting, because e.g. XiaoAi is Xiaomi's system that can only speak Chinese.
Cozy Life is a livable program anyway, you can also organize a smart home system under it if you have several gadgets that work with it. I do not have.
Installation is easy. You can add a new device to the program by clicking on the + sign at the top right. Then we select the BLE+WiFi device (Bluetooth and Wifi). To do this, don't forget to turn on Bluetooth on your phone! Then the program recognizes our key, we enter the password of the Wi-Fi network and we are done.
The manufacturer says that if we cut the tape to size (for this, there are parts marked with a scissor pictogram where you can cut, don't cut it open where you think it's good, because this will also kill the unfortunate), then the system automatically calibrates itself to the remaining size. I haven't tried this, I didn't want to cut it apart yet, because my TV is only 42 inches, and in principle it can't be used for this.
Fortunately, it's only in principle, because there are two settings in the phone application that can be used. I'll be completely honest, although I set it up, I don't really know how I did it, because there's something wrong with my English or with the operating instructions, but we couldn't get on the same wavelength. I don't understand what they write in English.
The first setting is still simple, here we can specify how long the tape should be active. It's not difficult, since as we step up or down, more and less LEDs light up, so we can determine which part of the taped tape should light up and which part should not.
The second point is interesting, where you have to enter values with (+ and - signs) for the sides, and this changes the color information obtained from certain parts of the image on which parts of the tape appear in the form of the color corresponding to the screen. I can't explain it better than that.
The problem was that I couldn't understand the way to do this from the user description, so after quite a lot of mishaps and claims, I only (accidentally) found the right setting.
The point is that I was able to shoot the lights for my own "small" TV, which does not require a display between 50 and 80 inches.
The program is also simple. You can choose from the operating modes on the tabs at the bottom. It can be a movie, music or plain background light.
In the case of a movie, it "picks up the signal" from the content of the screen, in the case of music, the built-in microphone "hears" the music, in the case of the plain colored part, you can choose a color from the many millions available, and you can also control the brightness of this color.
There is another mode, with which we can display pre-programmed light effects.
Okay, we installed the tape, set up the app, now it's time to set it up and use it, that is, the experience!
Before reading, watch our one-minute demo!
Where do I start? Perhaps, since this Ambilight imitation is not the first at BlitzWolf, there was another, even cheaper one. This older piece used an optical sensor that had to be glued to the TV bezel. The optical sensor "saw" the color of the area in front of it and set that color on the tape as well.
Well, this method was good, because it was independent of everything, operating system, type of TV, everything, and it also worked during regular TV broadcasts, and it also worked with copyrighted content, so it could be used in any case, with all played content.
There were two problems with it. One is that the entire LED strip was illuminated with one color, so it had little to do with Ambilight, and the other is that due to the limited amount of color information, it was more annoying than spectacular in many cases. Despite this, I still have it on my TV today, it functions as a smooth background light, because it can also be set to many millions of colors.
The new gadget, the BlitzWill BW-BL2, is a completely different, much more serious structure, but at the same time, this seriousness comes with some limitations. The fact is that this LED strip already comes with a box into which we have to bring an HDMI signal, which we then have to pass on to our TV via an output.
The structure extracts the color information from this HDMI signal, that is, the little one's brain knows that e.g. blue dominates in the upper right corner, red in the lower left, and green in the upper middle. According to the information, the LED strip lights up in green at the top center, red at the bottom left, and so on.
In other words, this LED strip can divide itself into many zones and light up with different colors per zone, creating the effect we call Ambilight!
The beauty of the matter is that the HDMI connector of the television does not output a signal, it is not designed for this, but to bring a signal to the TV from an external source. In other words, the BW-BL2 cannot receive a color code from the TV, for this we will need an external signal source that uses HDMI. It can be a SetTop box, it can be a game console, it can be an Android TV box, for example it was a Xiaomi Stick.
In short, the point is that the BlitzWill stuff will not work simply with the TV!
I promised to write about the equipment as well. Well, that's all we have to do is stick the little plastic tabs on, snap the tape in, and that's it. Two HDMI inputs can be used in the controller, so you can plug in, say, a console and a TV box at the same time, and you can choose which HDMI source signal the box uses from the application.
In addition, we have two more USB connectors, you can plug in an LED strip, and the strip works through this. We have an HDMI output, we need to connect this to the HDMI input of our TV. That is all!
The point is, of course, that the BW-BL2 works!
Well, in short and to the point, it's damn good! It delivers what it promises, that is, we really get real Ambilight lights, which "expands" the screen in an extremely spectacular way. It feels as if the back of our TV is transparent, and the lights of the display will therefore also illuminate the wall behind the TV.
From the application, you can set the speed of color tracking in 3 levels, so it can be dynamic, more flashing or slower as you like, when the colors on the wall change a little sleepier.
The most spectacular result is of course seen in the Ambilight demos, but the effect is actually enjoyable for all content. It didn't work for me during action movies, because the lighting changes can be quite intense in some scenes, but with nature movies, which flow more calmly and slowly, there are no sharp camera changes, I really enjoyed it.
What I still don't see the point of (I didn't see it with the older BlitzWolf solution either) are the effects. They flash the LEDs in different ways, which is downright annoying for me. There is something that should calm you down, with a relax mode, but this also only makes you nervous. Of course, we are not the same, maybe it suits you.
BlitzWill BW-BL2 turned out to be a very good build. Unfortunately, the higher quality and greater knowledge resulted in a higher price than what we were used to with their older solutions, but this is understandable and acceptable.
The BW-BL2 really knows what it promises. The quality of the LED strip is very good, the intensity of the lights, the colors really conjure up a dazzling orgy of light behind our TV, and finally not just randomly, but according to the real content of the image.
The fact that the colors can now change zone by zone allowed us to get the unadulterated Ambilight feeling. I would like to know whether the controller is able to use both USB ports in parallel, because if so, then with a second LED strip, the colorful experience could be extended even more in the living room.
Finally, as usual, the price of the product. We can buy it from the Czech and Polish warehouses, so it can even be a Christmas present, in principle, unless something catastrophic happens, it should arrive. The original price is HUF 35, from which we now get a discount with the coupon code BGa900c2c0, so we can add it to the cart for HUF 1 by clicking on the link below.