A win-win for your Home Theatre: add indirect lighting behind your HDTV to improve esthetics and reduce eye strain

Wide shot, blank TV screen, indirect lighting

Every once in a while, you trip over a win-win idea so simple, intuitive and novel, it just demands a second look – maybe even some evangelical sharing. I experienced just such an idea earlier this year while watching TV at a friend’s house. He’s the earliest high-tech adopter I know, so it’s always interesting to see what he’s experimenting with when I visit. On this particular occasion, I was marvelling at how good his big-screen HDTV looked – almost angelic, like it was surrounded by a halo of soft, warm light … and that’s when it hit me [insert record scratch sound effect here]. His big-screen TV did actually have a halo of soft, warm light surrounding it, emanating from somewhere behind the TV. Wow, what a subtle, pleasant visual effect. And as I was soon to discover, also a great way to help reduce eye strain.

Here’s the approach I used to add the same great indirect lighting behind my 52″ LCD TV. You can decide for yourself whether this win-win idea is worth a second look for your own home theatre system. For esthetics alone, this idea was well worth the price of admission for me.

Wide shot, movie on screen

Improve esthetics and create some drama by adding ambient, indirect lighting behind your HDTV

I’ve always been a big fan of soft, warm incandescent (wire-filament generated) lighting. I find compact fluorescent lights and LED lights cold and harsh by comparison and tougher on the eyes. The same goes for indirect lighting: I prefer softer indirect light sources that eliminate all light glare to help reduce eye irritation. Accordingly, for my TV, I placed 3, 12-foot sections of incandescent Rope Light behind the TV to create a soft, warm indirect light source.

Continue reading

A Safe, Simple Way to Prepare your Backyard Pond, Koi and Goldfish for Winter

A well-planted, backyard water garden filled with fish is quite spectacular in the Summer. There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as getting lost in the sights and sounds of falling water, while Koi swim lazily between the Lily pads to greet you at the water’s edge … that is, until Fall arrives. Then it’s time to Winterize the pond and put your fish to bed for the Winter. And since they’re going to spend the entire Winter outside, it’s important to prepare Koi (Japanese for Carp) and Goldfish properly to ensure they wake up happy and healthy in Spring. Here’s the approach I use to close my pond every Fall. It’s an approach I’ve adapted from others who’ve written about their experiences, and so far, I haven’t lost a single fish yet.

Note: My pond is 8′ x 8′ x 2′ deep (with straight walls), in Zone 6 where temperatures can reach -10F (-23C) in Winter.

Fish Requirements in Fall-Winter

Koi and Goldfish are hearty species that can tolerate cold temperatures outside. In Fall, when the water temperature drops below 45F, fish will slow down, stop eating and become inactive. Continue reading