HomeReviewSetting TV on "fire" with Lytmi Fantasy 3

Setting TV on “fire” with Lytmi Fantasy 3

Trying backlights for a TV

I’m the least qualified person to review Lytmi Fantasy – a backlight kit for monitors, TVs and whatever screens you’d like to spruce up. Why? I hardly watch TV, to begin with (my 55″ Samsung is stuck in a corner) and all media consumed by me is usually projected on a Xiaomi DLP projector. But here I am with a fancy backlight kit and words to say about it.

Lytmi Fantasy 3

Technically, it’s not the first time I deal with RGB lights that use onscreen content to enhance the viewing experience. My Razer BlackWidow Pro V3, coupled with Basilisk Pro V3 mouse changes colour based on what’s on my computer monitor. It’s fancy, but as I mostly look at my screen than peripherals, I hardly even notice that.

Lytmi Fantasy 3 kit uses HDMI information to match the ambient light with what’s currently on your screen. I always wanted to try this, but never had enough time and motivation to pull this off.

I’m genuinely impressed with the kit. A small controller features 4 inputs for your HDMI signal and a single output. Handy, if your TV has limited HDMI ports. The box can catch up with the content streamed at 8K60 and 4K120 which is probably more in the realm of games than movies at the moment. Picking one now will definitely assure the longevity of your setup.

The included RGB strip is cut to size, and corners are connected with an extension wire – it terminates with a USB-C (nice) and plugs in directly to the Lytmi Fantasy 3 box. It’s a good compromise as the strip is easy to deploy, while corners feel adequately blended. You can get these for screens from 55″ all the way up to 90″.

Lytmi asks for anything from £160 all the way up to £200 depending on the length of the strip included in the package. It’s not the cheapest solution but considering the options that come with it – it’s an interesting proposal.

Limitations

The product page is filled with amazing specs and support for 8K content and a 120Hz refresh rate, but there is one limitation that I found almost instantly. It’s not Lytmi’s fault, but I consume 99% of my content on the TV via an Ethernet port, not HDMI.

To give Lytmi Fantasy 3 a fighting chance, I brought my Google Cast, plugged it via one of the HDMI ports and I could start testing this thing.

Installation

It took me about 15 min to set everything up. The RGB strips are cut to the size of your screen, saving a lot of installation time and thanks to included plastic clips, the ends of the RGB strips are less likely to peel off over time. All this can be neatly managed in minutes.

As Lytmi Fantasy 3 kit comes with ARC support, you don’t have to expose the box either to access control buttons. The box will detect the signal automatically and toggle the lights as needed. The best place to keep everything neat is to 3M tape the box to the back of the TV alongside the rest.

As the kit comes with options to set the strip direction, you can wrap the lights around your TV in the direction that matches your cable management and set the properties of your strip later.

Smarts

Instead of a remote, Lytmi Fantasy 3 connects to your 2.4GHz WiFi. Litme app isn’t the masterpiece in app design but works well and gives you access to basic options (like setting up default HDMI input) and controls over Lytmi Fantasy 3 effects.

At this stage, there are choices to be made. RGB controls are split into 4 sections:

  • plain colours
  • animated effects (fireplace, stars, candlelight etc)
  • HDMI driven ambience
  • sound driven effects

As the device mentioned Alexa and Google Home compatibility, I decided to try that too. Following the manual, I discovered that Lytmi Fantasy 3 uses the Smart Home app (Tuya clone) to connect to my voice assistants. As Smart Home is basically a reskin of Tuya – I tried to pair my kit with Tuya instead. After all, how many apps do I need?

Turns out, that Tuya has exactly the same interface as the Lytmi app for Lytmi Fantasy 3. That spares me from having a dedicated app on my phone and enables control via Alexa, Google Home and most importantly Tuya API. NodeRED and HA folks – rejoice! The voice commands are limited to what’s available for smart bulb controls (colour, brightness, toggle).

TV USB port

There is a small micro USB port located next to USB-C – but at the moment it’s not used for anything. There are secret plans for the port in question, but for now, we have to leave it alone

What’s it like?

The kit works well and it’s super responsive. There is no lag between what’s on the screen and the colours of the RGB ambience behind the TV. As the brightness and the resolution of the effects can be adjusted, you are likely to find the setting for you. How you perceive the ambient light spilling over at the back of your TV, is down to your preference and watching habits.

Forgive my messy setup – it’s clear, I don’t spend enough time to justify a better TV station. For best results, your TV should be cable managed and placed in front of a plain background. This could be an embedded shelf that will also encapsulate the spillover or simply an empty wall. If anything, my setup illustrates well how exposed every cable feels when the backlight is enabled. Without the ambient light, I barely notice that messy setup.

I think it goes without saying that the ambient light works best when the room is dark. Lytmi Fantasy 3 is bright for daylight viewing but doesn’t look as impressive as in the evening hours.

Films

From a technical point, Lytmi Fantasy 3 is impressive. The changes are quick, the light is bright (at max brightness) and it does make the screen bigger during the projection. The colours are matched well and the resolution (adjustable) translates the information from a movie into awesome spillover.

However…

I also found myself distracted. Perhaps I’m not used to the tech. Action films were particularly problematic where action scenes caused the entire room to flash like a nightclub.

I found films with a slower pace more enjoyable as changes in the ambient light were more subdued and less distracting. The kit does what it promises, perhaps I’m too old to consume the media this way.

Games

Strikingly, playing games with the same setup gave me a different experience. Actively involved in the medium, I didn’t mind the flicker as much. I think colour palettes of games change slower than films (in general) which resulted in a less distracting experience.

I found Lytmi Fantasy 3 to be enhancing scenes rather than taking me away from them. It’s a surprising result, to say the least.

Music

One effect, in particular, stands out for me. It creates a really fancy ripple behind the screen driven by the music played. I love it. It’s just a shame, that I almost never use TV to play music.

Final thoughts

There are less expensive ways to add dynamic ambient light to a TV, but most of them come with some drawbacks. Lytmi Fantasy 3 kit is a solid choice, especially if you watch high-definition content via HDMI. As the popularity of smart TVs and digital services goes up, I found myself using HDMI ports less and less. While I can connect to Google Cast (or similar) and still enjoy the ambient theatre – it’s probably not for me. Projectors give enough spillover as is. Perhaps this kit is for you. Let me know in this Reddit thread.

🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.

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