What's an Ambilight?

An Ambilight is a set of lights (Bulbs, LEDs etc.) which augments a screen (TV or Monitor) by projecting colors to a wall.
Consequently, the screen appears to be wider and the transition between a screen and the world is smoother. Some TVs come with a build in Ambilight which consists of many LEDs attached to the frame of the TV. This usually is quite expensive and requires you to buy a new TV. Let's just build our own.

Overview

We're going to build an Ambilight by using 2 cheap smart bulbs and the Kodi Media Player.
This build will only work while using Kodi and not when using outer video sources.
I only describe the Kodi-related steps briefly, because there is much information available online and many people already know how to do this.
All in all this build cost me about 20€.

Requirements

  • Kodi:
    Kodi is a universally used open source Video Player and Streaming App. It runs on many platforms, supports a multitude of formats and lets you write and install Addons to extend its functionality.
    Kodi has lately been in the media due to its ability to run Addons that allow you to stream copyrighted Movies and Series but rest assured that Kodi itself is absolutely legal and also offers many advantages for non-pirates. I use it every day!

  • A Kodi Device: You'll need something running the Kodi Software that's plugged into your TV. This can be anything from your Laptop to a special TV Box or a Raspberry Pi. My Kodi Device is an Amazon Fire TV.

  • 2 or more Xiaomi Yeelights: Yeelight is a Wifi enabled Smart Bulb from China. It's very high quality and can be frequently purchased for under 10€. Look on sites like Gearbest.com or Banggood.com for a good deal. Shipping can take up to one month, so get right to it! Be sure to get the RGB-Version.

  • Cheap Lamp Sockets: You'll need a socket to power your Yeelights. You could take any normal E27 Lamp or purchase sockets which plug in directly to a power outlet. I bought these "cable-sockets" from Amazon.

Instructions

  • Install Kodi on your Device. Follow the official instructions.

  • Set up your Yeelights using the Yeelight Smartphone App, again just follow the instructions given by the app

  • Give your bulbs a permanent IP (This step is optional but saves you the hassle of rediscovering your bulbs):
    *
    Access your wifi router's Admin Page in your Browser

    • Assign a permanent IP to your Bulbs (usually in the DHCP or the Wifi-Settings).
  • Set your bulbs in the developer mode
    using the Yeelight App.

  • Attach the Yeelight Bulb to your TV. I just used some tape to fix them into position - one bulb on the left and one on the right, pointing to the wall behind my TV.

  • Install the YeeMee Addon Repository:

  • If you have problems with this step, do some googling. It's a fairly common Kodi use-case and enough information regarding this process exists online.

  • Install the YeeMee Addon from the new repository. It's located in "Services"

  • Open the YeeMee Addon:

    • Navigate to "My Addons"
    • Look for YeeMee in the "Services" Section
    • Press on the "Configure" Button
  • Discover and test your Bulbs in YeeMee in the "IP Addresses" Submenu

  • Configure your Ambilight:

  • Be sure to activate both "YeeMee Service On" and "YeeMee Ambi Service On" in the Addon.

  • Choose the value of "Use as YeeMee Ambi" like the location of the bulb. "Left 1/3" means that this bulb augments the left side of the TV and uses the outer 1/3 of the display for color information.

  • Experiment with different settings to see which
    fits your set up best.

  • If your device is Android based (like a Fire TV) you'll have to deactivate Hardware Decoding in the Kodi settings for the ambilights to work. More information on this is also available online.

For further information about the YeeMee Addon, please visit the creator's website, where you can also donate some money for his awesome work.