LIFX Developer Zone

Ambilight project


After months of hacking with LIFX Z lightstrip I have something to show. App that creates Ambilight-like effect based on screen content. I know there are many apps doing more or less the same but I have not seen any decent ones yet. Here is a video showing my project in action:
Ambilight project

This setup uses 3 meter LIFX Z strip around TV with 24 individual zones to control. I use Mac to mirror video to Apple TV 4 via Airplay and my Mac app to read screen content and control lights.

App does it’s best to set color to one or more zones at a time to match content as closely as possibly. Doing this in real-time is non-trivial, there are some many possible color/zone combinations. If LIFX engineers added a new LAN protocol message to set multiple zones with different colors it would make the app even better.

Another challenge was how to update lightstrip as quickly as possible without packet loss or increased latency. Currently I am sending around 60-120 messages per second, this varies based on network conditions. If I wanted to update all 24 zones (3 meter strip) 24 times per second (typical movie framerate) individually I would need to send 576 messages per second. This would only lead to enormous packet loss and latency.

Due to added Airplay latency light control latency is actually negative in this video. I tried to add some latency to light control but at the moment lights are updated around 130ms too early. Using HDMI instead of Airplay would fix this. There are still many issues to fix before releasing this but at some point it will be available for various platforms. If you guys have any questions I am happy to answer!


Nice work! I know that Philips Hue used to have some content partner deals where they offered something similar and all of the color data was sent from the cloud in sync with the video. Some SyFy shows used this but I haven’t seen any new content like this from any providers in a long time. Very impressive project here.


Thanks for your kind words Kevin, appreciate it.

I have seen some videos of Philips Hue synced with SyFy shows and the results are not very impressive. Hue will also soon release Hue Sync app that “will let you create and customize light scripts for games, movies, and music played on a Mac or Windows computer”. Sounds very similar to what I am trying to achieve here, apart from music sync.


You sir, are a GOD.
I will be following this project closely for when it’s released for Windows (10)!

Edit: I know it’s a little soon for requests, but would there be any chance that you could include options for “half side-by-side” and “half over-under” 3D videos? Pretty sure the app would really enhance 3D video as well, but I’m sure it would be problematic running a 3D video through it the way it currently looks at the video feed.


But 3D TVs are so last season :grinning: I got one and never tried on those glasses…

If I understood correctly supporting those 3D modes means that app only scans half of the image and applies the effect to full width/height? That feature is simple to implement, added to backlog.


Correct (on all counts).
I rarely use the feature, but I’ve found that it’s excellent for gaming as well as for my favorite discovery – using simulated 3D while displaying the “Milkdrop 2” music visualizer. It’s practically like being on hallucinogens. I can only imagine what this app would look like when combined with that setup!


Any new developments on this? Do you have a developer’s blog or something by any chance?
Eager to try this out! If you need any Windows Beta testers, please let me know.


@Quixote Few more days before Mac app will be out for testers. Creating simple user interface for lightstrip setup has a lot of time. Then focus will be mainly on Windows version. I also got some LIFX Mini Color bulbs so there will be support for additional bulbs as well. Something like Philips Hue is trying to do but with LIFX you can have better experience and available sooner :sunglasses:
Philips Hue Entertaiment demo


Just checking in on your progress towards a Windows app. Sorry if I appear to be hounding you, but I’m curious and very anxious to put this to use here. Thanks in advance!


First beta for macOS is now available, Windows version is being developed in parallel. Maybe a few weeks before it is out.


Thanks! I’ll keep my eyes peeled!


Very excited to see a Windows version. Any updates on a release?


@superg is MIA! Must’ve had a burnout from developing he app for us! :frowning:


Perhaps. Hopefully everything is going well and we’ll get a release sometime soon :smiley:


@superg are you still with us? Any updates would be much appreciated!
Thanks in advance


What a tease!!! :frowning:
When I discovered this potentially awesome app I felt like a child that just woke up on Christmas morning. Now I feel that I lead a hollow, vapid existence, imagining what could have been… but never will.


@superg any updates on the Windows version?


It’s been a quite a while since we originally posted this project, sorry for the delay. For variety of reasons development for this was on hold for months but now it’s back on track. We have a new beta for macOS users available now and the app will be soon on Mac App Store. Next up will be Windows version and more platforms, depending on the your interest.

Here is a video showing what we have been up to recently (first 10 seconds is same as before):

So in addition to LIFX Z lightstrip support you can now add surround lights using any LIFX color bulbs.

Here is link to new beta version:

The app is sandboxed and notarized by Apple so it is not going to harm your computer. Please leave us feedback if the app works or not, what is good and what sucks. App user interface also has button to send log file to us, that will help diagnose possible issues.

Here is support site for the app, please check the instructions before using it. If you configure things in wrong order or for example don’t set screen size at all the app won’t work as expected.

Instructions are very much outdated and will be updated during next few days. For example surround lights are lacking from documentation, you just drag and drop them to correct place.

Please share your feedback, thank you!


I’ve been really looking forward to this. I’m really glad to hear that the project isn’t dead. I know public timetables are a developers worst enemy, but I’ve gotta ask, do you have some kind of roadmap you can share with us? I have an nvidia shield that I would love to integrate with Lifx Z.



Just wanting to know is there a windows version out or still in development?

Anyway keep up the good work. I cant wait to try this with Plex.