Alright, let's start her up. The kit itself is plug and play, you link up all components which are connected to a central HUB. This HUB is a wall washer - illuminating the wall with the previously described bright RGB LEDs. You do need a light wall color behind the monitor though, or the colors may not show. So yeah, a black wall would suck pretty bad. The lights really are the big seller for the kit.
Imagine a room, the electronic devices are amBX-enabled. A walk in a forest makes your room turn jungle green, swimming with dolphins will splash it deep blue, Halo jumps will turn your fans on full, lightning storms will strobe your wall with white lighting, and attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion will blast on your heaters. That's what the devices do... have a quick view at the thumbnail collection I made to get an idea what I mean.
Your PC line out leads to a subwoofer, the subwoofer feeds sound input to the hub which then sends it out to give left and right speaker sounds. Here we do stumble into a pretty big limitation of the kit, you'll be bound to 2.1 channel sound. So while the kit is targeted at the more enthusiast audience, there is no 5.1 channel version available. The overall sound from the 2.1 kit is pretty okay though. Yet it's far away from THX quality speakers, it surely gives enough volume and pretty decent sound in both games and music. Oh did I mention that the ambient lighting also works with music? Media Player is supported, yes.
After setting up the gear with the help of the good ol' USB port we install the software, and are good to go. It's all really that simple. There are three situations where you can utilize this kit.
Gaming We learned that a lot of games already work with amBX, yet to get the actual full experience you'll need to play one of the properly amBXed games. amBX-enabled games will provide gamers with the ability to use light, color, sound, and thus even airflow and rumble in the real world during gameplay. There are quite a few of them already, in fact roughly 163 games are supported and Assassins Creed, Call of Duty 4, World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero 3 and Crysis are just some of the titles known to be compatible with amBX.
Today we focus on a fully supported title, Brothers in Arms - Hell's Highway, which flashes proper explosion lights and simulates movement with the fans. Another nice example of fan usage is when you die in the game, they kick in mid-fight and when you die, the temperature drops and the fans will make sure you are having a cold experience. It's the perfect game for this kit alright. We'll show you this in a video we recorded.
Music Another use for the amBX kit is music. I've spilled the beans already, but when playing music through Media Player you can utilize the amBX light for a regular lighting fun-fest. Pre-applied lighting profiles can be selected for any music genre, after which the amBX kit will take over and turn your house on in a properly lit classical theme or your regular rock, disco or house party. Pretty fun really, we'll show you that in a video later on in this article.
Ambient lighting The last use for the kit is again lighting, you can use it to set a color theme in your room. With the help of the amBX software you can select or configure a multitude of color themes. The sky is the limit here, with RGB you can create all kinds of color presets, even animated.
A bit unfortunate is that the kit did not respond to videos. We tried to playback some movies yet the lights would not enable. I think that's a bit of a loss for Philips there. They might have done this on purpose though, as the kit could easily compete with the much more expensive Philips Ambilight high resolution TVs. It would have been a great selling point for this kit though.
Anyway, talk is cheap, as it's also very difficult to explain the experience. What we'll do next is have a look at the photo-shoot where we'll cover the individual components yet also the setup. Then we'll show you a couple of movies on how amBX works in a gaming / user environment. It was very difficult to record by the way, but you'll get the general idea.
Philips amBX gamers kit review Try to imagine playing a game with physical wind blowing on your face, the room illuminates depending on the game play monitor color tone and your desk starts to rumble in explosions. Philips made it possible with a new technology called amBX and here and now we are going to review it for you. Could this be the next big thing in the gaming experience ?