Andrea Smith/CNN Underscored

Adding LED light strips to the back of your TV or PC monitor lets you create an immersive entertainment experience, whether you’re gaming or just watching TV, listening to music or just trying to set a specific mood. To fit light strips into that tight space, you’ll want to be able to cut them to fit, which means an RGB light strip (that means it doesn’t have integrated ICs so you can use as much or as little as you like, giving up the ability to show multiple colors at once) is your best bet. The Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED TV Light Strips gave us the best performance for the money of any RGB strip light we tested.

The best LED light strips for TV backlighting

Sengled’s affordable RGB light strips come in easy-to-mount lengths that save you money when mounting on a TV or monitor for backlighting effects, and have plenty of smarts to provide the perfect ambiance and audio-synchronized lighting effects for most TV or gaming situations.

eSengled’s strips come as a set of precut pieces — two 40-inch, two 20-inch and four 10-inch segments — that should let you easily fit most sets up to about 75 inches diagonal. They attach to the back of the TV with adhesive and are very straightforward to install. We set them up on a 65-inch TV and didn’t have to cut any to size, although you can easily do so if needed.

Since you can’t reuse excess pieces once they’re cut, these smaller strips make sure you don’t waste money cutting down longer strips — if you need to trim a bit off off one of these shorter strips to fit, you’re not sacrificing much. The flexible LED light strips are covered with a protective layer and fit together by attaching pins on either end. Sengled includes three corner pieces, so you don’t have to bend or twist the light strip 90 degrees to make a proper angle (something that made it more difficult to fit other light strips into tight corners — with some of the competition, bending caused the strip to peel away or lift up, creating a dim spot).

View of the back of a wall-mounted TV, showing that the Sengled LED strips come in precut lengths that make it easy to mount them on the back of a television or monitor without waste.

The Sengled strips look great casting onto the wall behind the TV, creating instant ambiance, even when the TV is off. When you’re just relaxing and listening to music, you can sync the lights to dance and change with the music. A built-in microphone picks up the sound and will change the colors based on the beat.

Closeup of one of Sengled's corner clips, showing that the set of included corner clips and cabling let you make right angle connections without having to bend the strips themselves.

The Sengled strips are controlled via Wi-Fi through the Sengled app or by voice control (they’re compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant). Using the app, you can set color temperature, choose from 16 million colors and create routines and set schedules. Like many of the other light strips, Sengled includes a manual controller, which you can use to turn the lights on or off without having to grab your phone.

While you don’t need a hub to use them, they’re compatible with the SmartThings hub if you want to integrate them with other smart home devices around your home to create more elaborate room-wide lighting effects.

While the Sengled light strips provide great ambient effects and we enjoyed syncing them to audio, they won’t synchronize color with the content you’re watching like more elaborate systems from Govee and Philips Hue. Govee’s system uses a camera to read color off the screen, while Philips Hue systems can use a specialized HDMI device to read color information right from the incoming signal.

These systems are great if you want to achieve really elaborate effects, and they make sense for dedicated gamers who might want immersive lighting that follows on-screen action, but for watching movies we felt such systems are likely overkill.

With their easy mounting, ability to sync to sound and music and simple control without a hub, the Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED TV Light Strips give you great value for your money, and — unless you want color sync with your game or the content you’re watching — they’re the best value pick for adding ambiance to your home theater or gaming battle station.

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