MediaLight compared to Lumadoodle
I just found your website. I'm coming from a Lumadoodle that I damaged when I moved to a new apartment. Is there a reason why your lights cost more? Like can you show me actual data?
Thanks for your message and apologies for the delayed response.
It's funny. We get that question a lot. The short answer is that it costs more to build MediaLight. However, I ordered a small Lumadoodle to compare to our lights, and rather than giving you a bunch of marketing mumbo-jumbo, We'll focus on the differences -- some of which are apparent without instrumentation and others that rely on spectroradiometer readings.
Editor's Note: We are not affiliated with Power Practical in any way. Also, there is nothing shocking in this comparison. No exciting reveals. The measurements taken in our lab were, more or less, in line with the photometric data provided by Power Practical. They are essentially what you'd expect from an inexpensive, commodity LED strip with standard binning tolerances.
We will avoid subjective comparisons and focus on incontrovertible differences such as:
"one product has more LEDs than the other."
"one product includes a remote control and dimmer and one doesn't."
"one product is cheaper than the other."
"the color temperature of each light is X."
"one product has a higher rendering index than the other."
Before we get into objectivity, though, there is, one confounding part of Lumadoodle product naming conventions.
They have a color-changing product called "Lumadoodle Pro," which, despite the name, is not suitable for professional, color-critical work. It might, however, depend on how you use the word "Pro." It could be perfectly fine for a professional DJ, for example.
The CRI measurement (provided by Power Practical) for the Lumadoodle Pro in white mode was lower than the white-only version, although the color temperature was a bit closer to 6500K, (albeit with a Δuv > .004), which makes the Lumadoodle look greener than the MediaLight.
We manufacture a product called the MediaLight Pro, which is the predecessor to the MediaLight Mk2. Both the MediaLight Pro and the MediaLight Mk2 are suitable for color-critical work. Both have CRI 98-99 with TLCI of 99. All MediaLight strips are simulated D65 white. They don't change colors.
Our comparison here is between the MediaLight Mk2 and the white Lumadoodle.
Here is the raw data in .csv format for measurements from both light strips taken with a Sekonic C7000 off of an 18% gray card in a room painted with Munsell N8 paint. (You might have seen our integrating sphere on other pages. We use that to measure test LEDs in development, not assembled strips).
The measurements above were taken with 1m lengths of LED strips.
Comparing Lumadoodle and MediaLight
There are fewer LEDs on each meter of Lumadoodle than on each meter of MediaLight.
Each MediaLight strip contains 30 LEDs per meter versus 18 per meter for Lumadoodle. Objectively speaking, there are 66% more LEDs on every MediaLight per meter, which results in a more even ambient light surround (LEDs are closer together, with a beam angle of 120°), particularly when the display is closer to the wall. The chips in MediaLight would cost 66% more based on LED quantity even if lower-yield, higher accuracy SMD chips didn't cost more to manufacture.
Other Design differences
- MediaLight includes a dimmer. Lumadoodle does not include a dimmer for their white model (bias lighting should be D65 white, so this is what we are comparing), but you can purchase one for approximately $12
- MediaLight includes an on/off switch. Lumadoodle does not. If the USB port on your TV doesn't turn off with the TV, you are instructed to unplug it.
- MediaLight's dimmer and remote works with Harmony remote or IR universal remotes, Lumadoodle doesn't include a dimmer and the unit available for sale is not Harmony or IR universal remote compatible.
- MediaLight uses pure copper PCB (alloy-immersed) for superior conductivity and heat sink capabilities, Lumadoodle does not.
- MediaLight includes an adapter (North American only), Lumadoodle does not.
- MediaLight includes a 5 Year Warranty, and the Lumadoodle warranty is 1 year.
- MediaLight does not change colors and Lumadoodle does make a model with different colors. If you want changing colors, Lumadoodle is a better choice. However, color changing lights adversely impact the image on screen for color-critical viewing. As a result, MediaLight doesn't offer them.
- MediaLight is certified for accuracy by the Imaging Science Foundation and designed to exceed SMPTE standards for ambient light for color critical video environments. Lumadoodle is reasonably close to their stated targets of 6000K and 76 Ra, but these are not reference standards.
MediaLight LEDs are simulated D65 (6500K with the Δuv of .003 -- the Δuv of reconstituted sunlight, in line with the CIE standard illuminant D65) with ultra-high color rendering index (CRI) of ≥ 98 Ra. The chromaticity coordinates are remarkably close to the x=0.3127, y=0.329 standard.
- Lumadoodle advertises advertises a lower temperature of 6000K (on some pages) and our measurements bear this out. They are warmer than 6500K (about 5600K for this sample). Lumadoodle's color rendering index of 76 is below the SMPTE-recommended minimum recommended value of 90 Ra.
- MediaLight has an R9 (deep red) value of ≥ 97. Lumadoodle has a negative R9 value. This means that Lumadoodle has no deep red in its spectrum, at least not relative to the other colors in the spectrum.
- Deep red (R9) light is important for accurate skin tones due to the blood flow beneath our skin. (This matters even with a transmissive display, even though the impact is inverted). It also explains why the lights tend to have a green/blue cast compared to high CRI lights. The light comprises blue and yellow peaks.
Spectral Power Distribution and CRI of MediaLight Mk2
Spectral Power Distribution and CRI of Lumadoodle
It can be a challenge to visualize the difference between the spectral power distributions of two light sources, so we will overlap the graphs. The spectral power distribution for the Lumadoodle is superimposed in front of the the MediaLight Mk2. The Lumadoodle appears as translucent white with a black border and the MediaLight Mk2 appears in color.
We see that Lumadoodle creates white by combining yellow phosphors (phosphors with a peak wavelength of 580 nm) with a blue emitter. There is no red or green peak in the Lumadoodle sample (you can make low CRI white light by combining two colors of light -- yellow and blue).
You can see the separate green and red peaks for the MediaLight Mk2 and the colors that look boldest on the graph represent the colors missing from the Lumadoodle spectrum. The white "mountaintop" represents the peak energy level of the yellow phosphors in the Lumadoodle.
The MediaLight does not contain a yellow peak as a combination of wide and narrow-band red and green phosphors are combined with the blue emitter to give the MediaLight Mk2 SPD a shape that is closer to D65, or "simulated D65."
While this comparison is coming from their competitor, unlike some products on the market, Lumadoodle does not claim to be designed for accuracy, and the price is lower than the price of MediaLight, although it is not necessarily lower than similar commodity LED strips. Contrast this with companies who promise more than they deliver. They are promising CRI of 76 and that's what what you get.
Cost is certainly a factor for some and even the best bias lights won't save a bad TV with the the wrong settings.
We prefer to not sell to people who don't need or want accuracy. There are many more people using TVs directly out of the box than there are people who calibrate their displays.
We hope, however, that we've shown why our products cost more to manufacture so that you can decide which product is right for you.
Here are the founders of Lumadoodle talking about their bias lighting products and how they have a different focus. This isn't unusual. Most LEDs sold as bias lights are commodity LED strips that are designed for multiple purposes, such as tent lights.
Our lights would make terrible camping lights, but they are exceptional bias lights. However, there are situations where accuracy doesn't matter much, and paying for accuracy isn't worth the additional cost. You should never buy something that costs more than you can afford.
If you calibrate your TV, inaccurate lights effectively uncalibrate it from the viewer's perspective. If the ambient light in a viewing environment is too warm and has a Δuv that is too high, it will look greener and warmer than simulated D65 light. As a result, a TV will look more magenta and cooler than D65, even when it has been calibrated.
And even without the accuracy difference, there are other things that you'd want to add to the Lumadoodle to make it an apples-to-apples comparison based on price, These items include a remote control, a dimmer, AC adapter, an extension cord, higher LED density and a vastly longer warranty period. Adding accessories closes the price gap considerably.
The key trade-off is one of cost versus accuracy. If you don't get the accuracy that you need, you are probably paying too much, despite a lower price. And, if you don't need accuracy, you might be better off with a cheaper product, rather than either of the products reviewed on this page.
That was an interesting comparison. Which lights would you like to see measured next?