April 17, 2019

If you run down the aisle of Christmas lights during November at your local hardware store, you’re bound to see a blur of color, blinking lights and a lot of nice, white bulbs.

Christmas lights are great, and I love creating great displays with them! But the thing that regular Christmas lights can’t do is change individually on my command.

You’ve got to have pixels for that!

Pixels are special lights that many people use in their musically-synchronized Christmas display to have color-changing fun across every single bulb – all controlled by a computer.

While this may sound complicated, it doesn’t have to be – that’s my mission here!

So, if these pixels are so complicated, should you even use them?

Why Should You Use Pixels on Your Christmas Display

I love the ability to create an animation across my entire house that is synchronized across all of my lights.

Not just blinking and flashing individually, but perfectly in sync with the music and the location of each light!

This is something that you simply can’t do with standard Christmas lights or the semi-automated lights that you can find at a hardware store that can run off of a remote!

For me, this is the biggest reason to go with pixels. You can get total creative control, and involve the whole family in choosing what your display will look like!

You can even sync your show to music, all with free software! And you don’t have to be an engineer to do it.

Pixels are a lot of fun to work with, and I am certain that they are more reliable than most Christmas light strings. If you’re like me, you have many memorize of untangling and troubleshooting old Christmas lights – a process that often ends with a trash can!

Since each pixel is individually waterproofed, with no removable bulb, a good string of pixels will be very reliable over the long run. And when they do break, it’s easy to find where the problem is too.

Though they are going to cost more than traditional lights, you actually can set them up FASTER than regular lights once you have your lights inserted into your various props or strips.

But, of course any time savings found in setup are easily lost again in the art of sequencing music to your lights (though you can buy sequences and shortcut this step as well).

Why You Shouldn’t Use Pixels for Your Christmas Lights

On my display I use a combination of pixels and regular Christmas lights. Why? I love the ability that standard lights have to be deployed very quickly, and they cover a lot of space easily.

Instead of worrying about data and voltage drop, I can just plug in my lights and go! There’s less planning before setup begins.

If you want to make a show that looks really cool and you don’t mind putting in the time to sequence and wire up all of your lights, then RGB pixels just can’t be beat!

But, if you’re looking for a nice, holiday look on your home without a lot of fuss, consider just using standard lights!

At the end of the day my goal here is to educate you so that you can understand how to make a synchronized light show to music. But – if you find that this is not for you – then there’s nothing I’d like more than to have you NOT do pixels!

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