Active diffuser frame system (A) for a video display (D) provides ambient lighting in viewer object mode and relies on real-time video input only, with no separate lighting script required. The system uses a controllable light source, and multiple inputs to improve realism and fidelity. Video inputs include actual display light; sensing of display light; and the video display signal. The frame can include a light modulator, or a goniophotometric or goniochromatic element to change character (intensity, color) of ambient light as a function of viewing angles, or a photoluminescent emitter for new chromaticities outside the display color gamut. The frame can split light between the viewer and the frame input, and can derive an added video signal to drive selected display pixels to boost output of display light into the frame.