This seems strange, but according to researchers at Philips, adding additional light behind the display leads to a better user experience by softening the contrast between the screen and the rest of the typically darker viewing environment.
Luckily there is a way to get the same effect, even if you haven't purchased a Philips panel or the screen in question happens to be a 17 inch lcd monitor that you like to use in the dark.
The folks over at Make have managed to rig up relatively inexpensive Ikea LED lighting strips to achieve a similar effect. Granted, the Philips solution allows for adjustment of the colour and intensity of the backlight, but for $49.99, sticking on a set of Ikea LED's doesn't seem like such a bad compromise...or at least worth a try.
The Ikea light strips are available here