There’s more smart lighting to love from Philips Hue. A new product allows you to coordinate light with what you’re watching on screen. Philips Hue Play is a light bar that can be placed behind or beside your TV or computer screen. Then, using the Philips Hue Sync app, you can set the lights to automatically mimic the colours and the mood of what’s happening on screen.
Getting this up and running isn’t nearly as complicated as it may seem. Hue lighting is extremely easy to set up and operate. The lights respond very well to what’s playing on your computer screen, and you can amplify the effect if you can Airplay or Cast to your TV. The Play light bar kit and the Sync software work perfectly together to create a room-filling light show that matches what you’re watching perfectly.
- Easy set setup
- Immersive experience that syncs with videos / games
- Responsive lights
See my hands-on review
All this might seem a little complicated and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Philips Hue has sponsored this post and the accompanying video so that I can walk you through it, and I’d like to thank them for supporting the blog and YouTube channel.
How does Philips Hue Play work?
Hue Play works by communicating with your computer and your smart lights to match and enhance the colours on screen,and you can choose between 16 million different colours. It’s important to note right off the bat that this will not work directly and solely with your television set. It requires a computer to play the video so that it can match the screen.
If you can Airplay or Cast your video from your computer to your TV you’ll get the same effect, but it’s very important to note that you need three key pieces of technology for this to work; Philips Hue lighting, a computer, and a compatible smart TV.
You can of course just get this set up and enjoy it while using your desktop or laptop too, since it can also make gaming much more intense.
Interested in other Philips Hue lights? Read other reviews here.
What do I need to get started?
To operate any lights in the Philips Hue ecosystem you’ll need the Hue Bridge. This small cube plugs into your router and allows your lights to talk to your phone via your Wi-Fi network. You can get a starter kit with the bridge and some lights to get things rolling. You can have up to three light bars on a single circuit.
How to set up Philips Hue Play
With your new Play light bars, you’ll need to get them set up using the Philips Hue app, then you’ll also need to activate new software on your computer called Philips Hue Sync. Then, both will work together to provide an entertainment area that will wow you.
First things first; place then plug in your lights. You can set them in the included stands beside your TV or computer monitor, or use included adhesive tabs to stick them to the back of your screen.
Then sign up for or sign into the free Philips Hue app. You’ll want to add your lights to the app for control, so go to Settings, Light Set Up and click “Add Light“. Click Search and the lights should pop up in your list of available lights. You may need to scroll either to the top or the bottom of the list depending on how many like to have in order to see them.
Once the lights appear, you’ll need to assign them to a room; so choose where you’ll use them. This will help later when you create your lighting Entertainment area.
To assign Hue lights to a room, go to Settings, Room Set up, and check the box to select the lights to operate in a particular room.
Room controls, by the way, allow you to use voice control if you have a smart digital assistant like Google Home or Amazon Echo and Alexa. They also allow your lights to be controlled all at once, or room-by-room from your smart phone.
As I’ve said before, Hue lights are easy to operate and bug free so the set up process should be quick and painless.
How to get Hue Sync set up on your computer
Next, head to your computer. You’ll need to download software from Hue called Philips Hue Sync (find it here).
Once the Hue Sync software is installed on your computer you can open it up and run it. The software will help you get everything set up, so just follow the instructions. Once the software is set up and connected to your Philips Hue Bridge you’ll again return to the app on your phone.
How to Create an Entertainment Area
Back at the Hue smartphone app there’s one more step: You’ll need to set up what’s called an Entertainment Area. This set up tells the Hue lights where exactly to operate in your home. I chose to make my Living Room the Entertainment area.
To set up the Entertainment Area, head back to Settings, then Entertainment Areas, then Create an Entertainment Area.
Once your area is created, you can assign lights to be used for these special immersive effects.
The app gives you a diagram of a room, and all you need to do is drag the light icons around and place them to accurately represent where they are in your space. In my case, I added the new Play light bars beside my TV, then added my Hue smart bulbs, as well as the Hue Bloom lamp to create an all-around lighting effect.
Save your settings and exit.
Now it’s time to have some fun!
Start enjoying your multi-sensory Philips Hue experience
Head back to your computer and start the Hue Sync app if it’s not still running.
Here, you’ll confirm which areas you want the lighting effect to happen in, and you can choose which type of entertainment you’re going to watch, whether it’s gaming or videos.
You can also choose whether you want the effects to be Subtle, Moderate, High or Intense. Then click Start Light Sync.
Then load up a video on YouTube for example, or pop in a Blu-ray disc, or launch your game. Once you take it full screen, the lighting effects kick in. From there you can choose to Airplay or Cast it to a TV if you want big screen options.
While all this may seem complex, once things are set up, it’s simply a matter of running the Sync app on your computer, and the lights will react.
Using Netflix with Philips Hue Sync
While you can’t yet stream programming from your phone or tablet and have it coordinate with the Hue Sync software just yet, there IS a way to enjoy Netflix programs via your computer. You can simply go to netflix.com and sign into your account, and watch shows online on your computer. Then stream them to your compatible smart TV or to a streaming device to enjoy the full Philips Hue Play and Sync experience.
How do Philips Hue Play lighting effects look?
The effect of the Play light bars is really cool. They match the intensity and colours of what’s on screen to essentially widen the viewing area, making for a much more immersive experience. If you’ve added in other lights around the room too, your whole area reacts. Imagine watching a movie where when a building explodes, and your whole room lights up, or playing an intense video game where your space reflects exactly what’s happening in the game. It takes in-home entertainment to a whole other level.
Overall thoughts on Philips Hue Play light bars & Hue Sync entertainment experience
Getting this up and running isn’t nearly as complicated as it may seem. Hue lighting is extremely easy to set up and operate. The lights respond very well to what’s playing on your computer screen, and you can amplify the effect if you can Airplay or Cast to your TV.
The Play light bar kit and the Sync software work perfectly together to create a room-filling light show that matches what you’re watching perfectly.
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