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How to Sync your Philips Hue Lights with your TV, Xbox or PS4

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Bring your TV or film to life in your living room with your Philips Hue lighting system working with what is happening on screen. With the release of Hue Entertainment and Hue Sync, your lights can now be linked and work with music, as well as on screen action from your Mac, PC or TV.

Philips have released a HDMI sync box that will allow you to easily sync your Hue lights with your TV. Designed to runny HDMI devices into this box which then plugs into your TV. This then allows your Hue lights to change depending on the on-screen action.

Syncing your Hue lights to your your TV, Xbox or PS4

In the press release it said “Simply connect up to four HDMI devices to the Philips Hue Play HDMI Play Sync Box and watch your lighting come to life. Philips Hue lights will sync whatever content is being played on your HDMI devices, and creates an exciting and interactive experience in your whole room increasing the overall enjoyment of what is happening on the screen.

The Philips Hue Play HDMI Play Sync Box is able to switch automatically between the four different HDMI channels, depending on which one is being used at that moment. No delays or lag – just plug in and the experience begins!”

Hue Sync Box Back

To the rear of the device are 4 HDMI inputs, HDMI output to your TV, USB input and power input.

The sync box must be plugged into the mains, it can connect up to 4 HDMI leads, this could be a games console, tv set up box, or any other HDMI devices. This little box supports 4K 60Hz and HDR10 at launch, but it doesn’t support HDR10+ or Dolby Vision, two key standards for higher picture quality.

To the front is a small infrared sensor allowing you to use with a remote control. You can also use it to turn the TV on and automatically switch the channels between the connected devices.

This little box isn’t cheap, it is listed on the Meet Hue site at $229.99 and expected to launch October 15th 2019.

To use this you must have a Hue bridge within your set up, you can then set up, up to 10 lights within your entertainment area which will sync with your Play HDMI box.

Specification

  • Easy synchronization of image and lamps
  • Switch between channels and TV
  • 4 x HDMI inputs
  • 1 x USB port
  • Full HD and 4K support
  • 7.3 watts power consumption

What does it work with?

Now with the HDMI box you can run any HDMI device through it to sync with your Hue Lights. This will work with HDMI devices such as:

  • Games console (XBOX, PS3, PS4)
  • DVD Players
  • TV Boxes
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Apple TV

With any device that has an output via HDMI you can plug it into this device, which then goes to your TV. Even a Video player with a HDMI output will work.

Which lights will work with this?

All Hue lights and bulbs will work with this device and can be synced with your on screen entertainment. All lights and bulbs need to be added via the Hue app in an entertainment area, up to 10 lights or bulbs can be added.

Lights such as the Hue play bars, light strips and the Hue Go are great lights to be used with this that can be positioned around and behind your TV.

Setting up a light strip behind your TV or using Hue go pointed up the wall either side are great ways to create stunning effects when watching a movie or playing a game on the Playstation.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus Dimmable LED Smart Light (Requires Hue Hub, Works with Alexa, HomeKit & Google Assistant)
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LightStrip...
HUE GO PORTABLE LIGHT
HUE GO PORTABLE LIGHT

It’s Own App

The Hue sync box will have it’s own app to allow you to set up and adjust the settings, from the press release it said “The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box has its own dedicated app, to make sure you can control the light experience in a quick way. With the app you are able to finetune brightness, as well as the speed and intensity of the light effects.

Play HDMI Sync Box app

You can automate your device even more by configuring the default settings, making it even easier to use on an everyday basis with your entertainment system. In addition to enhancing your home entertainment experience, use your Philips Hue color-capable lights to access the full functionality the Hue ecosystem offers, including away-from-home control and ambiance creation.”.

In the Box

In the box you get a HDMI cable, as well as power block and cable.

philips Hue Play Sync Box

In the box you get

  • Power Adaptor
  • Power cord
  • 1 HDMI Cable
  • Hue Play HDMI Sync Box

FAQ

A few common questions about the Hue Play.

Does it work with Smart TV apps?

No. The downside to this is if you have a smart TV which has Netflix for example, this won’t work with Hue Sync as it is not run through the HDMI box. To get apps such as this to work it needs to run through the box using a games console, Apple TV or Firestick which plugs into this via HDMI.

Does this work with 4K?

Yes. The Hue Play HDMI Sync Box forwards the video signal at up to 4K and 60 frames per second.

Can the Power adapter be used with the Play bars?

Yes, the power adapter that comes with the Play HDMI Sync box is the same that would come with the Hue Play bars, there are 3 power points on this, one would be used for the sync box, the other two can be connected to Hue play bars.

Does this use Bluetooth?

The HDMI sync box does have Bluetooth but this is for set up purposes only. You connect to the device via your phone using Bluetooth, this allows you to connect the device to your WIFI network and then to your bridge.

Philips Hue Play HDMI Play Sync Box

This has been something Hue users have wanted for a while, with the release of Hue Sync the possibility has always been there, and now with Hye Sync it will allow us to easily sync with your TV. With 4 HDMI inputs that is plenty to cover most set ups, although not test there are reports of no latency issues even when gaming.

The new dedicated app will allow you to adjust the intensity and brightness of the effects, I hope that this is improved and has more options than the Hue Sync app which does feel limited.

A downside to the Hue Sync box is the lack of ARC support, if you have a smart TV that has Netflix, or Amazon Prime for example you cannot sync your lights with this. The lights will only sync with devices that run through this HDMI box, so for Netflix it must run off a PS4 for example, or a TV box.

How to Sync your Lights with your PC or Mac

With the release of the Philips Hue Sync app, this is super easy, and also free to do.

  1. Set up a Hue Entertainment area
  2. Downloaded and install Hue Sync on your computer
  3. Load Hue Sync, select your entertainment area and settings

All you need to do it download the Hue Sync app from Philips here, this can be installed on Mac and Windows computers and laptops. Once installed you need to ensure an entertainment area is set up which you do via your phone or tablet using the Hue app.

Once set up you just need to load Hue Sync on your computer, select your entertainment area you have set up, and then sync to activate your lights. Your lights within that area will sync and change color to the main colors that are showing on your screen.

Do note that if you are watching Netflix for example, this is protected content and unfortunately at the moment this will not sync to your lights.

Using Hue Camera to Sync with TV

In order to sync the Philips Hue with the television, you need to know what is going on, on screen. To do this there is an app called ‘Hue Camera‘, this app uses the camera on your phone or tablet device to watch your screen, as your screen changes colors, the app changes the lights to match. In dark night scenes the lights will dim down, however if there is a sudden explosion of red for example, then the hue lights will brighten into a red color to match.

You can see it all in action in this video.

While this works well there are some downsides, firstly you need to have your phone or tablet focused on the screen you are watching, the plus side is it stops you playing on it while the movie is on. As it is watching the TV with you, there is a slight delay in the lights changing color is it will always be one step behind, and this is more noticeable in quick changing scenes of color where the Hue lights have to quickly change between colors.

Essentially, the app is listening to the audio of the television or the movie, and then is connecting that audio with a lighting track and takes the smart light through a series of light cues that correspond with what is happening on the show. Usually, this manifests in the form of flashing lights for lightning.

If there’s a lot of red onscreen, the lights might end up turning red or flashing red. Some of the horror scenes might be accompanied by some of the scarier effects that people are going to find anywhere, and this is going to make people feel even more terrified and adds to the effect in the room.

As the app use your phone camera it can be used on may things, whether you are watching TV, sport, a film or playing on a console this app will work with what is going on.

“Although Hue Camera was designed to work within a wide range of situations, you can change the speed of colour transitions and the intensity of the colour to your liking.” – hue-camera.com

This is great app averrable for iOS and get be picked up from iTunes here.

This is certainly worth getting and a great little app that is simple to use and great to use if you love your films, also a good way to stop you playing on your phone when a film is on!


Founder & Editor

Mike is the founder of Hue Home Lighting, a huge Hue fan with far too many lights, covering home and garden. A smart home gadget addict and also enjoys the odd bit of DIY

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9 Comments

  1. hueDynamic

    Forget simplistic apps which just average the color on your screen. This just does not create an immersive experience! hueDynamic, for Windows 10, mobile and Xbox does it better.

    Select multiple color modes and pull the most dominant colors from your device camera for distribution across the hue lights of your choice. It even works with white ambience bulbs, selecting an appropriate color temperature automatically all with ultra low latency.

    Not only that, you have access to over 40 professionally created dynamic scenes with stereo sound effects and Plex Media Server integration. Watch your lights automatically dim when watching a movie or TV show without even using a camera!

    Also available for LIFX smart bulbs.

    Check it out, you won’t regret it.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/huedynamic/9nblggh42jgb

    Reply
  2. Robert D

    It would be sweet if you just made Hue Sync an appletv 4K app. So we can just sync appletv to hue

    Reply
  3. norman cheal

    I have a new phillips oled with ambilight +hue built in can anyone tell me will the tv will act as a bridge or will Istill need to purchase a bridge

    Reply

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