Wednesday, April 17, 2024

How To Connect Hue Lights To TV

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Philips Hue Play Hdmi Play Sync Box

Installing Philips Hue Play LED Light Bars in my GAMING SETUP!

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.

Disadvantages Of Not Using A Sync Box

There are a couple disadvantages to note with this setup:

  • You have to watch your content through the Amazon Firestick. While this isnt a disadvantage, it still may be for some because they would instead just use the apps built into their smart TVs.
  • A couple apps, such as Netflix, do not work with this setup.
  • You cannot use other applications like Google Assistant to control the lights while they are in use with this setup. You must stop streaming from the Hue Stream app to regain control.

What You Will Need

To use the Hue Sync box and set it up with your Hue network you need:

  • Philips Hue Bridge
  • 1 or more color capable Philips Hue lights.
  • An entertainment area .
  • Display/TV/projector for watching content, needs to have HDMI input.
  • 1 or more HDMI output devices .
  • High speed HDMI cable .
  • Hue Sync app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android device
  • The Philips Hue app

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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.

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.

Mike Ford
Founder & Editor

You Can’t Find The Hue Bridge

Smart lighting

If you want multiple smart bulbs, or you plan to create Philips Hue automations with them, you need to use a Hue Bridge. This acts as a smart hub for your lighting setup, connecting all your bulbs to the internet and allowing you to control them when you’re away from home.

Most Philips Hue starter kits come with a Hue Bridge, but you may need to buy one separately if you didn’t get one. They can be a little pricey, which is one of the reasons we don’t always love Philips Hue products.

To connect to your Hue Bridge, open the Hue app and go to Settings > My Hue System, tap the Add button, and hit Add a Hue Bridge. Then click the circular button on the top of the Hue Bridge to enter pairing mode.

If you can’t find your Hue Bridge:

  • Make sure it’s powered on: Connect your Hue Bridge to power using the supplied cable. You should see lights appear on the bridge when it turns on.
  • Connect it to your router: Use an Ethernet cable to connect your Hue Bridge directly to your router, allowing it to connect to the internet.
  • Connect to the same network: Make sure the device you’re using is connected to the same network your Hue Bridge is plugged in to. You typically need to connect over Wi-Fi even though the bridge connects with a cable.
  • Restart the Hue Bridge: If you still can’t find the Bridge to pair with it, unplug the power cord and wait for 30 seconds before plugging it back in. Then wait two minutes for the bridge to start up before trying to pair again.

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Set Up Hue Accessories In The Apple Home App

If you have a physical control device for your Hue bulbs, such as a Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch, Hue Smart Button, or Hue Tap Dial Switch, you can also pair these to Apple HomeKit. However, you can only configure these devices in one app, so once you set them up in the Apple Home app, you wont be able to control them in the Hue app.

The main reason to add these to the Apple Home app is if you have other smart lights in your home that are also HomeKit-compatible, such as smart bulbs from Meross and smart switches from Lutron Caseta. Then you can program the Hue accessory switches to control those lights alongside your Hue lights using the Apple Home app.

Heres how to add your Philips Hue accessory switches to the Apple Home app:

  • Open the Philips Hue app.
  • Tap Settings> Accessories and select the device you want to add to Apple Home.
  • Tap Setup in Apple Home.
  • A dialogue box will pop up confirming that setting up the device in Apple Home will remove your current configuration.
  • Tap Set up in Apple Home.
  • The Hue app will automatically open the Apple Home app.
  • Tap the devices icon in the Home App.
  • Configure it to control whichever HomeKit accessories you like.
  • If you decide you want to go back to using just the Hue app, you can reset the device and set it up again in the Hue app.

Set Up Your Entertainment Areas

Before you install the desktop application on your computer, you need to set up what’s called an “entertainment area” in the Hue app for iOS or Android.

In the mobile app, head to the Settings tab, then tap Entertainment areas. Pick Create area, then select the rooms with the lights you want to use you’ll only be able to select ones with multicoloured bulbs installed in them. You can then pick individual lights, if needed.

Hit the Lights are ready button when asked to, and the app shows you a typical home cinema setup with a big TV screen and a sofa. Drag the icons on the app screen to match the physical location of your lights.

The app lets you test the positions and colour syncing until you’re happy. You can then turn your attention to the desktop app.

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How To Set Up And Use Philips Hue Sync

The Philips Hue PC Sync app is a free download from the Philips Hue website. by selecting Alternatively, you can from the Apple App Store, but it has numerous negative reviews. Its better to download the official version from the site.

How To Set Up Hue Sync

Once installed, the Hue Sync app is easy to use.

  • Open the Hue Sync app.
  • There are two options available. For the sake of this article, we will assume you have already set up your Philips Hue smart lights. If not, select Help me set everything up. It will guide you through the process step-by-step. If you have already set up your lights and the Hue bridge, select Search for bridge.
  • Agree to the privacy policy while the application looks for your Hue bridge. Once it finds it, select Connect.
  • Press the physical button on the top of the Hue bridge. After you do this, select the entertainment area you want to use. You can always swap these and edit them later. If this is your first time setting up the Hue Sync app, you might not have entertainment areas set up yet.
  • The Hue Sync app is set up, and now you can use it to enhance the ambiance of your space.
  • Understanding Entertainment Areas

    Once you open the Entertainment Area, youll see several options. You can turn the lights on or off by sliding the toggle beside the areas name or adjusting the brightness with the slider beneath it. You can choose what type of entertainment it reflects between Scenes, Games, Music, and Video.

    How To Make Scenes in Philips Hue App

    Connect An Accessory To Your Hue System

    Philips Hue | Setup, Tips & Tricks
  • Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your mobile device.
  • Open the Hue Sync mobile app. The app will immediately begin searching for a Hue sync box. When one is found, tap Continue.
  • 3. Select your Wi-Fi network and tap Connect. Enter the password for your Wi-Fi network when prompted.

    4. Press and hold the power button on the Hue sync box.

    5. When the connection is confirmed, tap Search.

    6. Press the button on the Hue Bridge.

    7. In the Hue sync mobile app, select an existing Entertainment area to use with the Hue sync box. If you have not created one, you can do so in the Hue app.

    8. Name the HDMI inputs. For example, HDMI 1 could be the name of your gaming console.

    9. Optional: Pair a TV remote to the Hue sync box.

    Need help?

    If you need additional help setting up your Hue sync box, browse our FAQ or get in touch with Philips Hue Support.

    Hue sync box FAQ >

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    Sync Your Lights To A Movie

    We’ll tackle the movie function first: select Video, making sure the right entertainment area is also selected in the panel above.

    The buttons below tweak the strength of the syncing effect, because you maybe don’t want a disco-style effect for a slow-burning European drama. Your choices are Subtle, Moderate, High and Intense, and the toggle switch directly underneath lets you tell the lights to follow the cues from the movie’s audio too.

    With that done, click Start light sync, and get whatever movie or TV show you want up on screen. The Hue Sync app works with every video-playing app, whether running as a desktop program or through your browser. For the best results, put the video player in full-screen mode.

    Sit back and enjoy the flick, with automatic colour syncing enabled, thanks to the screen monitoring tech built into the Hue Sync app and the settings you’ve configured. The more lights you have the better the effect, but play around with the configuration options to find a setup you like.

    How To Sync Smart Lights With A Pc

    One of the easiest ways to mirror your smart lights to your TV shows is when you’re watching them on a PC connected to your TV. Let’s use Philips Hue as a common example. It’s worth noting that you need a Hue Bridge V2 in order for this method to work. If you’re using the first-generation bridge, we suggest ScreenBloom as an alternative.

    Step 1: Download and install the Hue Sync desktop app.

    Step 2: Click Search for Bridge. Allow access if needed.

    Step 3: Agree to the privacy policy and click Connect.

    Step 4: Press the button on the Bridge to confirm the connection.

    Step 5: Open the mobile app and tap the Settings icon in the bottom-right.

    Step 6: Tap Entertainment Areas and tap the + symbol in the top-right.

    Step 7: Pick Watching TV or a Movie, then name the area.

    Step 8: Identify the lights you wish to include in your entertainment area. Set their location and height relative to your viewing position.

    Step 9: Return to the desktop app and designate the sync area you want active.

    Step 10: Select Video, the response speed you want , and click Start Light Sync.

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    Sync Your Lights To Your Games

    Once you’ve mastered one sync type, you more or less know how to operate the others as well. Back on the main menu, pick Games from the list of choices.

    Your choices here are exactly the same as they are for movies. You can choose from a Subtle, Moderate, High or Intense effect, and you can toggle the Use audio for effect switch underneath to have the Hue lights you’ve selected take your game’s soundtrack into account as well.

    Click Start light sync and the show starts. You can then get your game of choice up on screen and get playing, watching the colours of your chosen Hue lights change shades as your virtual environment does. Again, for best results, play in full-screen mode.

    To our untrained eyes we can’t really spot any differences between this and the Video mode, but it doesn’t really matter it’s still very impressive, with the colours of your lights changing to match what’s on screen in real time, just about.

    How To Set Up Philips Hue Play

    Philips Hue Play Lightbar

    With your new Play light bars, youll need to get them set up using the Philips Hue app, then youll 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. Youll 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, youll need to assign them to a room so choose where youll 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 Ive said before, Hue lights are easy to operate and bug free so the set up process should be quick and painless.

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    How To Sync Smart Lights With Other Video Sources

    When you’re getting video via gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, Chromecast, or other sources, having a desktop app as an intermediary isn’t an option. Luckily, it’s possible to buy hardware that interprets the incoming video signal and communicates to your smart lights.

    The Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is an example of the kinds of products available for this task. This one, in particular, has four HDMI slots, so you can pipe all of your peripherals into it before continuing on to the TV.

    Step 1: Plug all of your HDMI sources into the sync box.

    Step 2: Plug the sync box output into your TV’s HDMI port.

    Step 3: Connect the sync box to a power outlet.

    Step 4: Press the button on the front to turn on the sync box. Press it again to switch between HDMI inputs.

    Step 5: Download and install the Philips Hue Sync app.

    Step 6: Confirm when asked if your Bridge and Sync box are set up.

    Step 7: Confirm the light on the sync box is blinking blue.

    Step 8: Tap Search so your phone can pair with the sync box. Confirm the Bluetooth pairing request when it pops up.

    Step 9: Tap *Set Up Wi-Fi *and provide the sync box with your home network password.

    Step 10: Press and hold the Sync Box Button to confirm the pairing once complete.

    Step 11: Tap Search for Hue Bridge and press the button on your Bridge.

    Step 12: Create an entertainment area as per the instruction above if you don’t have one already.

    Overall Thoughts On Philips Hue Play Light Bars & Hue Sync Entertainment Experience

    Getting this up and running isnt nearly as complicated as it may seem. Hue lighting is extremely easy to set up and operate. The lights respond very well to whats 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 youre watching perfectly.

    The Philips Hue Play double pack sells for about $169CAD and a single pack is $89CAD, and they are available at places like Amazon or Best Buy, or get more info from Philips.

    *A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. Theres no obligation or cost to you for using this link.

    Erin L

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