Controlling your lights from your phone is fun, but being able to sync your lights to your music and movies brings another level of entertainment.
That's the idea behind the new Philips Hue Sync app that makes is simple to connect your lights to whatever you play on your PC.
The app is available for free on Windows 10 but you have to download it through Philips Hue's website rather than the Microsoft Store.
Extending your media
There are a wide range of Hue lights that can change colours, and if you build them up around your house, they can be great for setting a scene. But rather than just set a mood, Philips Hue Sync dynamically changes with the media that's on your screen.
You can set it to pulse with the beat of your music or change the light to match the colors on a movie or video game. There's virtually no latency, so it feels like your media is flowing into the room.
This is a great addition to the Hue ecosystem and is the type of thing that immediately pops into your mind when thinking about smart lights. I grabbed a Hue Bloom to place behind our TV, but you can also use any light from the "White and Color" line of products.
A good start
Philips Hue Sync is a great start, and the fact that it's free is a nice bonus, especially considering how much Hue hardware costs. But there are some missing features that I hope are added in the future.
First up is that Philips Hue Sync can't work with white Hue lights. I know that color adds a flare that a plain white light can't but being able to pulse all the lights in my house to a beat creates a disco feel that Philips Hue Sync can't right now. A paid competitor, hueDynamic, works with white lights as well as colored lights so it's disappointing that Philips Hue Sync can't.
Next is that right now Philips Hue Sync is only available on PCs and Macs. This means that if you watch media through a cable box or even an Xbox One, you can't sync your lights to what's on the screen. To sync your lights while watching on a, TV you'll need to cast your screen to an app on your TV or use a physical cable to your TV while your PC runs the media.
Lastly, the app isn't compatible with protected content like that from Netflix. When you try to sync your lights with it you see a warning that it might not work with protected content. There may be a way around it but it didn't work in my testing.
I'd love to see a version of Philips Hue Sync come out for streaming boxes and the Xbox One. I don't think this is out of the question for some devices as Philips works across many operating systems and big brands, but for now, it isn't an option.
Philips Hue Sync is a great way to enhance your entertainment. The latency between media and the lights changing colours is practically non-existent. Also, it's just a blast to play with.
The downside is that it only works with Hue bulbs from the "White and Color" lineup, meaning any regular white bulbs you've purchased are left out. This is unfortunate because hueDynamic provides similar media syncing and works with any of your Hue lights.
That being said, Philips Hue Sync is free and does a great job of extending your music and media throughout the room with a splash of color. I hope that the Philips Hue ecosystem continues to extend into this area and eventually gains support for more types of devices.
- Virtually no latency
- Enhances media experience
- Adds features to hardware through software
- Only works with "White and Color" lineup of Hue lights
- Not available on Xbox One or streaming boxes
- Not compatible with protected content like Netflix