Philips Hue Play syncs smart lights to the TV screen

Philips Hue Play syncs smart lighting with on-screen action.
Image: Signify

A small black box might be ready to revolutionize how people consume content in their living room. The all-new Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box lets smart lights mimic on-screen action.

The device reportedly works with everything from movies to TV shows to video games. Hue Play even supports 4K and HDR10 resolutions for a truly immersive, high-definition experience. By combining the awesome on-screen visual effects with physical lights changing in real life, the entire room comes alive. Hue Play will launch on October 15.

HUE-ge Step Forward

At first glance, Hue Play might not seem like big news. After all, back in 2014, SyFy and Philips partnered to sync up smart lights with the on-screen action of “Sharknado 2.” Following that, the team worked to bring light syncing to a video game in the form of Xbox One’s “Chariot.”

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While the integrations were cool, they had one major flaw. Every single light change had to be programmed manually by a developer. Obviously, this scalability issue made widespread integration of the Hue platform with various media types all but impossible.

Then, last year, the team took a swing at automating the system with the Hue Sync app. This gave users the ability to sync their smart lighting with the content on their Mac or Windows PC. Surprisingly, the app actually worked. Sadly, it was limited to content on the computer and not things like TV shows and console gaming.

Now, things are taking a big step forward.

Universal Light Syncing

For entertainment lovers, Hue Play is going to revolutionize the living room. The small box (about the size of a DVD player) is unassuming. Users simply use it as a middleman between the TV and the Blu-ray player, game console, and/or DVR.

Video signals travel through the box on their way to the TV, allowing Hue Play to analyze them in a split second. The company emphasizes that there is no latency from the device—not even for serious gamers.

Hue Play identifies the on-screen colors and relays this information to Philips Hue smart lights in the room (or technically anywhere in the house). Imagine the lights turning the living room a deep red during a tense horror movie scene. Or, picture yourself immersed in a superhero brawl during “Avengers: Endgame” as the lights around you flash in tune with on-screen explosions and lightning bolts.

The effect created by Hue Play is impressive to say the least. For those already on board with the smart lighting revolution, the addition is a no brainer.

Hue Play launches on October 15 and will retail for $229.99. Though the cost is high, there’s a good chance it will be featured during November’s Black Friday sales events. Even at full price, this gadget is a must-have for couch potatoes and home movie night junkies.