Surround sound makes watching movies and video games in your home a more immersive experience, but what about surround lighting? To find out, we checked out Philips' new Hue Play HDMI Sync Box ($229, available October 15), and came away wowed at how it transformed what we were watching.
Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box Pricing and Availability
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box costs $229.99. You can preorder the device today (Sept. 17) at meethue.com and BestBuy.com, and it will ship starting October 15. The Sync Box will be available at Best Buy stores starting Oct. 20.
How It Works
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box sits between your TV and your cable box and gaming console, and analyzes the content going to your TV. The Play Sync Box then sends commands to your Hue lights, changing their color to match that of what's playing on screen.
The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box has four HDMI ports, which hopefully should be enough for your entertainment system. The box will switch automatically to whatever content is playing.
MORE: Philips Hue Lights: A Guide to What Each Does (and Costs)
How It Looks
In the demo that we saw, the Hue Play Sync Box was connected to several Hue lights behind and on either side of the TV. As a clip from Avengers: Endgame played, the lights changed in color simultaneously with what was happening on-screen. For example, if Thanos showed up on the right side of the scene, the lights on that side of the TV would turn a shade of purple.
You can pair up to ten Philips Hue lights with the box, which should be plenty; I was almost overwhelmed by all the light effects. I have a feeling it will be better for action movies and video games, where it's less likely to be distracting among all the explosions happening on-screen.
We're looking forward to trying out the Philips Hue Play Sync further. It looks to be a really inventive way for Philips to move its smart lights out of a mere utilitarian function and into something far more entertaining. Stay tuned for our full review.