Philips have announced new ways to integrate your entertainment systems with Hue lighting. With updates to their app, bridge (v2), and the first partner announced, things are looking up for those wanting tighter entertainment integration with their smart lighting.
As you'll know from my post last year on Philips Hue Movie sync, options for integrating your Hue lighting with entertainment are hardly elegant. Nevertheless, the YouTube video that accompanies that post is (at the time of writing) the most popular on my channel - highlighting just how much interest there is in this area.
Certainly, I'm keen too - getting that immersive lighting experience as you watch movies, TV shows, play games or listen to music is something I'd love to get from my smart lighting setup. At present however, it still seems out of reach. Philips announcements in the last few days could go a long way to changing that.
I don't normaly cover the smart home 'news' on this blog. However, with such high interest in this area, I felt the need to do something!
First, via an update to the Hue app and Bridge (v2 - sorry v1 users, you're out of luck here), you'll be able to create Entertainment profiles on your setup. Essentially, this tells Hue where your lights are positioned in the room in relation to where your display or TV is, and where you typically sit. This helps ensure you get that immersive lighting experience many of us want.
Then, you can enable integration, making use of that 'profile' from the third party product that is Hue Entertainment enabled.
So far, only one partner has been announced - Razer, who make the line of Pro-Gamer products. However in a statement on their website, Philips describe Razer as just the first - implying there will hopefully be more to come.
Certainly, it would be great to see that happen. Imagine integration with smart TVs, game consoles, media players, set-top boxes, streaming devices. It would really help propel things forward for media & entertainment smart lighting integration.
Philips have also announced the coming availability of 'Hue Sync' for Windows 10 and MacOS, describing it thusly "Philips Hue Sync creates immediate, immersive light scripts for any game, movie or music played on the computer". This implies some level of light sync for whatever you might be doing on your PC or Mac. Availability is described as "Q2 2018"
There's also a planned overhaul of the Hue app coming. Version 3 is described as being easier to use, and introduces often requested features such as light grouping.
Finally, Philips are announcing a range of outdoor Hue lights. As explored in my post on using Hue outdoors, this is technically possible today if you use a weatherproof enclosure, but it's not officially supported. This new line of outdoor products expands the capability of Hue to cover your entire home, including outside.
The big news though - for me - is the entertainment announcements. I'll be watching this one closely, and hope to see more integration partners announced this year. If I get chance to test this out, I will of course do so and report back.