Philips Hue saw a major boost with Spotify integration and whole raft of new lamps and lights for the smart home, including some super bright 1600 lm models. There’s news for gamers too, with an upgrade to Hue Sync. Let’s step through the changes.
While there are several smartphone apps that will synchronise the Hue lights with sound, this is the first time that there’s been a digital integration between Hue and a music service. After linking Hue and Spotify accounts together, Hue colour lights will pulse in time with the music. A new Sync tab in the Hue app allows listeners to adjust brightness, intensity and colour to suit their mood. Sounds fun. There’s an FAQ on the new integration and you can sign up for early access now (as of now, I can’t get this to work). General availability is coming in October and that’s a great freebie for Hue and Spotify owners.
On the lighting side, the Hue Filament bulbs (those are the vintage style ones) are now available in white ambiance which means the colour temperature can be adjusted from warm orange through to cool blue white light. There’s a new candle version, too, which will look great in the candelabra-style lamps.
The standard Hue smart bulbs have been given a brightness boost, with options for 1100 and 1600 lumen versions. The existing models were around 800 lm, so this is a significant jump in output power and is very welcome. I’d previously had to resort to buying a competing bulb in order to get the brightness up in some poorly lit rooms.
The Philips Hue Play HDMI sync box works with TVs to backlight the screen and surrounding walls with colours from nearby lamps that match the onscreen action. It’s impressive when you see it working. Hue has new gradient tubes for installation with TVs that are mounted close to the wall (where lightstrips aren’t effective). The tubes come in two sizes for different sized TVs (40″-55″ and 60″+), and two finishes, black and white.
The HDMI sync box gets a software upgrade next month as well, with the unit now supporting 120 Hz refresh rates at 1080p and 1440p. 4K resolution is supported to 60 Hz.
Overall, this is all very welcome news for Hue and addresses gaps in the portfolio that competitors have been keen to fill. It doesn’t get away from the fact that Hue is relatively expensive though there’s definitely an element of “you get what you pay for” as I’m still using bulbs that came with my first gen starter kit back in 2013.