Philips Hue parent Signify has announced a new device called the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box that delivers cinematic lighting in an easy-to-use plug and play solution.
As the branding suggests, the Play HDMI Sync Box is a home gadget that plugs into HDMI devices and links up to Philips Hue products. It then syncs up the lighting to match the media pushed through the HDMI cables for a more atmospheric media experience.
A dedicated app can be used to fine-tune the experience.
Designed to work with the Hue products you already have
The Hue Play HDMI Sync Box works via HDMI pass-through and a connection to both Philips Hue Hub and the company's color lights. Any Hue color lights will work, including Philips Hue fixtures. So users don't need to worry too much about compatibility.
The hardware itself is effectively a just under 1-inch thick black box measuring under 4-inches by just over 7-inches. That features a single HDMI out port and four input ports. An HDMI cable is included in the box for convenience. The box outputs via HDMI 2.0b with HDCP 2.2 at 4K resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and HDR10 compatibility.
Bluetooth 4.2 is part of that package, used for setting up Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. Wi-Fi is how the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box connects to the other required devices.
Play HDMI Sync Box brings cinematic lighting to life and more
Put simply, the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is designed to extend lighting seen on-screen to the surrounding environment. So if the television is showing a desert, the box might showcase soft white and yellow lighting to match. Oranges and reds might conversely be used during explosions. An underwater scene will shift things to the blue and green end of the spectrum.
As many as 10 Philips Hue color-capable lights can be added to a single setup, taking those effects further still.
Because Hue Play HDMI Sync Box can connect with more than just a TV, the cinematic lighting effects it delivers are designed to work with more than just movies and television shows. Up to four devices can be plugged in at once. That means gaming, music playback, and effectively any media can be enhanced with this solution. Hue Play HDMI Sync Box can adapt to suit it all.
The setup connects to an application for fine-tuning and control as well as switching between ports. Light settings such as speed and brightness as well as a visual representation of the lighting arrangement can be found there.
The box itself also includes a built-in IR receiver so that consumers have a wealth of options for controlling which port is being played through. There's no need to deal with an extra remote as long as the user's remote can be programmed with the box.
Pricing and availability
Getting started with the cinematic lighting experience with Hue Play HDMI Sync Box isn't necessarily going to be cheap, especially since a Philips Hue Hub and Hue color-changing lights are required. It's also not too bad with pricing starting out at $229.99 in the U.S.
In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland, that price is set at €249.95. Availability in other regions will follow near the beginning of 2020.
The device can be purchased through selected retailers and the Philips Hue site.
Pre-sales are already underway and shipping, in the U.S. is slated to start October 16. Hue Play HDMI Sync Box will be available from October 15.