You can win a Philips Hue Smart Lighting bundle courtesy of Best Buy Canada. The bundle includes a Philips Hue Play Gradient 75 inch Lightstrip, a Philips Hue Bridge 2.0, and a Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box. Just subscribe to our newsletter using the form below to win:
Most people are familiar with the name Philips Hue by this point. The brand is synonymous with smart lighting.
I’ve played around with smart lighting before, but beyond adjusting the warmth of the lighting in my apartment at night, I haven’t really had a reason to use it.
Trying the Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip with the HDMI Sync Box changed how I look at smart lighting.
The first thing I noticed was how solid it is. It’s more of a tube than a strip. The shape has been specifically designed to be mounted on your TV, with two black sides for mounting and preventing light spill, and a curved translucent tube that diffuses the light.
Once I unboxed everything, I had the Lightstrip, five mounting pieces, and a plug with a control unit. The whole setup took less than ten minutes, and following along with the instructions on the Hue app made it painless.
The process requires attaching the mounts with 3M strips to the back of your TV, plugging in the control unit, and then connecting it to the Hue Bridge via Bluetooth.If you already have Hue products, you’ll be familiar with the Bridge. It’s the brain of the operation, controlling up to 50 Hue lights. You can set it up so your lights are controlled by room, or you can control each of them individually. In this case, I made the Hue Lightstrip part of my living room.
At this point, the Lightstrip is good to go. It can produce beautiful light in every colour imaginable with various patterns and intensities.
But if you want to take advantage of the coolest features, that’s where the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box comes in.
Whether you’re watching a movie or playing a game, the lighting will sync up to the content on your screen in real-time. And unlike most lightstrips, the Gradient can display multiple colours at once, meaning that if you’re looking at a sunset on the ocean, the top left of your corner will match the orange of the sunset in the top left of your screen, the soft pinks in the top right, and the deep blue of the ocean at the bottom.
To set it up, you connect the Sync HDMI box to your TV through an HDMI port, and then connect up to four devices to the HDMI inputs on the box. Once you’ve turned it on, it’ll connect to the bridge, and the app will automatically detect it.
From there, all of the content you play on the TV will sync up.
Honestly, I was worried that it would be a bit too intense. For anyone who’s paid for 4D experiences at movie theatres, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They can distract more than they enhance.
One of my favourite aspects of the Hue Sync is that it has four different levels of intensity. At its most intense, it’ll display every change in colour and lighting on the screen. It’s impressive, especially for gaming. Playing Control on PS4 with the deep blues, unsettling reds, and explosions caused by my psychokinetic abilities was incredible.
For more passive experiences such as watching movies, I dropped the intensity down to the second lowest level. At this level, the colours shifted more gradually, matching the tone of a scene as opposed to every pop of colour on the screen.
To test the syncing, I put on Blade Runner 2049. I meant to watch only the beginning, but I found myself drawn in so much that I ended up watching the entire film. The neon-soaked city felt more vast, and the barren plains more desolate. It’s a more subtle effect than I’d anticipated in the best way. Just a touch of colour to add to the mood.
If you ever want to turn off the sync effect for some more traditional ambience, it’s a single press of a button on the app.
And if opening the app is too much work, the Bridge is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, and Cortana with voice control. You can adjust it on the fly.
The best way to test out the voice functionality is to throw on some tunes and witness the lighting sync up to the music.
Best of all, you can win your own Philips Hue Play Gradient 75 inch Lightstrip, Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, and Hue Bridge 2.0. To enter the contest, simply enter your details below. The contest ends April 9, 2021.
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