Whether you play games, watch movies, listen to music or enjoy other forms of entertainment on your Mac or PC, you can sync your Philips Hue lighting to whatever you’re playing or watching . Here’s how to do it.
To do this, you will obviously need some Hue indicators (only colored lights can be used for synchronization), as well as the Hue Sync application installed on your PC. However, first you need to set up the entertainment area in the Hue app on your phone. The Hue Sync app uses the entertainment areas to determine which lights to sync.
Step One: Set Up an Entertainment Zone on Your Hue Mobile App
To set up your entertainment area, open the Hue mobile app, then tap the Settings tab in the bottom right corner of the screen.
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Select Entertainment Areas from the list.
Click «Create Region» at the bottom.
Choose the room where you want to sync lighting with entertainment. Since my Mac is in my home office, I choose this room.
Then choose which individual light bulbs in that room you want to sync with entertainment and then click Continue at the bottom.
If you have selected second generation or older Hue bulbs, you may receive a warning that your bulbs are not optimized for this activity. Don’t worry, they will still work great. Click «Got it» at the bottom to continue.
Then turn on the lights you will be using and then click «Lights Are Ready» in the app.
From there, you’ll drag and drop each light bulb icon in the app and then place them where they are in your room. When you’re done, click the «Test Area» button at the bottom.
The lights will start flashing. Make sure it matches what is shown in the app and then click the «Perfect Match» button to continue.
Now each light bulb flashes by itself in turn to confirm the correct placement of each light bulb. If everything worked out, click the «All is well» button at the bottom.
Step Two: Set Up the Hue Sync App on Your Mac or PC
Your entertainment area is set up and you can now move on to setting up the Hue Sync app on your Mac or PC. To get started, download and install the app as usual (the process is the same as with any other app). Launch it and then click on the «Find Bridge» button.
After that, you will be prompted to press the big round button on the Hue Bridge and you will have about 15-20 seconds to do so.
Then select the entertainment area created in the Hue mobile app.
You are now ready to start using Hue Sync. The upper part of the section shows the entertainment area, as well as a button to turn off the lights in this area, as well as a slider to control the brightness. It’s just a convenient way to control your lights without using a mobile device.
Below you will see four buttons that represent the four things you can control with the app: scenes, games, music, and videos.
Click the Scenes button and at the bottom of the window you will see buttons corresponding to the scenes you have configured. They do not sync your lights to your PC; they just provide shortcuts to activate various static scenes.
The other three buttons (Games, Music, and Videos) work pretty much the same way. They provide buttons that allow you to set the intensity of the light (i.e. how dramatic the color changes are). Music mode also lets you choose from multiple color palettes.
In terms of backlighting syncing games and videos, it’s really nothing more than matching the colors displayed on your monitor (and, if necessary, using sound to determine some of the effects). So you don’t have to play a game or watch a movie for your lights to sync. However, if you’re playing any type of video, you’ll need to make sure it’s in full screen mode so that Hue Sync doesn’t pick up colors from your desktop or other windows.
Unfortunately, when you’re done using Hue Sync and close it, your Hue lights won’t go back to the state they were in before you launched the app, so you’ll need to go in and manually switch your lights the way they were. The app also doesn’t support uncolored light bulbs, which makes sense, but it would be great if there was at least some support for all Hue bulbs.