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It’s Like 2010 Again with Hue Sync on Your HTPC (or Laptop)

It's Like 2010 Again with Hue Sync on Your HTPC (or Laptop)

Philips released Hue Sync earlier this year, a desktop computer app that can synchronize the Hue lights in your entertainment area with the content on your PC or Mac. It harkens back to the days of the old Philips Ambilight TV, which was way before it’s time. In fact, Philips has resurrected the brand and the concept with new OLED models.

But you don’t need to buy a new TV for the effect. You just need to dust off your old HTPC. And…that’s pretty much absurd, right? This whole concept seems like it’s still searching for its right place in time. But in 2018 we have numerous options for streaming content from laptops to TVs, so maybe we’re almost there again.

It's Like 2010 Again with Hue Sync on Your HTPC (or Laptop)
Hue entertainment area setup

The basic concept is this: You download, install, and run the new Hue Sync app on your Mac or PC. Then, with the Hue app on your iOS or Android device, you configure what it calls entertainment areas. You specify the hue devices you want to sync with your content and their relative location to you and your screen. The more hue devices you have, the better the experience.

Back on your computer, select the entertainment area you just created, choose the desired effect intensity, and click Start light sync. Then stream away to your TV by mirroring through AirPlay, Chromecast, Miracast, or even an old-fashioned HDMI cable, if necessary. Of course, if you do still have an HTPC, you can just install it right on there.

It's Like 2010 Again with Hue Sync on Your HTPC (or Laptop)
The Hue Sync desktop application on a Mac

Depending on the content you’re watching and the number and positioning of your Hue lights, the effect can be pretty impressive…and addicting. If you didn’t need a reason to buy more hue devices before, this just may be what pushes you to open your wallet. Our suggestions are for [amazon_link id=”B0167H33DU” target=”_blank” ]Light Strips[/amazon_link], the [amazon_link id=”B07GXB3S7Z” target=”_blank” ]Hue Play bars[/amazon_link], and the [amazon_link id=”B00I811PG6″ target=”_blank” ]Hue Bloom[/amazon_link]. Hue Sync also works with gaming and music. Play around with the different settings to explore all your options.

We hope that someday this technology will just be licensed and built directly into TVs by the manufacturers, but we’re not there yet. In the meantime, you’ll need to rely on streaming from your laptop. Or just relax like it’s 2010 again, watching those recorded shows on your sweet Media Center PC.


About the author

Richard Gunther

Richard is a product experience consultant with a life-long interest in consumer electronics. He has been immersed in smart home tech for decades now and hosts The DMZ's home automation podcast, Home: On and co-hosts Entertainment 2.0 with Josh Pollard. Richard looks at products through an experience lens, always seeking the right mix of utility and delight.