LEDs have literally colored up the world. The power to control their glow color has given birth to a colorful world reminiscent of the old times of neon signs. They’re in our cars, PC cases, and most recently, behind TVs and entertainment centers.
The most notable benefits are how cheap colored LEDs are and the ease of implementing a mood lighting sequence with the right lights.
One of the most notable companies in ambient lighting is Philips. Today we will be looking at how you can use Ambilight, a mood light technology on Philips TVs, and Philips Hue bulbs or light strips to spread the color from your screen across the room.
While it is a cool gimmick, it can make your movies or games more immersive, especially if your room is dark enough. It will feel like your entire room is throbbing with the action on the screen.
What is Ambilight+Hue
An Ambilight TV from Phillips comes with an in-baked ability to make LED lights synchronize with on-screen activity. If you already have one, then this guide is perfect for you. If you don’t, consider getting an Ambilight compatible TV next time you go shopping for a replacement.
Alternatively, you can buy a Sync Box to turn any TV into an Ambilight compatible unit.
We will go on with the guide, assuming you have or will get a Philips Ambilight TV. You can’t go wrong with the amazing Philips OLED 806 TV.
You can’t control a Hue system straight from the TV. So you will need a Hue Bridge. Go for the latest model you can afford to make your system last a bit longer into the future.
You will finally need a couple of Hue lights to do the actual lighting. Simple Hue bulbs will do the trick, but you will get an even more detailed look and feel if you get some Hue light strips.
ProTip: If you are getting started, you can save some bucks by going for the Philips Hue starter kit that contains a Bridge and bulbs.
Set Up the Hub and Connect Your Lights
Before starting the guide, set up your new Hue bridge and connect the new bulbs to your bridge. The Hue smartphone App will make this configuration a breeze.
You will also have to ensure that your TV is connected to your home network (the same network the Hue Hub connects to.)
How to Link Ambilight to Philips Hue
We will start by configuring your TV. This will connect it to the Hub and the lights. It will also tell the TV where specific lights are in relation to the TV, sending it the right color to specific bulbs.
- Press the Home Button on your TV remote and navigate to your TV settings
- Go to Ambilight> Ambilight Extension> Ambilight+Hue, then select ‘Configure.’
- Select the ‘Start’ option. The TV will start scanning for your Hue Bridge
- When it detects it, you will be walked through the connection process. Finish this to connect the TV to the hub
- Proceed and connect compatible Hue bulbs you want to control from the list shown on the TV. The list will only be comprehensive if you first connect all your bulbs and light strips to the Philips Hue bridge
- Each bulb or light strip will flash to show you’ve selected and linked it successfully
- Select one of the linked bulbs from the list and select ‘Configure Now.’
- The selected bulb should flash, and you will confirm it is the right one
- Set the location of the bulb relative to the TV and set the required brightness
- Repeat the procedure for all bulbs connected to the TV
Configuring each bulb and describing its location might sound tiresome, but it is very important. Be ready to rearrange some of the bulbs and strips if the original location doesn’t match the options on the TV perfectly.
You will also have to play around with brightness to get the perfect feel from your bulbs and light strips, reducing the glare and dazzle when the effects kick in.
You Can Still Use the Hue Lights When the TV is Off
While the selected bulbs and light strips will be slaves to the TV when something is playing, you can still use them when the TV is off without any further configurations.
Check this too: Philips Hue: Getting Started, Mastering & Troubleshooting
When the TV uses them, the bulbs will have a ‘Sync’ label, and you can’t control them from the app. However, they will be available for any other use once the TV is off. This means you can include them in automated scenes that run with the TV off or control them as you wish from the App.
However, the TV will override everything and take them over once you turn it on. This shouldn’t be a problem since the best bulb installations are either behind the TV or on the wall behind and above the TV.
We think the best way out would be to get specific Ambilight bulbs and other bulbs for normal room lighting. This will give you the flexibility function-specific hardware brings to the table when customizing or decorating a house.