Technology

I synced my smart lighting to my TV and it blew me away

Proper lighting can often make all the difference, which is why the best TVs now feature OLED panels and mini LED backlighting. However, adding a light bar behind your TV can take things to the next level, especially if you can sync it up with the content being displayed on the screen.

Even if you can’t synchronize the light bar to the TV, offset lighting, where the light source illuminates the wall behind the TV or monitor, adds a number of benefits, such as reduced eye strain. By boosting the level of ambient light without creating glare, shift lighting increases the contrast of everything you’re watching, which enhances the picture. Another great thing is that it works on any TV, even one of the best budget TVs.

If you have the resources for a more expensive light strip and a few better smart bulbs, you can light up your entire room with bright light. With Philips Hue Sync Box, one of the best mini PCs or even a Mac Mini in your living room, you can sync the lights to whatever you’re watching for an even more immersive viewing experience. This also works for PC or Mac games, but for consoles like the Nintendo Switch, PS5 or Xbox Series X, you’ll need a Philips Hue Sync Box to pull off this magical feat.

No matter what TV you have, this is all you need to know about how to install a light bar behind your TV and sync it with your favorite TV shows, movies and games.

Mounting the light strip

TV with Philips Hue light bar mounted on the back.

(Image credit: Future)

While I would recommend mounting any light strip this way, I will focus on doing it with the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus ($90). (will open in a new tab)Amazon (will open in a new tab)), as we will be using the company’s PC software or its Play HDMI Sync Box to synchronize content. However, in order for this to work, you’ll also need a Hue Bridge, which can be purchased separately for $59.99 or with multiple Philips Hue starter kits.

A transparent clip attached to a TV with a light strip.

(Image credit: Future)

Most light strips come with an adhesive backing that can be used to stick to a wall, desk, desk, or any other surface. However, instead of the adhesive backing of the light strip, I used Command Outdoor Light Clips. (will open in a new tab). This way I could wrap the light bar around the corners of the TV without having to buy any adapters or extra hardware. It also makes it much easier to move the light bar this way. These light clips are also transparent so they don’t block the light coming from the light strip.

Before proceeding with the installation of the light strip, I recommend removing the TV from its stand or wall mount and laying it on a bed or sofa with a blanket under it to avoid scratching it. If you leave the TV attached to the wall, this is still possible, but much easier when the TV is lying flat. You also want to test the light strip first to make sure it works before installing it.

TV with a light strip attached to the back.

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to the light clips, you’ll also need strong double-sided tape to attach the adapter that comes with the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus to the back of your TV. Once the adapter is secured to the underside of the middle of the TV, you can proceed to place the clips and run the light bar. You will need to leave enough room in the corners so that you can bend the light strip without damaging it. Also, I like the way the clips are pointing up to hold the light strip securely in place.

Once your light bar is installed and your TV is back in place, it’s time to start syncing content, which is easier and free if you have a Windows PC or Mac. If not, don’t worry, but you’ll have to spend a little more on Philips’ Play HDMI Sync Box.

Today’s best Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus deals

Sync content using a PC or Mac

An ultra-wide monitor with a light bar that works with Hue Sync while playing Rocket League.

(Image credit: Future)

Whether you’ve added a Philips Hue Lightstrip behind your monitor, or you can connect your PC or Mac to your TV, syncing your lights to TV shows, movies, or even games is much easier.

Screenshot of the entertainment area in the Philips Hue app.

(Image credit: Philips)

Actually, you just need to download the Hue Sync app. (will open in a new tab) and install it on your PC or Mac. However, you will also need to set up an Entertainment Zone in the Hue mobile app where you want your Hue lights to sync with video, games, or audio in your home. You can place each of your lights anywhere in your room and adjust their height as well.

Screenshot of Hue Sync app running on PC

(Image credit: Philips)

Once this is done, simply select the type of content (games, music, or video), how fast you want the light to sync (soft, moderate, high, extreme) and click Start Light Sync. You can also turn on the “Use sound for effect” toggle so that the sound of the content you’re watching or playing determines the effects.

Syncing content to your TV might be the best option, but adding a light bar to your monitor and using your PC or Mac is definitely easier and faster. Also, since monitors tend to be smaller, you probably won’t have to buy any light bar extensions to wrap the light bar all the way around the monitor.

Sync content from game consoles and streaming devices

If you want to sync content to your PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch or one of the best streaming devices instead, you’ll need the Play HDMI Sync Box. (will open in a new tab) to do this. The device itself isn’t cheap, retailing for $249, although it often sells for $20 less.

Philips Hue SyncBox

(Image credit: Future)

Essentially, the Play HDMI Sync Box takes video streams from up to four HDMI-connected devices and syncs them to Philips Hue lighting based on the content on your TV screen. Another HDMI cable comes out of the box and connects it to the TV.

After testing on my own over the last few weeks, the Play HDMI Sync Box can be finicky and doesn’t always work – after browsing the web, it turned out that a number of other people are having similar issues. However, when it does, it’s a spectacle. The photos in this article don’t really do it justice and it’s something you need to see with your own eyes. Also keep in mind that this will look even better in a room with white walls than on my own black chalk wall.

It’s up to you to decide if you want to go all-in and get a Play HDMI Sync Box, but I highly recommend testing Hue Sync on a PC or Mac first before making your final decision.

New level of immersion

TV showing The Sea Beast with Philips Hue Sync enabled.

(Image credit: Future)

Synchronizing the content you are watching or playing with the light bar or other smart lights will definitely add a new level of immersion to your favorite TV shows, movies or games. However, it’s not without flaws and probably won’t be for everyone. In addition, the creation of such a plant can quickly become expensive.

Fortunately, you don’t have to buy everything at once, and if you wait until Black Friday, Prime Day, or other big sales, you can save a lot. Adding a light bar to your TV or monitor is a great starting point, and you can always expand your entertainment area by adding more light in the future. Even if you can’t immediately sync content to your lights, shift lighting can certainly improve your viewing experience.

I, for one, am quite happy with my setup, but I don’t have everything in sync all the time. However, when I turn on Hue Sync, I am reminded of how magical it is and still marvel at how it looks in person.

Today’s Best Philips Hue Deals 562982 Hue Smart Bulb

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.